The new 2013 Dodge Charger was unveiled prior to the recent NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Photo: Jeff Gluck / SB Nation)

Dodge Searches For New Team After Penske Racing Departure

Penske Racing joins Ford, leaving Dodge without any major NASCAR teams in 2013.

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4 Total Updates since March 1, 2012
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NASCAR: 2013 Dodge Charger Unveiled As CEO Says Manufacturer Has Options

Dodge is learning it has plenty of options to remain in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season despite its surprising breakup with Penske Racing.

After unveiling its 2013 Dodge Charger on Sunday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Dodge SRT brand CEO Ralph Gilles said he's been pleased with the amount of interest from Cup teams.

"Based on the way our phone is ringing, I'm not too concerned (about 2013)," Gilles said. "With every storm, there's a sunny day later. (The Penske breakup) was unexpected, to be honest with you, but we're ready for it. We've been knocked down a few times in our history, and we come back."

Penske Racing announced March 1 it was leaving Dodge for Ford in 2013. Gilles offered few hints as to Penske's reason for the move, but said one factor may have been the manufacturer's reluctance to offer Penske a five-year contract (Dodge preferred more flexibility).

Gilles said Dodge hopes to pick a new team – or teams – by mid-summer, though he couldn't talk about the potential partners on the record.

"I would love to kind of sit with you at a bar and discuss this," Gilles said with a laugh. "There's a lot of options. It's a big deal to reinvent how we go about it. We may look at multiple teams. ... We're going to have some fun with this."

Dodge is making a list and will evaluate all of its options, Gilles said, and could change the way it conducts business in NASCAR.

In the meantime, Gilles insisted the manufacturer will do everything it can to help Penske win in 2012.

"All I'm going to say about Mr. Penske is I would love to be the company that gives him his first championship in NASCAR," Gilles said. "That's how we're going to approach 2012: We're going to race as hard as ever."

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(Photo: Jeff Gluck / SB Nation)

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Penske Racing Switches From Dodge To Ford For 2013 NASCAR Season

In a move few people saw coming, Penske Racing dropped a bombshell Thursday and announced it will switch manufacturers from Dodge to Ford in 2013.

The decision is a shock because Penske was Dodge's only big team (Robby Gordon Motorsports also uses Dodges in the Sprint Cup Series) and was closely linked to the manufacturer.

Thursday's news was first reported by Autoweek.

Dodge is set to unveil its 2013 Sprint Cup Series car – a Charger – next Sunday in Las Vegas. Now, though, it's unclear which team will be fielding Dodges in NASCAR.

Penske will join a crowded lineup at Ford, which includes Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Front Row Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing, among others.

Ford Racing director Jamie Allison called Penske a "strong addition" to the Ford program and said it would add greater depth to the manufacturer's lineup.

"It was important to get this agreement in place early so that we can plan ahead for the debut of the new 2013 NASCAR Fusion," Allison said. "We will work with Roush Fenway on the final development of the new car during this season, but we want to be able to have our teams building their new cars for the 2013 season before the end of the year, as the transition to the new body is taking place."

That means Brad Keselowski will race for the same manufacturer as Carl Edwards – with whom he once feuded – and returns AJ Allmendinger to the manufacturer he drove for at RPM.

Penske Racing ran Fords from 1994-2002 and had 27 wins and 33 poles during that period.

"Penske Racing has had and continues to have a terrific relationship with Dodge and we thank them for their partnership and their support over the past 10 years," Roger Penske said. "Our organizations have experienced many great memories together and our teams are committed to produce wins and championships with Dodge this season.

"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 and for their continued support of the sport."

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