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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-11-2012, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up NASCAR 2013 Dodge Charger

Dodge Brand Identity Returns in NASCAR with 2013 Dodge Charger



March 11, 2012 , Las Vegas - Fans asked for it. NASCAR agreed. SRT Motorsports and Dodge delivered. SRT Motorsports unveiled the 2013 Dodge Charger that will compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today in front of the people that asked for the change -- the fans. Just as they did with the Dodge Challenger when it was introduced in the NASCAR Nationwide Series two years ago, SRT Motorsports designers and engineers created a race car fans will have no problem identifying on the race track. The defining features of the street Charger have been expertly incorporated into the racing version.

“From the start, it’s been a collaborative effort with NASCAR,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO – SRT Brand and Motorsports. “NASCAR provided the manufacturers with basic specifications, but offered encouragement to venture beyond the look of the current race car. Our design and engineering group, working with Penske Racing, seized the opportunity. We had a fantastic benchmark – the Dodge Challenger – introduced in 2009. This endeavor goes beyond the trend the Nationwide Series Challenger started with a Dodge Charger that amazingly embodies many of the design features of the street version into the race car. We’re extremely proud that the Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup competition that is available with a V-8 engine.”

NASCAR eased rules on where manufacturers could put glass and solid body pieces. That freed designers and engineers to make the “greenhouse,” the area above the doors, hood and truck lid, more closely resemble production cars. Rules were also eased for the front and rear, and especially the sides, allowing the character lines that come directly from the street car.

"We know NASCAR fans are passionate about cars,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton. “We're excited about the results of the collective efforts of NASCAR, Dodge and the other manufacturers to create the 2013 Sprint Cup cars. The 2013 Dodge Charger race car design is a great example of what we look forward to seeing on the race track next season. We thank Dodge and all the manufacturers for their efforts, as we see the results here today with the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Dodge Charger."

The relationship between the Dodge Charger street car and the Dodge Charger race car is unmistakable.

“The race fans delivered a clear message,” said Gilles. “NASCAR listened. We went to work, following the guidelines established for all manufacturers by NASCAR. The Dodge Charger revealed today validates our resolve to deliver a product that will be easily identifiable on the track without compromise in the area of competition.”

Rick

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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-11-2012, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Dodge unveils new car at Vegas

03/11/2012



LAS VEGAS -- Dodge Motorsports president Ralph Gilles said Dodge is moving forward and hopes to remain in NASCAR despite losing Penske Racing as its signature team.

Gilles spoke Sunday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the unveiling of the 2013 Dodge Charger Sprint Cup car. Two weeks ago, Roger Penske announced his two-car Dodge team (Dodge's only major team) was switching to Ford in 2013.

"It was unexpected, to be honest," Gilles said of Penske's decision. "But we've been knocked down a few times in our history and we've come back."

Gilles said he already has heard from several NASCAR teams who are interested in switching to Dodge next year.


The new Dodge Charger is shown after its unveiling for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"With the way our phone is ringing, I'm not too concerned," Gilles said. "It's been a pretty positive thing. With every storm there's a sunny day later."

But Gilles would not say for certain Dodge would remain in NASCAR in 2013.

"Based on the momentum we've developed, we don't feel it's going that way," Gilles said about the possibility of leaving. "We would love to stay if we can, but we have to figure it out. We're actually investing in NASCAR more than ever.

"Some of this timing (of Penske's announcement) was unfortunate. Some things Roger didn't realize we were doing are coming to pass."

Gilles was asked why Penske opted to leave Dodge for Ford.

"You'd have to ask Roger, but I think it was more about a long-term commitment," Gilles said. "We weren't willing to do a five-year type of deal. We wanted to stay loose a little bit."

Richard Petty Motorsports, a two-car team in its final contract year with Ford, has been mentioned as a possible new team for Dodge, but Gilles said they are a long way from any decisions on 2013.

"Right now, as they say, we're keeping all our options open," Gilles said. "We're putting a list together and setting up meetings in the coming months. But we also have to look at the whole business model of how we approach NASCAR to see where we go from here."

Gilles hopes to make a decision on a new team within the next four months.

''I would say mid-summer," Gilles said. "It's been overwhelming the amount of interest we've had from people that want to be in our cars."

