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Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Dodge’s days in the Cup series may be numbered

The big winner in the merger of Yate Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports is Ford. The only American car company to avoid bankruptcy this year, Ford is leading the industry’s return to profitability, and now they have a few extra cars with which to sell their product to the American people.

Not only that, but they instantly added a couple major names in racing -- Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 car, and co-owner Richard Petty. Both are having a reunion with Ford, as Kahne started 20 Busch Series races for Robert Yates early in his career before a bad breakup … and Petty won 10 races in a Ford during the 1969 season.

But there’s always a loser, and in this case it’s Dodge. With the loss of RPM, only Penske Racing remains in the Dodge camp, and that’s not good for its prospects. When you’re going up against Ford, Toyota and Chevy … which all have multiple teams from which to pool data and improve … it’s a recipe for disaster.

Roger Penske, and his drivers Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr., should be concerned right now, because this move could seriously impact the way they perform next year.

I would not be shocked in the least if Penske made an announcement before the year is over that he is also switching to another team, perhaps returning the Ford nameplate that Rusty Wallace drove to so many wins.

It may be too late, and a switch is more likely to come in 2011, but the handwriting is on the wall for Dodge. They made their grand re-entrance into the Cup series about a decade ago, but it hasn’t worked out as they planned.

And depending what happens with Penske, they might be gone from the Cup series altogether.

More job losses
Another unfortunate consequence when these mergers happen is the workers on some of the teams will end up unemployed. While the #9, #19, #43 and #98 will be the likely survivors of the merger, it’s clear the fourth RPM team will be history, and so will the dozens of mechanics and other workers on that team. Also in jeopardy are the jobs at the #96 Hall of Fame Racing team, which had a collaboration with Yates in 2009 but are looking for a new partner for 2010. It’s not yet clear what the status of that team is for next year.

The bottom line is that in the name of survival, teams get the axe and the workers suffer, just like it would be at another real-world job. NASCAR better watch out though. If these teams keep merging and falling aside, they may struggle to get full fields next year.


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