Are electric cars allowed in NASCAR? Why isn’t Chrysler Dodge in NASCAR?

There have been rumors of the introduction of electric cars to NASCAR’s tracks. Apparently there were even plans for a first all-electric exhibition race in 2023. Unfortunately, it was cancelled. While NASCAR fans were polled to find out the reasons behind the cancellation, speculation and rumors suggest NASCAR was looking for a fourth OEM. Who would that be? Would they compete in the cup series or the speculated electric series?

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Earlier this year, a website with the name of Kick the tires leaked news of NASCAR’s plans to hold an all-electric race at the LA Memorial Coliseum. According to their findings, the race was initially scheduled to take place in the month of February during the 2023 Busch Clash. While fans will currently be deprived of the electric racing experience, let’s quickly recap expectations for the first NASCAR electric racing performance.

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The all-electric racing exhibition did not go as planned

It was said that the all-new electric cars would run on a 900-volt architecture. In addition, the cars would produce more than 1,000 horsepower of pure power. That is much more than the current generation of vehicles. The cars were to have a three engine layout and would likely be a four wheel drive mechanism.

The plan further illustrated the implementation of holding two 30-minute races split into separate stages. Further, while a total of 12 cars were allowed to compete in the event, they would not allow cars to charge or change battery mid-race. While the event would not replace any of the existing series, the same was planned to run parallel to the Cup Series.

A few months later, however, the news came that the planned event would not take place. You might wonder why NASCAR would push the event out of the blue. Well, it turns out they were in talks with a former NASCAR OEM, Chrysler Dodge. But somehow the conversations stalled. But wait, Dodge was in NASCAR once. However, why did they leave?

Why isn’t Chrysler Dodge in NASCAR?

There were a host of factors that led to Dodge’s eventual exit from NASCAR after the 2012 season. One came from a business perspective when Chrysler Dodge failed to sign a new deal with Penske Racing. In fact, the latter later moved to Ford, leaving the former to bear the brunt of their inability to entice new teams to hire them.

During their last year with Penske, Dodge even clinched the title, with Brad Keselowski at the wheel. After failing to find another top team that would be willing to partner with Dodge, the company decided to leave the sport altogether. Although Dodge tried to keep their business afloat by trying their luck at the prospect of teaming up with several other teams in the field, Car week‘s Coleman blames NASCAR’s downsizing affinities for giving a company like Dodge a stable business angle.

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However, at the end of the day, everything seemed like a gamble on the business side. Plus, starting a new engine program for just a few Dodges would have cost the team a lot. So rather than stay in the field with a few cars and suffer reputational damage by scoring a mediocre 2013 season, they decided to leave the sport entirely to save themselves from otherwise impending doom and the humiliation that comes with it.

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Will Dodge Return When NASCAR Goes Electric?

However, not all hope is lost for the manufacturer. There is still a glimmer of hope for the manufacturer. In fact, Dodge was one of the companies NASCAR was in talks with to win the electric series.

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 14: Bubba Wallace, driver of the #23 DoorDash Toyota, and Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, race during the NASCAR Cup Series 63rd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2021 , in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/via Getty Images)

Many automakers are going electric with their consumer vehicle lineups. According to the Sports Business Journal, even Dodge plans to make the jump to the electric/hybrid cart. What better way to start than competing in an all-electric racing series? According to NASCAR, there are plans to convert the Cup series cars to hybrid power units in 2024. And Dodge would be very interested in the prospect of joining given their interest in the electric/sustainable market segment.

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However, as of this writing, talks between NASCAR and Dodge appear to have stalled. There is no guarantee that the manufacturer would get back into the sport. There is a possibility for their return, but probably not before the 2024 season. For a team with such a rich history in the sport, it would only make sense for them to rejoin NASCAR as soon as possible. Whether in the electric or regular cup series, their presence would certainly create good opportunities for potential teams as well as for themselves as the manufacturer.

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