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."