Friday, January 18, 2013
Dodge not expected back soon
By David Newton
CONCORD, N.C. -- Don't look for NASCAR to add a new manufacturer anytime soon.
Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said during Friday's "Gen 6" test at Charlotte Motor Speedway that he doesn't anticipate another manufacturer joining Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota in the "foreseeable future ... the next year or two."
Dodge pulled out of the sport after winning the championship last season with Brad Keselowski and Penske Racing, which moved to Ford in 2013. There has been speculation that Dodge might return in 2014, possibly with a premier team such as Richard Childress Racing that has fallen to third among organizations in the Chevrolet fleet.
Pemberton said the governing body periodically gets "cold calls" from potential manufacturers, but none that appear ready to join the sport in the next few years.
He made the comment as teams wrapped up a two-day test that was trimmed to one day after heavy rains canceled Thursday's session.
Pemberton and series director John Darby said they were pleased with everything they heard from teams during Friday's session. They were particularly pleased to see some teams, most notably the No. 11 of Joe Gibbs Racing, run more than 200 laps to test the durability of parts and pieces.
Michael McDowell drove the No. 11 for Hamlin, who is awaiting the birth of his first child.
Greg Biffle had the fastest lap at 192.610 mph for most of the afternoon. That was almost 1 mph slower than Kasey Kahne's top lap in a December test.
Clint Bowyer was second, followed by Joey Logano, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Kahne.
The test was extended from 5 p.m. ET until 7:30 p.m. due to a three-hour delay to start the session while the track was dried.