Penske to run Fords, not build Dodge engines UPDATE #3 In an exclusive interview with SPEED.com, Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said Monday afternoon that a potential deal between the team and Dodge to continue building Dodge Sprint Cup engines next year fell apart last week.
As a result, Cindric said, Penske is looking at a variety of options for its Mooresville, N.C., engine shop, which currently builds the motors for Penske’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Those options including building engines for other racing series or selling the engine operation entirely, Cindric told SPEED.com.
Penske announced earlier Monday that it will get its engines from Roush Yates Engines next year, when it will switch NASCAR manufacturer alliances from Dodge to Ford.
As far as the Penske engine operation, Cindric said, “We’re going to continue to explore opportunities there.”
The original plan was to continue to work with Dodge, but that’s off the table now, said Cindric.
“We felt as though there was a good opportunity for us in some way to continue on with that asset and especially that group of people relative to Dodge or through a third party of Dodge in some way, shape or form, whether selling the assets or finding a way someone else could utilize things as whole,” Cindric said. “And we felt like we were very close to that until a week or so ago. … We felt like there was some end game that was going to be mutually beneficial. And about a week ago, that all seemed to go a different direction.”04/11/12 Speed's Bob Dillner spoke with NASCAR Race Hub host Danielle Trotta on the rumors of Penske Racing manufacturing both Ford & Dodge engines for 2013:
Trotta: Your followers on Twitter want you to address this rumor. Penske will continue to manufacturer Dodge engines even next year, even when they switch to Ford; True or False?
Dillner: It’s true from what I was told. A lot of people over on the inside at Penske told me that they will continue to build the Dodge engine. There are a lot of reasons for that. Dodge still hasn’t picked a team or negotiated with a team, but from what we’re hearing, Richard Petty Motorsports may be that team. Richard Petty Motorsports got their engines from Roush-Fenway. Well, if they go to Dodge, they’ll need to get their engines from somewhere, so why not get them from Penske, which has some history in making the Dodge engine. I think you have to look at next year as well, from a Ford perspective. Will Penske run the Ford engine I spoke said that everything would be kind of speculation at this point, no decision has been made.
Trotta: The Ford engine with Roush…
Dillner: Exactly. Roush-Yates builds all the Ford engines for the Ford camps, but Roger Penske is about putting the best product on the race track. I think in a way, he might want his own product, not a rival product in his race cars.04/08/12
Penske officials have met with Roush Yates CEO Doug Yates and will meet April 19th with Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush and Ford marketing executive Jim Farley to discuss their options. Roush Yates Engines is owned by Doug Yates and Jack Roush.
|Can Penske (top) and Roush work together on Ford engines?|
“We’re going to have dinner and see if we can break bread and make sense out of this,” Roush said last month.
Team owner Roger Penske said he would keep his engine shop, which is housed in Concord, N.C., and not at the team headquarters in Mooresville.
Penske hasn’t ruled out building Dodge engines to sell to other teams if he ends up not building Ford motors himself. Dodge is expected to court other teams to race its cars after the departure of Penske.
“We're going to keep our engine shop open obviously,” Penske told reporters last month at the IndyCar Series opener in Florida. “We have a big investment there. We’re certainly not going to shut the door.
“There's a lot of speculation, but I can assure you that engine shop will continue to operate in some mode one way or the other. … I think we bring a lot to the party.”
Ford could prohibit Penske from building Dodge engines, but Dodge would be obligated to sell the basic engine block pieces to Penske if the organization wants to continue to build Dodge motors.
“We haven’t made a decision,” Penske said. “We have a lot of people calling us wanting to run Dodges. … If Dodge is interested, if we would go to a separate source, then our shop could be available to do Dodge work, for sure.” Sporting News03/27/12 Jack Roush welcomes Roger Penske to Team Ford and says the synergies the two NASCAR racing giants can offer each other are considerable.
However the two have not yet talked about the surprising move, revealed only two weeks ago. First on the agenda is the rather important issue of stock car engines, Ford's FR9…and Dodge's own NASCAR engine program.
The two men are to meet and discuss things next month, and the engine people on both sides are to talk in the next few days.
"I'm going to have a meeting with Roger and Jim Farley April 19th – my birthday," Roush says. "We'll sit down and break bread and see if we can make sense out of this.
"There are opportunities to do things together that would make the cars better and reduce costs.
"And Ford would like to increase the size of its footprint in NASCAR. And Ford would like to have the opportunity to run for the manufacturers' title….and it's hard to do that when you've got as few Ford teams as we have.
"So that's Ford's primary motivation – to say, 'yes, Jack and his guys can win a number of races throughout the year, but we really couldn't be effective in a championship run for the manufacturers' title without having more support'.
A big question for Dodge and Ford is how to let Penske finesse the curious role of racing Dodges this season – and remember Brad Keselowski had a great run at the Sprint Cup championship last fall – while gearing up and testing Fords and Ford engines for 2013.
Without Penske and his engine building operation, Dodge itself looks to be facing major trouble. Might be hard to sign any new teams to fill the void without having a solid NASCAR engine program in place.
And why would Dodge engineers be willing to keep Penske up to date on their latest technical tricks if he's now building a Ford operation?
Roush has been NASCAR's Mr. Ford for decades, the company's point man in virtually every aspect.
Penske, a world-class racer too for decades, has used a different business approach, signing long-term contracts with various manufacturers and switching allegiance when it makes good business sense. Penske, leaving Dodge-Chrysler at the end of the season after 10 years, will be on his third go-round with Ford, with this new five-year deal, which he says he took when Dodge declined to meet such a long-term requirement.
Roush and teammate Doug Yates have controlled the Ford-NASCAR engine operation for years, and anyone looking to run a Ford on the stock car tour essentially has to lease engines from Roush and Yates.
Penske has an 80-man engine shop, building highly competitive Dodge engines, and Penske says he will keep that engine operation up and running after the changeover. Penske has mentioned possibly continuing to build NASCAR-Dodge engines next season; however Roush says that Ford execs are not likely to go along with a deal like that.
Roush says he's willing to lease – not sell, but lease – Ford FR9s to Penske. How interested Penske might be in such a deal, essentially letting a rival racer hold control over a key part of the operation, is unclear.
Roush points out that Penske is free to build his own FR9s.
"He has not talked to me," Roush confirmed, though the deal apparently went down just days after the Daytona 500.
"My only conversation has been with Ford; I have not had conversation with any of the Penske folk. And to the best of my knowledge Doug hasn't had any conversation with his engine shop.
"I only know what I've been told.
"Somebody who has done all the things he's done, in business and in racing, can pretty much do whatever he wants. And he hasn't told us yet what he wants to do.
"We're interested in having the best Ford teams we can have for Ford Motor Company. And Roger has the prospect of carrying to us some things that could benefit everybody. And there are some things that I know and things that we do that could benefit him.
"To get started on a new engine, with such a short period of time, would be very hard. If he wants to build his own Ford engines, he's certainly welcomed to do that; the parts are available. But he's starting off two or three years behind, in terms of that set of hardware."
Remember how long it took Roush and Yates to get going wide open with the new FR9, about a year and a half after it was first introduced.
"We won't sell engines….but we'll lease engines to anyone who wants to race a Ford," Roush says. "And he would have the same power level and durability level as everything I've got."
Penske has raised the prospect that he might continue building Dodge engines in his shop, while racing Fords.
"It would be an interesting scenario if he builds Dodge engines and races Fords." Roush said. "That hasn't been done.
"I don't know how Ford would feel about that: I feel there would be some concern about where his real interests were." MikeMulhern.net