Sunday, March 4, 2012

Dodge Down But Not Out in NASCAR: Preview of 2013 Charger Stock Car

Photo credit: Chrysler Group

Their 12th season of competition since a celebrated 2001 comeback, Chrysler's Dodge brand has undergone some intense opposition on and off the race track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. From the pressure of Chrysler's bankruptcy restructuring to the tough competition on the world's premier stock car racing circuit, the Dodge Charger have remained resilient.

Despite yet propelling a drive to winning a Sprint Cup series championship, Dodge has been part of some great NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moments including the 2002 Daytona 500 with Ward Burton and the 2008 Daytona 500 with Ryan Newman driving for Penske Racing. Supporting only one major team in the 2011 and 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Penske Racing have been campaigning the Dodge Charger since 2003. Late this past week, Penske Racing (Dodge's main Sprint Cup supporter) announced their 2013 NASCAR racing plans will involve a return to the Ford product camp. More important than ever, Dodge's affirmation of their 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup plans will bring relieve to the Mopar fans.

Providing a silhouette of the 2013 model stock car under updated NASCAR specifications, the upcoming track version of the Dodge Charger is part of a new series-wide design initiative. Opening up rules pertaining to bodywork, NASCAR gave manufacturers like Dodge more freedom to incorporate brand identity similar to the production vehicles into the stock cars. During the NASCAR media tour, Ford revealed the 2013 Fusion race car demonstrating the lengths auto companies can impose their creative work. Already receiving encouragement from NASCAR observers, president and CEO of Street & Racing Technology (SRT) Ralph Gilles stated, "The fans were like. ‘Hallelujah, finally, the race cars look a lot like the cars I can buy and drive."

Designing the NASCAR Nationwide's so-called "Car of Tomorrow" following the new spec Sprint Cup car, the lessons learned from the missteps of the major series' car created an exciting group of vehicles. Inaugurated part-time in 2010 ahead of a full NASCAR Nationwide Series season in 2011, Ford and Dodge bodies were among the most lauded, distinctive vehicles. While Ford created the Mustang body, Dodge brought the Challenger to the NASCAR race track. Part of the Dodge Challenger's development for the Nationwide Series, SRT designer Mark Trostle leads the design of the 2013 Charger for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Trostle is very enthusiastic on the design freedoms recently provided by NASCAR saying his personal interest in the series has been restored. “Hey, there’s the Challenger!’ I knew right away what it was without having to memorize the car numbers. I feel like we’re helping change the feel of the sport and putting design and brand identity back into NASCAR." said Trostle.

The 2013 Dodge Charger will make its first public appearance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 11th ahead of the 2013 Sprint Cup season.

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