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SRT Motorsports unveiled the Charger set to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season and we’re pleased to see that Dodge fans won’t have a difficult time identifying the car on the track. After NASCAR changed the rules on where automakers could put the glass and solid body pieces on their race cars, Dodge’s designers and engineers were able to make their NASCAR race car closely resemble the street version.
“We know NASCAR fans are passionate about cars,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “We’re excited about the results of the collective efforts of NASCAR, Dodge and the other manufacturers to create the 2013 Sprint Cup cars. The 2013 Dodge Charger race car design is a great example of what we look forward to seeing on the race track next season. We thank Dodge and all the manufacturers for their efforts, as we see the results here today with the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge Charger.”
SRT Brand and Motorsports President Ralph Gilles was also at the unveiling, expressing his excitement for the new Charger race car, hoping to build off their 2009 Dodge Challenger racing campaign. More importantly Gilles reminded the public that “the Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup competition that is available with a V8 engine.”
Unfortunately we are going to have to wait an entire season before the 2013 Charger hits the track, but we expect it to be a formidable competitor when it does.
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
Reports are coming in that Danica Patrick is leaning towards a full-time move to NASCAR for 2012, running a full Nationwide Series with JR Motorsports and limited Sprint Cup Series races with Tony Stewart’s team. One shake-up in any agreement with Patrick however is that she still desires to run in the Indy 500 even if it complicates her Nationwide championship hopes.
“I would like for her to run fulltime, and I’m sure she is considering that, and I think she would enjoy it,” said JR Motorsports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. peaking at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I feel confident that she’s content where she is and happy with what we’re doing. I think things are looking positive for us to put something together.”
It appears that Patrick’s NASCAR driving aspirations are positive, with both Stewart and Earnhardt Jr. giving her plenty of praise and both looking forward to getting her behind the wheel of their race cars. Whether or not a deal can be worked out so that she can juggle the busy schedule involved with the Indy 500 during the month of May makes things interesting for Patrick’s 2012 season.
[Source: Associated Press]