In case you somehow missed the first breaking silly season news of 2012 last week, here it is…Roger Penske is bringing his organization back to the blue oval brigade in 2013 after nine seasons with Dodge. Penske became the top performing Dodge manufacturer rather quickly with Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace from 2003 to 2005.
However, over the course of the last few years, the Dodge contingent continued to shrink. In fact, in 2009, Penske was virtually the only horse left in the Dodge Chargers racing stables. While they were the focal point of the manufacturer for the last few years, the time arrived for Penske to reunite for Ford.
This leaves Dodge with no contending teams. Robby Gordon, who occasionally start and parks, is, thus far, the only team owner planned to field the new Dodge Chargers in 2013.
That will likely change in the near future. While Dodge has experienced performance issues in the past, there could be some appeal to being the flagship team for the manufacturer with the launch of the new 2013 models. Penske Racing consistently won races, and in 2011, they placed two teams in the Chase for the Championship.
Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart Haas Racing, and Richard Childress Racing are staunch Chevrolet supporters, so it is extremely unlikely to see any of those teams to jump ship. Joe Gibbs Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing appear to be married to Toyota. Roush Fenway Racing is to Ford as what Hendrick and Childress are to Chevrolet. Roush will probably never field anything other than a Ford.
As far as the frontrunning teams are concerned, this leaves only Richard Petty Motorsports and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. RPM’s contract with Ford ends in 2012, and Petty has previous ties to Dodge Chargers . EGR is currently in a crowded room with Chevrolet’s three other championship contending teams. Like Petty, Ganassi has past ties to Dodge.
RPM and EGR are two teams that are capable of running up front, but there seems to be some missing pieces. Could becoming the faces of Dodge be the missing pieces? It did not work for them in the past, however, the circumstances of the two teams are completely different than they were four or five years ago. RPM is not even the same team as Petty Enterprises.
It would make sense for Dodge to court these two organizations.
The only thing that I see preventing this scenario from coming to fruition is the fact that neither RPM nor EGR have their own engine program. RPM uses Roush Yates engines while EGR uses Earnhardt-Childress engines. Would these teams be willing to spend more money developing their own engine programs? Would Dodge be willing to provide an engine program for these organizations? Those are some burning questions to be considered.
Other teams that could consider a move to Dodge Chargers include the up and coming Furniture Row Racing, Front Row Motorsports, BK Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, and Germain Racing.