Dodge confirmed today that it will race the Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2008 and beyond. Dodge Brand Director Mike Accavitti made the announcement today, calling the Charger the cornerstone of Dodge’s NASCAR heritage. He said that Dodge’s 2,500 dealers have expressed "overwhelming support" for the Charger brand to continue in NASCAR. Dodge’s 2008 lineup will feature 12 drivers with five teams.
Petty/GEM Merger Off: Kyle Petty said yesterday that he and his father have decided not to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, at least for now. The two teams had discussed a partnership that would have allowed Petty Enterprises to maintain its identity.
Petty also announced that he and his wife, Pattie, are determined to build a second camp for seriously ill children in the Midwest; most likely in the Kansas City area. Petty called the project a question of, “not if we build, (but) when we build.”
The Pettys have run the Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, N.C., since 2004. They were scheduled to meet with civic and corporate leaders last Tuesday night to talk about the “long-term sustainability” of the project. Petty said that if the details can be worked out, the camp could open in 2009 or 2010
Musgrave Out, Marks In At Germain: Germain Racing owner Bob Germain has confirmed what Sirius Speedway first told you back on November 2nd; that the team will not renew its NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series contract with Ted Musgrave.
ARCA driver Justin Marks will replace Musgrave, bringing sponsorship from Croc Shoes to the team. Marks ran four truck races for Germain Racing this season, finishing eighth in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Musgrave has not announced his plans for 2008, but he is expected to replace Jack Sprague at the wheel of the #60 Wyler Racing Toyota.
NASCAR In No Hurry On Fike: NASCAR says it will move slowly in evaluating the status of suspended driver Aaron Fike.
Fike was recently sentenced to two years' probation after a plea agreement reduced a pair of felony charges resulting from his arrest last summer for possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia. As part of his plea agreement, Fike has promised to speak and pass out anti-drug literature at schools and speedways.
NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston says the sanctioning body will procede slowly with Fike, saying he has "got some work to do” before any possibility of reinstatement. Poston said Fike needs to complete the legal process, undergo evaluation by NASCAR’s substance abuse experts, and follow the prescribed program they set for him.
There is currently no timetable for reinstatement, but Fike has said he'll do whatever it takes.