Report: Dodge Is Going Back to NASCAR
We don’t know if this is because Dodge wants it more or NASCAR? But it is looking like Dodge will be back racing in NASCAR events. When it comes to stock car racing, to truly have competition, you need the three American companies competing. That would be Ford, Chevy, and Dodge; no offense to Toyota.
According to ex-NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, his team is already developing a next-generation Dodge. The car company left NASCAR after the 2012 season but had been involved in the racing series from its earliest days. So it was a big disappointment, not only for Mopar fans but NASCAR fans in general that want to see more, not less, manufacturer competition.
Why did Dodge leave NASCAR in 2012?
At the time of its leaving NASCAR, Dodge’s parent company FCA was investing heavily in Formula 1. That, and having racers switching to Ford because of the Roush engine’s better performance, both spelled the end of its involvement. Until now.
Late last year, NASCAR president Steve Phelps addressed the growing rumors of Dodge’s return. “You know what, there are some discussions that are going on with other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), new OEMs, that would come into the sport,” he said. ”Our three existing OEMs are happy about that. Our race teams are happy about that. We’re happy about that. It’s been widely rumored that Dodge is one of those or closest. I won’t confirm or deny that.”
Then yesterday, Sportskeeda broke Gordon’s Instagram announcement, “Big news today. We’ve been talking with Dodge and it looks like we’re going to go ahead and build a Next-Gen car. You know I left the NASCAR scene when Dodge left the sport. I’ve got the group back together, and we are going to build a Next-Gen car for Watkins Glen.”
Would Dodge go back in 2023 or 2024?
The 2023 season will be the last one using conventional engines. By 2024, NASCAR is switching to hybrid powertrains. So it doesn’t seem likely that Dodge would compete with a platform it develops for a single year.
But something Dodge- and NASCAR-related will be at NASCAR’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Watkins Glen in mid-August. And curiously, Dodge announced late last year that its Direct Connection performance parts division was cranking back up. It first came onto the performance parts scene in 1974 and would be a nice tie-in with a NASCAR comeback.
Dodge won the 2012 Cup season
Dodge picked a good time to leave in 2012 after winning the NASCAR Cup championship. The Dodge team was headed by Team Penske and handling the driving chores was Brad Keselowski. Today, this pairing wouldn’t be possible since Penske has been solidly behind Ford since winning the Cup again in 2018. As for Keselowski, he has his own team, driving a Ford Mustang for his RFK Racing team.
Possibly Stellantis, which now owns the Dodge brand, sees advantages being in NASCAR that eluded the previous owner? Or maybe NASCAR is making it too tempting to refuse? Either way, all eyes will be on the Watkins Glen race the weekend of August 21.
Editor’s Note: It has since been announced on Robby Gordon’s Instagram account that his post was an April Fools’ Day joke.