Unlike the other three Cup manufacturers (Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota), Dodge has only one major team with Penske. Gilles said that could change in the future.

"We just don't know," Gilles said. "I'd love to sit at a bar with you guys and discuss it. It's a big deal to go about how we re-invent it. There are still some privateers (one-car teams) we support, like Robby (Gordon), but we're going to have fun with this and see where it takes us."

One problem for Dodge is it needs a team that has an engine program, or a team that can develop one with Dodge, because Penske Racing has its own engine program that Dodge was using.

"We have a lot of talented engineers who can develop high horsepower engines," Gilles said. "What people don't realize is a lot of the engine design and specifications have been done on the inside (at Dodge headquarters in Michigan). Now it's really more about the (potential new NASCAR team's) facilities. It's just a matter of making the right decision."

All four NASCAR manufacturers are going to a new car design next year with models that are much closer to the actual look of the street cars. The Charger unveiling Sunday came next to the street version, showing how similar the race car looks to the production model.

Gilles said it's been an enormous project to make the 2013 race cars look like street cars again while also keeping them aerodynamically equal on the race track.

"Our wind tunnel was on overtime trying to figure this car out, more than almost making a normal street car," he said. "There were so many ways to get it wrong. You have to walk a fine line and not get NASCAR too worried. I think everyone's happy."

NASCAR president Mike Helton spoke at the unveiling Sunday, which came in front of hundreds of race fans in the LVMS Cup garage.

"We know NASCAR fans are car enthusiasts,'" Helton said. "So are we. When we look back at 2013, it will be a big statement by the car companies involved. They have put the energy behind making these (race) cars look like cars."



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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-11-2012, 06:49 PM Thread Starter
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Friday, March 9, 2012
Kyle and Kurt Busch: Dodge saviors?

There's a solution to save Dodge's presence in NASCAR.

It's not totally realistic thanks to existing contracts and a few other not-so-minor details, but if the manufacturer could pull this off, it would remain a major player in the Sprint Cup Series after Penske Racing moves to Ford in 2013.

Busch Brothers Motorsports.


If Dodge could lure Kurt Busch, left, and Kyle Busch into its Sprint Cup program, the manufacturer would have two of the most talented drivers in NASCAR.

Yes, throw a ton of money at Kyle and Kurt Busch the way Dodge did with Ray Evernham when he re-entered the series in 2001, persuade Kyle to turn his Nationwide Series organization into a Cup organization, and have at it.

There are issues. Kyle is under contract with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota. He also doesn't have an engine shop at Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Otherwise, it's the best solution to keep Dodge viable.

And Dodge wants to remain a player. Otherwise, it wouldn't be revealing the 2013 Charger designed for NASCAR's premier series before Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway despite Penske's recent announcement that leaves the manufacturer basically homeless.

But look at the options:

Hendrick Motorsports and satellite team Stewart-Haas Racing aren't leaving Chevrolet. Neither is Richard Childress Racing. Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing could, but it also doesn't have an engine shop, and the Earnhardt part of the equation never will leave Chevy.

Roush Fenway Racing is more committed to Ford than many husbands are committed to their wives. Richard Petty Motorsports could be a viable option, and Petty has a big history with Dodge. But RPM doesn't have an engine shop, and there's no realistic reason to believe that the financially strapped organization could survive on its own.

Toyota might be susceptible to a raid. Michael Waltrip always is open to ideas, but like others, he doesn't have an engine shop and is heavily invested with the Japan-based manufacturer.

Joe Gibbs Racing left a comfortable situation at Chevrolet a few years ago to stand on its own, and it has the infrastructure to build engines again. Outside of Busch Brothers Motorsports, that may be the best option, but it's not likely.

So the best option is BBM. Kyle and Kurt are two of the most talented drivers in the series, and without great talent you have no chance. Kurt is in the market for a ride, and the brothers might behave better if they're forced to apologize for themselves instead of having an owner do it for them.

It might be a costly initial investment for Dodge, which was totally blindsided by Penske's decision. But it's better than throwing money into a dark hole with smaller teams that will reap few benefits.

Maybe it would be a gradual process. Put Kurt in the Monster Energy Drink Dodge for a year or two until Kyle's contract with JGR expires or JGR simply releases him.

But Busch Brothers Motorsports is the best solution despite all the roadblocks.

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-12-2012, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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