NASCAR Cup: Dodge return looks likely
Brad Keselowski celebrates his 2012 Sprint Cup championship in Las Vegas (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
After Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship from behind the wheel of a Dodge in 2012, the manufacturer went out on top, pulling out of the sport at that season’s end. There’s a good chance, though, that Dodge will be returning to the sport sooner rather than later, judging by comments made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne on Sunday at Dayonta (Fla.) International Speedway while there for the Ferrari Challenge World Finals.
“Yes, I’d love to,” Marchionne said when asked about a Dodge return to NASCAR, according to an AutoWeek.com article
. “I talked to Jim France (NASCAR Executive Vice-President) just last night.”
At Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend that culminated in the Nov. 20 running of the Ford EcoBoost 400 Sprint Cup season-finale, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France disclosed that NASCAR had been in discussions with a manufacture in hopes of that manufacturer joining the sport, but he wouldn’t reveal the identity of the manufacturer. Marchionne’s comments Sunday suggest that manufacturer was Dodge.
“I’m the one that made the decision to pull Dodge out. I am the guilty party at that table,” Marchionne said. “In 2009, we came out of bankruptcy. We couldn’t (justify) racing in NASCAR when I was trying to pay bills and make payroll.”
Dodge, though, became a part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US in 2014, though, and the financial health of the company is much better.
Before pulling out of NASCAR, Dodge competed in all three of the sanctioning body’s national series — Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck.
“I’ve agreed with both Jim and Lesa (France Kennedy, NASCAR board member) to come back to the issue in short order,” Marchionne said.