Dodge is pulling out of NASCAR after the 2012 season.
Without a competitive organization to carry the Dodge banner or a stout engine program to power the cars, there was simply no reason to contend against the powerhouses in NASCAR with a start-up program.
"Following our thorough five-month-long process of evaluating all options for our future involvement in the sport, we've decided to withdraw from NASCAR competition at the end of the 2012 season," said Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports for the Chrysler Group LLC. "On the announcement by Penske Racing on March 1, we set up a detailed evaluation process to determine who our perspective partners could be and, specifically, what the future would hold for us on and off the track.
"We were initially pleased to see the vast amount of interest from multiple teams and sponsors that came our way with a lot of interesting packages and ideas. Look at this process as a multi-piece puzzle. It's very difficult as capacities have shrunk dramatically over the years in the NASCAR world. We couldn't, unfortunately, put together a structure that made sense to continue our business and competitive objectives for next year. . . . Our team worked diligently to pull this together and in the end, we couldn't develop the right structure."
Certainly Penske Racing's decision in February to jump from Dodge to Ford contributed to the decision. Gilles acknowledges that Penske's decision "caught us by surprise and we have not recovered since." Penske offered Dodge the perfect "boutique" operation -- a factory-backed program with two cars and initially championship caliber drivers.