Sunday, June 7, 2009
Penske says he's set with Dodge deal
By David Newton
LONG POND, Pa. -- Team owner Roger Penske has no plans to move Saturn into the Sprint Cup series, saying Sunday he plans to stick with Dodge for at least the remaining three years of his contract with the manufacturer.
General Motors Corp. announced on Friday an agreement for Penske to purchase the Saturn brand. Penske said he would like to get Saturn involved in motorsports, perhaps at the Grand-Am level, but not NASCAR's top series.
"We have three more years with Dodge, they have not let us down," the owner of Penske Motorsports said before the Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. "We see that continuing. They are current with all the obligations they have. I don't expect anything different."
Richard Petty, the co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, said last weekend at Dover that RMP's cash flow from Dodge has ceased since Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.
"I don't know what he means by cash [flow]," Penske said. "They paid the bills we submitted to them and they're on time. I don't know what he's talking about."
As for Saturn, Penske said the key was saving 13,000 jobs and keeping 350 retailers in business. He said the plan is to provide them with products that will make them stronger going forward.
"We'll be sourcing products from General Motors for at least two years," he said. "We will not be a manufacturer. We'll be a distributor."
Penske did say the Saturn Aura is "tailor-made for NASCAR," but that any such plans would be 200 miles down the road.
He added that there are no plans to expand Penske Racing's three-car organization of Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Stremme. There have been reports he would move to a fourth team with Justin Allgaier, a rookie in the Nationwide Series.
"We've made some good progress this year and we've got to maintain that," Penske said. "We're not in the silly season at all. ... We've got plenty of time."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.