Jan 25, 2014, 4:08 PM EDT
Dodge made its way out of NASCAR following the 2012 season but did so in grand fashion with a Sprint Cup championship thanks to Brad Keselowski (pictured) and Team Penske.
But don’t expect the brand to return to stock car racing – at least for now.
Ralph Gilles, president and CEO for Chrysler Group’s SRT category (whose Vipers are competing in this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona), has left the door open but told FoxSports.com’s Lee Spencer that such a return would have to wait a little bit, citing the need to find solid partners.
“We’re never going to have the wherewithal to scoop everybody up,” Gilles said to Spencer. “We’re not big enough to have a stronghold, so it’s always been an issue of having the right team.
“When we were [with] Penske and before that Evernham [Motorsports], the moons were aligned back then. Things made sense – the right people in the right places. Today, it’s not quite the same.”
Last December during NASCAR Champions Week celebrations in Las Vegas, CEO Brian France said that there was room for more manufacturers in the series, even though he also noted the difficulties of potential manufacturers landing strong teams.
And through the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, NASCAR does has the opportunity to forge and retain links with groups such as Chrysler, which owns both the Dodge and SRT brands.
“We didn’t get into sports car racing just to be in sports car racing,” France said in Vegas. “We got in it because it gave us some strategic relationships, namely relationships with OEMs around the world, and those are going to prove to be beneficial as they see how NASCAR works in the road racing series that they participate in now, and I think they’ll like the way we handle competition and manufacturers and so on.”
With all of that taken into consideration, Dodge does have an avenue to return to America’s most popular form of motorsport. But it appears they’ll wait until they’re good and ready for that.
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