In 2022, NASCAR teams are competing for the Cup with a more affordable and capable Next Gen car. Does this mean Dodge is coming back? The short answer is that Dodge will not be competing in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series. But I suspect the automaker has been chatting with officials and may even be planning a return to NASCAR with a secret hybrid-powered car.
Will Dodge compete in the 2022 NASCAR Cup series?
Dodge left NASCAR after the 2012 Cup Series. Only three automakers (or OEMs) will send cars to the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series: Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. You will not see a Dodge Charger or Challenger in any of the 2022 NASCAR races.
Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota will not be manufacturing any of the NASCAR Next Gen cars you see on the track. Because this is what’s called a “spec” class, designated manufacturers will build each component of the new race car. The race teams will then assemble the car.
The original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) only build two components of these new cars: the vehicle’s body panels and its V8 engine. The body panels are reminiscent of a current production car: either the Ford Mustang, Chevy Camaro, or Toyota Camry. The V8 engine is not, but showcases the best work of the manufacturer.
Is Dodge considering a return to NASCAR in 2024?
According to MotorSport.com, NASCAR president Steve Phelps addressed rumors of a potential fourth OEM in February of 2021. Phelps admitted the sport has long been courting another OEM to expand the lineup. Then he said something interesting.
“I would be surprised if a new OEM came in without some sort of electrification, and I am not talking about all electric, I am talking about a hybrid system.”Steve Phelps, NASCAR president
At the time, most fans assumed Phelps was referring to Honda when he said “a new OEM.” No one expected Phelps had received such a request from the maker of the Hellcat. Then two major announcements rocked the industry.
Every 2024 Dodge will be an electric vehicle or a hybrid
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Dodge shocked the world by announcing it would cancel all its current products by the 2024 model year to embrace eMuscle. The speed demons at Dodge joked “Performance made us do it.” And with stock Tesla Model S Plaids embarrassing Hellcats on the drag strip, this claim made sense.
To be more specific, Dodge is migrating all its future vehicles to shared hybrid and electric platforms developed by its parent company: Stellantis. The world’s sixth-largest automobile manufacturer now includes Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Abarth, DS Automobiles, Maserati, and many more brands.
This multinational is developing the STLA Large chassis for European luxury cars, AWD vehicles, and American muscle. This new chassis will likely underpin the all-new 2024 Dodge Hornet, Charger, Challenger, and possibly a Durango too.
The STLA Large chassis will support full battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrid electric/gasoline vehicles, and mild hybrids. It won’t support exclusively gasoline powerplants. Now, mild-hybrid could just mean a 5.7L HEMI V8 with Ram’s eTorque system.
So to sum it up: Dodge is embracing eMuscle and every 2024 and later Dodge will at least have a mild-hybrid powertrain. What better way to advertise a new hybrid eMuscle powertrain than at NASCAR?
NASCAR will go hybrid for 2024
That is not a typo. NASCAR has been using pushrod, naturally-aspirated V8s for decades. But NASCAR’s President just announced that for the 2024 season, the stock car series is going green.
Formula One found hybrid cars could make more horsepower and go farther on one tank of gas–over a decade ago. The fastest Le Mans endurance racers are also hybrids.
Phelps spoke to the Sports Business Journal World Congress of Sports in October of 2021. He not only committed to some form of “electrification,” but he gave a timeline–according to Motor Authority.
The sport’s President confirmed NASCAR will implement “Some type of hybrid engine system with an electrification component,” beginning in 2024.
Could Dodge, knowing its lineup was going electric, have pressured NASCAR to do the same? It makes sense that the automaker would only invest in race cars if it could exhibit its latest, greatest drivetrain.
Even wilder, could NASCAR have listened to Dodge and–for that very reason–committed to switching to some form of electric drivetrain starting in 2024? The date would fit perfectly with Dodge’s launch of its new eMuscle vehicles.
There’s a chance Dodge is finally returning to NASCAR. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a couple of years to find out. In the meantime, learn more about Dodge and NASCAR in the video below: