Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Whither Dodge? And what's going on at Roger Penske's and Richard Petty's?

   By Mike Mulhern

   POCONO, Pa.

   Just what's going on with Dodge's two major NASCAR operations?
   Good question.
   Mike Accavitti, the man who runs Dodge's racing program, hasn't been to a NASCAR race in a while to explain things.
   And at Dover Richard Petty raised questions about payments from Dodge during Chrysler's bankruptcy stretch.
   Then Roger Penske decided to buy the Saturn brand from General Motors, raising speculation of something more afoot.
   Now, however, Penske says he's confident Dodge will be his NASCAR brand for the next three years of his current contract.
   Penske may take Saturn racing in sports cars but probably not NASCAR for a while.
   The Petty operation, on the other hand, seems much more iffy. In fact there is talk of a looming shakeup at Richard Petty Motorsports, and there are questions about what business partner George Gillett might be doing. Gillett talked last year about jumping to Toyota, but was rebuffed.
   Petty's engine program also seems iffy. Apparently Kasey Kahne's 'new' Dodge engine at Charlotte was one of only a few such new models available to Petty, and it's unclear when Kahne will be running it again.

Dodge Program A Mess Since It Started

Dodge's program has been a mess since it began. Lou Patane had it humming along quite well with inter-team cooperation in the Trucks and between Petty, Davis, and Evernham when the Winston Cup program was being built. Then Ganassi jumped in, and Davis publically criticized his involvement with Dodge during the August Bristol weekend. Stuttgart then began usurping Patane's control of the program and began running it like an F1 program (or like Chevrolet's NASCAR efforts), with a quasi-designated champion team and the rest as little fiefdoms. The One Team approach disappeared almost as soon as Speedweeks 2001 started, and it got worse when Penske decided to come into the program.

Despite some pretty solid seasons earlier this decade, Dodge never lived up to the One Team approach - it never got all of its teams on an even field (showing up graphically in the Bill Davis fiasco of 2003) and it wound up eating its own children, helping ruin Petty Enterprises (the team that needed the One Team cooperative effort the most), Ganassi, and Evernham.

I'm frankly stunned that Dodge mismanaged its racing program so horrifically.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com