NASCAR team Penske Racing will switch from Dodge to Ford vehicles for the 2013 race season, a move that could mean Dodge won't have any teams driving its NASCAR racer next year.
Penske Racing has a history of working with Ford, having fielded Ford racecars from 1976 to 1977, and from 1994 to 2002. From2003 through the end of this season, Penske instead fielded two Dodge Charger racecars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (pictured), along with an additional two Chargers in the Nationwide Series. From 2013, Penske will instead campaign two Ford Fusion racers in the Sprint Cup Series and two Ford Mustangs in the Nationwide Series.
"Penske Racing has had and continues to have a terrific relationship with Dodge and we thank them for their partnership," company founder and chairman Roger Penske said in a statement. "We look forward to rejoining the Ford Racing NASCAR program beginning in 2013. We appreciate the long-term commitment that Ford has made to Penske Racing."
During the past nine years working with Dodge, Penske Racing has enjoyed 26 wins in the Sprint Cup and 22 in the Nationwide Series, including winning the 2010 Nationwide Series championship title. In prior partnerships with Ford, Penske recorded 27 Sprint Cup wins and one Nationwide Series victory.
The announcement from Penske means that Dodge doesn't currently have any teams or drivers lined up to use its cars in the 2013 season. However, SRT brand and motorsports CEO Ralph Gilles said in a statement that the company was "evaluating the opportunities available moving forward." He said Dodge would continue to support Penske this season and plans to have a broad range of motorsports activities by 2013.
"Dodge has enjoyed a successful partnership with Penske Racing for 10 years. It's a partnership that has produced results for both parties on and off the track," Gilles said. "We wish Roger [Penske] and Penske Racing much success in the future."
Sources: Penske Racing, Chrysler