Chrysler announced today that after the 2012 season it will pull completely out of NASCAR.
When we heard that Ralph Giles, the Chrysler Group President and CEO of Street & Racing Technology (SRT), announce today that Chrysler was pulling completely out of NASCAR for the 2013 season, it didn't come as much of a shock. Even though Dodge showed its 2013 Sprint Cup car at Las Vegas back in March, the writing was already on the wall. Chrysler's only partner--Penske--had announced that all of their Dodge teams would be switching to Fords for 2013. The Chrysler announcement means 2013 will be the first season Chrysler has been absent in NASCAR since 2000. Prior to then, Chrysler's last foray into NASCAR was 1977.
While we are saddened to see Chrysler pull out of NASCAR, we see it as a positive. With fewer and fewer fans identifying with manufacturers, instead bonding with the drivers and sponsors, we can't blame Chrysler. Today's NASCAR racecars bear little or no resemblance to the models in dealerships. Ironically the Dodge Challenger (in NASCAR's Nationwide series), and the stillborn 2013 Sprint Cup Charger design are arguably more like the showroom models than those campaigned by other brands--certainly moreso than those from Toyota or Chevy. The gambit to get fans into the showroom, however, will not have the chance to play out.
On the positive side, this could mean more cash to support other forms of motorsports, including more grassroots stuff. There are a lot of SRT customers in the market space that would love some direct involvement from Chrysler. It could also mean more resources to develop more SRT products for the Chrysler portfolio. For more on the Chrysler announcement, click here.