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What does future hold for Dodge?
Dodge will unveil its 2013 Sprint Cup car on March 11 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. However, the bigger question now is who will be driving Dodges next year?
NASCAR on FOX brings live coverage of the Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway on Sunday. The green flag drops at 1 p.m. ET, with coverage on FOX beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Robby Gordon Motorsports would be the lone team at this point after Penske Racing announced Thursday that it was moving to manufacturer Ford in 2013.
But Dodge has also reached out to other teams, including Richard Petty Motorsports, according to owner Andy Murstein.
"We received calls from several manufacturers today asking if they could meet with us,” Murstein said. “It seems that while sponsorship is down, car manufacturer support is strong. That is probably due to the fact that the car companies are all doing significantly better these days than a few years ago. Thus Petty has been approached by several manufacturers recently. What's interesting is that while there are the usual suspects there is one new manufacturer that is trying to break into the sport.
“Many of the manufactures have told us that the Petty name is a no-brainer for them. While admittedly Petty isn't in the winning class of Hendrick and Roush Fenway, at least not yet, they are first class in terms of pride and fan loyalty. The missteps that other teams have made such as their drivers embarrassing them will not be the case with Petty's drivers, and certainly will never be the case with the King himself.”
RPM’s contract with Ford is up at the end of the season. Petty ran Dodges from 1972 to 1978. Petty Enterprises aligned with Dodge again when the manufacturer returned to NASCAR competition in 2001 through most of the 2009 season, then under the RPM banner.
“We are focused on using Ford this year as we have high hopes for our performance,” Murstein said. “We have two great drivers now both on and off the track. Not only are they both extremely well spoken, personable, and loved by the sponsors, but they have the talent and the equipment needed to get it done. As everyone saw they both had great qualifying and practice times at Daytona and were both in the top five at points in the race. Partly because of that, and partly because there is only one King, who is a shining example of excellence and integrity both on and off the track, we have been approached by several manufacturers. Some of them are already in the sport and interestingly one of which is not in the sport but would like to enter it through a partnership with the King.”
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing president Steve Lauletta said the company had not yet been approached by Dodge.
"I haven't been involved in any of those conversations," Lauletta said. "But we're very happy with Chevrolet."