Dodge has had an up and down relationship with NASCAR. For years Dodge and drivers such as Richard Petty were synonymous with victory lane. That all ended in 1977 when Dodge elected to leave the sport ending what some considered a NASCAR dynasty.
When Dodge departed in 1977, it came as somewhat of a surprise. There weren’t a lot of signs, only whispers that Dodge might be leaving. After Dodge left, NASCAR soldiered on without the iconic American automaker. Dodge returned with a great deal of fanfare in 2001 with Ray Evernham who left Hendrick Motorsports and driver Jeff Gordon to start his own team. Dodge has accumulated 55 wins since its return. While they could still add to that total prior to season’s end, Dodge announced Tuesday that they will not be in NASCAR in 2013, at least as a factory backed team.
The death blow for Dodge came when Penske Racing, the last Dodge staple, announced in March that they would switch to Ford in 2013. The move left Dodge with very few options and those that remained seemed to never come together. Tuesday Dodge President and CEO, Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports Ralph Gilles talked with the media about the departure, and left open the door that they might return to NASCAR again someday. MORE>>>