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DATE News (chronologically)
03/01/12
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Penske to dump Dodge in NASCAR UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

03/01/12 Penske Racing will in 2013 switch from Dodge to Ford in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, automotive-industry sources have informed Autoweek. An official announcement is expected midday Thursday. Penske fields Dodge Chargers for Brad Keselowski and A. J. Allmendinger.

So who might be interested in replacing Penske as the lead Dodge team? Discounting contractual obligations for the sake of argument, it seems unlikely that Chevrolet's Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing would be interested in Dodge, nor would Roush Fenway be interested in leaving Ford. Joe Gibbs Racing and Waltrip Racing are tied to Toyota, and it seems likely that if Gibbs was willing to switch, it could be a likely candidate. Chevrolet's Earnhardt Ganassi? It seems to be having all it can handle in just trying to get its house in order. Ford's Richard Petty Motorsports? Maybe.

If Dodge can't land one of those teams, the alternative would be smaller teams, which may not have the capacity to handle development work. It could also select a team currently competing successfully in Nationwide or the Camping World Truck Series and help the team move up to Sprint Cup.

The other alternative: Dodge could back away entirely from NASCAR, but that seems unlikely given the level of motorsports interest within the company and the need for the sanctioning body to maintain the positive momentum NASCAR earned last season--losing one of the four manufacturers early in the 2012 season would be a public relations blow. Expect NASCAR to work behind the scenes to help Dodge find a replacement for Penske Racing. AutoWeek

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