Penske Racing Drops Dodge in Favor of Ford for 2013: A Mopar Fan's Perspective

Ken ArmerSenior Writer IMarch 5, 2012

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 02:  Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

I've been a die-hard fan of Penske racing since regaining my interest in NASCAR a couple of years ago.

Brad Keselowski's youth, talent and manners with fans and the media made me decide the guy was worth cheering for, plus it didn't help we both drive Dodge Charger's on the weekends.

I stood by Kurt Busch after he made an ass of himself, and adopted AJ Almendinger as one of my own after he joined Penske.

I spent money on T-shirts to support Keselowski instead of spending money to modify my own Charger and spent weekends following both NASCAR series in the hopes of seeing my drivers and my manufacturer in the winner's circle.

I went to bed excited when Keselowski tweeted earlier this week that a big announcement was going to be made the next day. I can say I followed him long before the Daytona incident, which is a true point of pride now.

But the announcement wasn't the good news I had hoped for. Instead it was like a knife in the back.  Penske, the only major team in NASCAR running Dodge would be dropping Dodge in favor of Ford in an attempt to win a championship.

On the logical side of things it makes a of sense, with Ford Penske can work alongside Roush-Fenway and Roger Penske has been a long time Ford runner before moving to Dodge 10 or so years ago.

One flaw to this logic is that Keselowski had a solid run last season in the Chase, and is always a threat for a win in the Nationwide series. Kurt Busch blamed everything on his car last season, rather than adjusting his attitude and manning up. Almendinger is brand new to the ride, so a learning curve is in place for a little bit.


The success of Keselowski shows that Dodge and Penske work, yet Dodge is the scapegoat for his lack of a championships? Not driver development or other internal issues? That makes perfect sense...not.

Robby Gordon will be left as the lone Dodge Charger on the track, and while he also has me cheering for him come Sunday's his usual back of the pack running is hard to find enjoyable.

If Keselowski is forced into a Ford ride, he will still have my support after so many years of cheering for him, but if and when Dodge finds a new major team I will be cheering and spending my money there.

Other fans are elected to not go to races, many of them spend the weekend and take campers, which can be quite an expensive vacation until Dodge has another major team.

That's how Mopar fans are; Mopar or "No Car" is in the blood.

More commonly, I hear anger from fellow fans, anger that NASCAR is so supportive of teams running Toyota. Still in some fan's eyes a manufacturer that doesn't belong while Dodge is left scapegoated and an odd man out.

While there is no doubt there is a lot unknown behind the scenes that went into the decision, the excuse from Penske feels a little weak. No doubt the help from Roush-Fenway should help fuel a championship run, but I'm left wondering if Penske would change his tune if Keselowski won the Chase this season.

For now I, as well as other Mopar fans are left wondering the future of Dodge in NASCAR. Keselowski will always have my support, but after this season he may not be my #1 driver anymore.