Involved in racing since 1972, Roger Penske has fielded many cars of different makes in his NASCAR efforts.
First entering the sport with a red, white and blue AMC Matador for Mark Donohue in 1972, Roger Penske has since fielded Chevrolets, Mercuries, and Pontiacs. From 1995 through 2002, Penske raced with Ford. Finally, from 2003 on, Penske formed an alliance with Dodge.
For 2013, Penske made the announcement that it will return to Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. According to Penske and Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison, the deal already underwent several months of negotiation. Allison called the deal a “historic day” for Ford Racing.
For Roger Penske, this new arrangement with Ford gives the team a chance to “make sure [they] can beat any team in NASCAR in the future.” What’s more, this new alliance is also meant to allow Penske Racing to take on the Ford Roush Fenway Racing Team head-to-head rather than entering as the black sheep Dodge team. Currently, Penske’s two-car effort is the only Dodge team in the series. In a year, there will only be three manufacturers in NASCAR: Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.
Roger Penske continued, “When we weighted the plus and minus of opportunities, it was apparent to us we need to win NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. We’ve been trying to do it alone. But having the opportunity to benchmark with someone like Roush, who has been world class as we saw with the performance last week with Kenseth (winner of 2012 Daytona 500) and how good their cars are, we felt it was time to evaluate other options.”
At the moment, Penske would not commit to running his own engine department and will receive their engines from Roush Yates Engines instead, something other Ford teams are also doing. Although Roger Penske has about 70 employees in his engine department, the team believes in taking advantage of the shared engine information with Roush during practice and testing sessions.
As for Chrysler Group motorsport division CEO Ralph Gilles, he wished Penske all the success and pledged company support for Penske’s efforts to win races and championships this season. Gilles spoke in behalf of Dodge, “Our motorsports involvement isn’t limited to NASCAR. We do value our NASCAR program and will be evaluating the opportunities available moving forward. As those opportunities materialize, we’ll reveal our 2013 plans, not only in NASCAR but in other forms of motorsports,” he said.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR