With no teams signed on for 2013, Dodge is about to withdraw from stock car racing in America.
NASCAR wouldn't be NASCAR without the automakers that take part. They provide the pushrod V8 engines, and the stock cars they power are made to look like the vehicles they sell in showrooms. But it looks as though one of those automakers is about to withdraw from the all-American racing league. That automaker is Dodge, and according to reports, its withdrawal isn't exactly voluntary. The series organizers aren't kicking it out, either: it's from lack of interest - or more specifically, lack of participation.
This season had just one team - albeit a major one - using Dodge engines: Penske Racing. But the oval-racing powerhouse is jumping ship, to be powered by Roush-prepared Ford engines next season, leaving no cars in the field using Dodge engines. Several teams were rumored to be making the switch to Dodge power - including Richard Petty Motorsports - but none of those rumors appear to have panned out. As a result Dodge is expected to announce its withdrawal shortly, despite having developed a new Charger-based stock car for next season.
Of course, even with lack of interest looking like the cause, questions abound as to how committed Dodge really was to its NASCAR program. Dodge spends less than any other carmaker in the series, and parent company Fiat is said to be less than 100% committed to stock car racing, preferring to focus its energies on Formula One with its Ferrari division. The Lancia, Maserati and Fiat brands all used to compete in various forms, but don't currently participate in series like Le Mans, Indy, the World Rally Championship or any of the touring car series its competitors challenge.
Dodge, as a result, may have to reconcile itself to participating in less prominent forms of racing like RallyCross as it packs up its trucks and rolls away from America's super-speedways. UPDATE: SRT chief Ralph Gilles has confirmed the cancelation of Dodge's NASCAR program. See the video of the announcement below.