NASCAR is losing one of its racing partners at the end of the 2012 season after Dodge announced it was parking its program.
Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Brand and Motorsports, part of the Chrysler Group LLC, announced Tuesday that it was pulling Dodge cars from NASCAR competition at the end of this racing season.
“It’s an extremely difficult decision to know that we won’t be there for our fans next season,” said SRT Motorsports president Ralph Gilles. “We spent an intense five months working to identify and evaluate all options for our future involvement with NASCAR.”
Earlier this year, Dodge unveiled the car that was going to be part of NASCAR in 2013. The only team racing a Dodge in 2012, Penske Racing, announced in February it was ending the partnership they had with Dodge since 2003 at the end of the season and would be racing Ford cars in 2013.
Gilles said SRT Motorsports was working on putting a racing program together for the 2013 NASCAR season, but couldn’t make it work.
“While we have been pleased and enthused with the amount of interest from teams and sponsors over that time, in the end, we simply couldn’t develop the right structure,” said Gilles. “It is important to note that we have not lost our focus or the commitment to our partnership with Penske Racing in both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series this season.”
This isn’t the first time Dodge has withdrawn from NASCAR. The manufacturer parked its program in 1977 and stayed away for 24 years.
Dodge has enjoyed significant success in NASCAR with 215 Sprint Cup wins, 55 of those since the manufacturer returned to the circuit in 2001. A Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski won the Nationwide Series in 2010 for Penske.
This year, Keselowski is seventh in Sprint Cup points and will likely be part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, while Sam Hornish sits fourth in the Nationwide Series championship.