Sergio Marchionne, who is the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, said he spoke with NASCAR vice-chairman Jim France and International Speedway Inc. CEO Lesa France Kennedy about the return of Dodge to the stock-car series.
The three had dinner Saturday night during the Ferrari Finali Mondiali at Daytona International Speedway. Marchionne, who is also CEO of Ferrari, was in town for the Ferrari-only World Finals and Sunday’s Formula One exhibition.
Dodge returned to NASCAR in 2001, then exited in 2012 just after Brad Keselowski won the Cup Series championship for the American-made nameplate.
Asked about the return to NASCAR, Marchionne said, “Yes,” then explained it.
“I talked to Jim France about this (Saturday) night,” he said. “I was the one who made the decision to pull out of NASCAR. I am the guilty party at the table. In 2009, we came out bankruptcy and tried to race NASCAR (but) with the big bills and make payroll was a stretch.
“We are in a different place now. I think it is possible we can come back to NASCAR. I think we need to find the right way to come back in, but I agreed with both Jim and Lesa we would come back to the issue.”
France confirmed that he had spoken to Marchionne about bringing Dodge back into NASCAR’s top series, now sponsored by Monster Energy.
“Yes, we talked,” France said. “He is a very intelligent man. We had a good discussion.”
So now that Dodge is expressing an interest to return to NASCAR, it is going to be extremely interesting to see the terms with which they will return. Equally as interesting will be what race teams will Dodge partner up with to make its re-emergence? These are but two of the questions that will be answered as this event comes closer to fruition.
There are many more questions than there are answers at this point of the early talks between NASCAR and Fiat Chrysler! Nevertheless, the American race fans will fully welcome Dodge with open arms when they return to the race track!
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!