Dodge re-entered NASCAR competition 12 years ago and originally had a full stable of teams aligned with it including Bill Davis Racing, Evernham Motorsports, Petty Enterprises, Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing, but the economic downturn in 2009 saw teams either fold or move to other manufacturers.
The only other team now fielding Dodge cars in Sprint Cup competition is the small, single-car Robby Gordon Motorsports operation. Not only does RGM not have the budget for the kind of technical development work that Dodge need in their principle team, the lack of other teams running Dodge means that the company's NASCAR operation simply isn't commercially long-term without signing on more partners.
One team with historic links to Dodge in the past is Richard Petty Motorsports, currently in the last year of its current contract with Ford. However, RPM recently flirted with closure itself and is also not a big operation, currently relying on Roush Fenway Racing for its engines, chassis and technical support rather than having its own development personnel.
Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing is another team with old ties to Dodge, but team co-owner Felix Sabates seemed to squelch any hopes of them making a move anytime soon. "We're happy where we are ... It's hard to beat General Motors or this group with Chevrolet."
Gilles insisted that his heart was in seeing Dodge stay in NASCAR. "I would say we're putting our effort in that direction, and we'll see what happens," he said. "We've been knocked down a few times in our history and we've come back."
Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota are the other manufacturers currently in Cup competition. Ford unveiled its 2013 Ford Fusion Sprint Cup model