Thursday, October 15, 2009

TRG's Buckler Courting Dodge, Mulling Expansion

TRG Motorsports owner Kevin Buckler is actively investigating the possibility of converting his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team from Chevrolet to Dodge next season, and mulling a full, 36-race assault with former series champion Bobby Labonte.

TRG has been a Chevrolet team from its initial foray into NASCAR, but only because Buckler purchased his cars and engines from Richard Childress Racing. He told Autoweek magazine this week that he receives very little support from General Motors, and needs additional help to become a frontrunner in the Sprint Cup Series.

Buckler said he is “very much interested in talking to (Dodge),” and has spoken with fellow team-owner Roger Penske about the possibility of changing manufacturers. "I think it would be a great fit," he said. "You look at how much we've done this season with so little, and I think it shows we have a lot to offer."

A Dodge spokesman said the automaker would "absolutely" be interested in speaking with Buckler, adding, "I think we'd be crazy not to consider what he could bring to the party, especially if he could bring Bobby Labonte for the full season."

With Richard Petty Motorsports poised to jump to the Ford camp next season, Dodge would be left with only a three-car stable in 2010; all fielded by Penske Racing.

TRG is currently 37th in owners' points, just two positions away from a guaranteed starting spot in the first five races of 2010. Labonte would also bring a Past Champion’s Provisional to a team that has failed to qualify just once in 30 races this season, despite limited sponsorship and a revolving-door driver roster than has included Labonte, David Gilliland and Mike Bliss.

Buckler also restated his desire to expand to two cars next season, if sponsorship can be found.

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