Dodge Continues to Support NASCAR
Business as usual is the cry at Penske Racing this week as they access the results of their last race and prepare for the race this week at Richmond International Raceway amid Chrysler filing for bankruptcy protection Thursday and rumors of Dodge being forced to pull their support for their NASCAR efforts.
It seems weird that these events would be occurring at a time when a Dodge driver stands triumphant in the lead of NASCAR’s premier series point’s standings after over a year of absence, the last driver to do so was Ryan Newman after victory in the 2008 Daytona 500 in a Penske-powered vehicle.
The negative tone a bankruptcy proceeding creates in the minds of many people hearing of these events is usually warranted, but in this case probably not likely to be true. In fact, a bankruptcy for a troubled company with viable assets and the ability to make the company financially viable in the current economic climate, like Chrysler certainly can, might in the long run make Chrysler much stronger and able to handle a future with new economic truths.
Richard Petty Motorsports, which has 4 Dodge cars in the Sprint Cup Series, has stated recently that they have been assured that Dodge will continue its NASCAR interests, that Dodge’s involvement in NASCAR is important to their overall marketing program, and an essential element to their future plans.
The bankruptcy proceedings are merely a chance to reorganize Chrysler’s balance sheet and the financial structure of the company as a whole. The employees apparently still show up for work at Chrysler and daily operations continue as before the bankruptcywas announcement, accept for a few holiday announcements and the like.
All this has probably let the air out of the balloon that was poised above Busch’s head. Finally in the points lead after 149 races, a length of time that spans from the Las Vegas race in March 2005 to the present, and with three cars running in NASCAR’s premier series, he was probably expecting to see that balloon burst.
Busch and Penske Racing for their part have stated they feel confident in the strength of their relationship with Dodge despite the bad news for Chrysler and that they fully expect everything to continue as normal. That they really have no choice but to keep going as if nothing has changed and hope that Dodge is able to keep their end of the bargain, and that they will continue their relationship through-out the remaining years of their contract with Dodge.