BROOKLYN, MI. – Despite published reports to the contrary, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has not pulled the plug on its program to return the Dodge nameplate to NASCAR and is still in talks with the sanctioning body, a source with knowledge of the negotiations confided to Kickin’ the Tires.
“The story about them pulling out is absolutely, 100 percent false,” the source said. “They are researching a possible return to NASCAR.”
Additionally, the source said a second manufacturer has also expressed interest in NASCAR but is in preliminary stages of any talks with the sanctioning body.
“This isn’t the type of decision you make lightly as a company but 2019 would be, by far, the earliest for Dodge,” the source said. “If you look around the garage, there are still people wearing Dodge paraphernalia. You see Ram pickups and Dodge cars in the parking lot. There is still a large fan base here.”
NASCAR does not discuss which manufacturers or partners it is working with specifically but Steve Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Global Sales and Marketing Officer, confirmed the sanctioning body is routinely talking with manufacturers expressing interest in coming aboard.
It has been reported that Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, talked with NASCAR’s Jim France about what it would take to put a car back on the track in the sport’s top series. One of the early obstacles were requirements about the car being a coupe versus a sedan.
The source said those issues have been worked out and it isn’t an issue any longer – pointing to Chevrolet’s introduction of the 2018 Camaro, which is a two-door coupe, for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.