UPDATE: Dodge’s return to NASCAR has apparently stalled!

For nearly a decade, rumors have circulated that Dodge is returning to NASCAR competition. The automaker left the sport after the 2012 season when it won the championship with Penske Racing and driver Brad Keselowski. Shortly thereafter, Penske Racing left Dodge for Ford after the Auburn Hills automaker refused to give the organization a multi-year contract.

Brad Keselowski celebrates a victory in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger NASCAR Cup car. (Cleverness).

The speculation started again after Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) entered NHRA competition this season with factory support from Dodge//SRT. Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) co-owner Tony Stewart was seen as the carmaker’s best chance of returning as SHR’s contract with Ford expires in 2024.

Last November, NASCAR President Steve Phelps gave a “State of the Sport” speech to inform the public about the direction NASCAR is heading as it enters the 2022 season. Answering questions, Phelps was asked about recent rumors about Dodge and other manufacturers entering the sport. “Our three existing OEMs are happy with that,” said Phelps. “Our race teams are happy with that. We are happy with that. Dodge is rumored to be one of those or the closest. I won’t confirm or deny that. It is important. We have made no bones about wanting a new OEM in our sport. I think we have been delayed by the pandemic.”

Brad Keselowski in his 2011 Nationwide No. 22 Discount Tire Dodge Challenger Stock Car. (Cleverness).

“Having said that, I think we are an attractive place for OEMs to get into the sport. This is an important opportunity for them to do that because of the next generation car. I also believe that the fact that the sport is growing and has a relevance it hasn’t had in decades, really sparks interest from other OEMs,” he concluded.

But according to the latest report from Sports Business Journal (SBJ)Dodge’s plans to return to NASCAR have stalled.

The article stated that Dodge held talks with at least one team last year, the Ford-backed team of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing (RFK Racing). Brad Keselowski, who became a co-owner of the team in the off-season, is also a driver of one of the team’s cars. It is not surprising that RFK Racing would be in talks with Dodge given the struggles the team has had over the past decade and the fact that Keselowski has had a strong relationship with Dodge and Mopar outside of the Cup Series.

Parker Kligerman in his Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Ram Dealers Ram 1500. (Mopar).

Keselowski grew up in Rochester Hills, Michigan, a stone’s throw from the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills. His father Bob raced Mopar race cars for most of his stock car career. Brad also formed his own Truck Series team before Dodge left the sport, which also received factory support from the automaker.

The article also stated that Dodge told the SBJ last week that it was not in the process of expanding into a new series. “Dodge is focused on our efforts of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing series and the NHRA ‘Countdown to the Championship’ with Tony Stewart Racing and is not expanding our efforts to other forms of racing at this time,” the automaker said in a statement. declaration.

SBJ also stated that NASCAR, RFK Racing and Ford all declined to comment on the situation.

Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee Concept. (Cleverness).

It’s no secret that NASCAR plans to include electrification in its future plans. A report of KickinTheTires.net has stated that the Cup Series could convert its new Next-Gen car to gas/electric hybrids for the 2024 season. NASCAR stated earlier this year that it would be holding an all-electric exhibition series next year, which would have worked in Dodge’s favor with the introduction of the all-new, all-electric Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Banshee. But recent rumors say the all-electric series could be delayed.

Source: Sports Business Journal

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