CONCORD, N.C. (January 22, 2008) — Dodge enters the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season optimistic a seven-year building project has been successful and ready to pay dividends. The objective – the Sprint Cup.
The 2008 Dodge Charger lineup will feature five teams with 12 drivers that are a mixture of seasoned veterans, champions from other racing series that are newcomers to NASCAR and experienced young talent. There’s plenty of talent to add to the 197 victories posted by Dodge in NASCAR’s premier series – 136 by the Dodge Charger.
Since 2001 when Dodge returned to NASCAR’s premier series, the goal has been to be the manufacturing leader by winning races and ultimately the championship. Those goals have not changed.
“We remain firmly committed to those objectives,” said Mike Accavitti, Director – Dodge Brand and SRT Global Marketing. “We’ve taken strides toward those goals. Our progress slowed somewhat in 2007, but we’re confident we have a very talented group of teams capable of producing wins, top-fives and top-10s. We expect Dodge to be well represented in the Chase in 2008 and be a serious contender for the championship.”
Accavitti’s comments, to more than 200 motorsports journalists, were made today during a Dodge Motorsports press conference. Dodge drivers, crew chiefs and team representatives took part in the press conference on the second day of the annual Lowe’s Media Tour.
Dodge, which has a storied heritage in auto racing with the Charger, has elected to continue the winning tradition that legends David Pearson, Bobby Isaac and Richard Petty established in the 1970s by designating the Charger as the nameplate Dodge teams will use in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season and in the future.
“Dodge has a racing heritage that spans many different nameplates and models,
and the Charger is the cornerstone of that heritage,” said Accavitti. “When NASCAR originally announced the phase-in plan for the “car of tomorrow”, it made sense for Dodge to race the Charger and Avenger. When the decision was made to race only one car in 2008, we talked with our partners, the more than 2,500 Dodge Dealers across the country, and they expressed overwhelming support for Dodge to continue its motorsports heritage with the Charger nameplate. NASCAR rules permit Dodge to use either nameplate in 2008.”
Three teams will field three cars each in 2008. Penske Racing has Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman returning. They are joined by Sam Hornish Jr., a former Indianapolis 500 and Indy Racing League champion.
Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates has Reed Sorenson and Juan Pablo Montoya, the 2007 Raybestos Rookie of the Year, back. The newcomer to Ganassi Racing is defending Indianapolis 500 and IRL champion Dario Franchitti.
Gillett Evernham Motorsports’ Kasey Kahne, the winningest driver in 2006 with six victories, is once again teamed with Elliott Sadler and newcomer Patrick Carpentier from the open-wheel ranks.
Petty Enterprises will field cars for Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Cup champion, and Kyle Petty from a new facility in Mooresville, N.C., after 60 years at the Level Cross complex.
The final member of the Dodge family is BAM Racing which will start the season with veteran Kenny Schrader the driver.
.“Racing is the core of Dodge’s DNA,” said Accavitti. “We like the mix we have this season. We have proven talent in NASCAR competition and we have newcomers that have proven themselves in other forms of racing. It shapes up to be an exciting year for Dodge Motorsports.”
NASCAR provides a platform to showcase the power and performance of the Dodge brand. Previously, the focus has been on generating impressions through race team sponsorship and activation. That changes in 2008.
“The Dodge Dealers’ sponsorship of the 9 and 19 since 2001 has served us well,” said Accavitti. “The emergence of new sponsorship opportunities for those
teams has given Dodge the ability to redirect valuable resources. The resources will provide additional engineering support for team at the track as well as fund new marketing initiatives and track activation that will excite both our Dodge customers and NASCAR fans.
“We will have Dodge on display throughout the year through numerous programs such as event sponsorships, official vehicle status and promotions. The performance and aggressive styling of the Dodge Charger will be on display to millions of consumers throughout the year.”
The No. 43 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 will be auctioned on eBay with proceeds going to the Victory Junction Gang Camp. The auction runs Feb. 12-22. The car will be the 43rd SRT8 off the assembly line and will be the only car in the 2008 model year that will be painted B5 Blue.
The Dodge Charger has recorded 136 wins in NASCAR’s premier series with 124 coming during an 11-year span, 1966-1977. Three drivers – Pearson, Isaac and Petty (3) — combined for five championships during that period driving a Charger.
For the latest information about Dodge Motorsports throughout the 2008 season, visit www.dodgemotorsportsmedia.com.