By on December 5, 2016

NASCAR (public domain)

The old NASCAR adage “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” still temps modern automakers, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne isn’t immune to its spell.

After pulling out of stock car racing in 2012 to get its financial house in order, FCA now wants to see the Dodge brand back on the track.

According to Autoweek, Marchionne spoke with NASCAR executive vice-president Jim France about the possibility this past weekend.

Yes I’d love to,” Marchionne said on Sunday when asked whether he’d like to see Dodge return to the circuit. “I talked to Jim France about this just last night.”

Consider that exchange as FCA dipping its toe in the NASCAR pool. After declaring bankruptcy, and with the economic turmoil of the recession swirling, the automaker made the painful decision to pull out of NASCAR back in 2009. Marchionne claims that he’d like to take the plunge again, but hasn’t figured out the best way to return.

“I’m the one that made the decision to pull Dodge out,” Marchionne told Autoweek. “I am the guilty party at the table. In 2009 we came out of bankruptcy; we couldn’t (justify) racing in NASCAR when I was trying to pay bills and make payroll.”

The FCA boss said he pans to revisit to the issue “in short order.” France has confirmed that the sanctioning body is in talks to bring in another manufacturer, but isn’t willing to make an announcement just yet.

Returning Dodge to NASCAR is a loose end Marchionne would like to see tied up before his scheduled retirement in 2018. It could also return a bit of the exposure the brand has lost in recent years. As for whether we’ll ever see a compact or midsize Dodge again, well, that’s up to Marchionne (or his successor).

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31 Comments on “Marchionne in Talks with NASCAR, Wants Dodge to Return to the Track...”


  • avatar
    bunkie

    What’s the point? The race cars are spec cars and, for the most part are covered with advertising from other sponsors. As an outside observer, I see the Tide car or the Lowes car, not a Chevy or a Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      “Well the number 37 Liberty Diabetus Testing Equipment Chevrolet, she run real good but them dudes got us in a little situation out there but it was just one of them racing’ deals y’know.”

  • avatar
    JimZ

    with what Dodge?

  • avatar
    caltemus

    I thought they had a better case for marketing their vehicles with racing in their IMSA program. They won the championship and dropped out, only to be represented by privateers with continues success. I suppose you could bring the Charger name in, but at the end of the day it’s a spec tube frame car with about as much dodge content as it has mclaren.

  • avatar
    Fred

    There is a guy who runs a Challenger in the Infinity series. He runs it on the cheap using whatever left over bits he can find.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    This is my issue with the whole “race on Sunday, sell on Monday” thing. Back in the day, it made sense as the cars were based on actual production models.

    I would love to see NASCAR return to its roots and race production-based cars again. Of course, these days it would be about racing CUVs rather than sedans…

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Yeah, but NASCUV just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Furthermore, I would like to see the Truck series race with randomly-assigned payloads!

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          They could use those sliding tractor pull trailers. Except hook them up to race control and slow them down if they look to dominate. There you go the great equalizer.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            “They could use those sliding tractor pull trailers”

            Trucks pulling trailers around a track? Better keep Juan Pablo Montoya away from this series or someone is going to get hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      If NASCAR returns to running real cars again I might start watching. Until then I am not interested in the current mess of crashing cars covered with stickers.

      • 0 avatar
        Ol Shel

        You want to see drivers and spectators die? WHy?

        The cars stopped being stock when speeds got too high, the impacts were too severe, and the cars weren’t staying on the ground. It makes zero sense to begin with a stock chassis.

        You probably also do not remember when one small difference in aero would result in one single make winning every mile-and-up race on the schedule. Boring.

        Anyone who doesn’t like spec racing doesn’t really like racing.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    AS someone who’s spent some time in this business, I get the branding and desire to get Dodge back in the mix. Whether or not it adds any value is another story.

    On another note, how old is that picture? Those are what, early 2000 cars?

  • avatar
    RS

    “…to get its financial house in order..”

    Did this really happen? I thought they were still working on it.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Hey Sergio, when will you put Alfa Romeo back into motor sports?

  • avatar
    RHD

    I’d love to see Plymouth Roadrunners racing Pontiac Trans Ams and Oldsmobile Cutlasses. . Oh, wait, darn… we have lost so much.

  • avatar
    Loser

    NASCAR is dying, kind of like Dodge. Why don’t they put this money into updating products.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Monster just signed on as title sponsor for 40% of that Sprint paid. Maybe Marchionne sees a deal.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    If FCA were smart, they’d sponsor/bribe someone to run one truck in the Truck Series and one Challenger in the Xfinity Series. Also, restart the parts program, even if it’s through a third party, such as Penske or Roush. They need time to build back up to the Sprint Cup level, IMO. Also, if they can afford to do so, a factory Challenger in Trans Am. If not a Chally, a Giulia.

    It’s not the first time there’s been Zombie Dodges in NASCAR. During a big chunk of the 1980’s, Buddy Arrington ran privateer Mopars, first with Dodge Magnums and then a Chrysler Imperial!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    It takes an F1 team less time to change four tires than it does to read this sentence. Indy Car has four tires out for a pit stop. NASCAR doesn’t let pit crews over the wall until the car is stopped. NASCAR “Officials” monitor the pit crews to ensure no “goes over the wall early”. Of course, it takes NASCAR “Officials” 4-5 laps to announce a pit crew “went over the wall early” and changes the drivers position. NASCAR is like playing Monopoly with little kids. Sergio’s throwing good money after bad.

  • avatar
    zip94513

    It has to be the other way around. I’m more inclined to believe France approached Marchionne. Just the same, Napcar has been ruined by France. Marchionne should stick with F1.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    be funny as heck if they ran a “jeep” sprint cup spec car. the grill (decal?) and some logo’s are all the “brand” they get anymore, so … why not?


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