Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said he hopes to have a decision on the future of the team’s engine shop by the end of this month, adding that continuing to build Dodge engines while campaigning Fords may not be in the best interest of the company.
“I don’t think that’s realistic… having efforts in two different camps,” said Cindric in an exclusive interview with Sirius XM NASCAR Radio’s Sirius XM Speedway with Dave Moody. He hinted, however, that the engine program could continue to operate under different ownership, saying, “It has always been Roger Penske’s way to ensure that we are loyal to those who have been loyal to us. Dodge will have to get engines somewhere (and) when that fork in the road happens, it’s a matter of trying to ensure that good people (in the Penske engine shop) have good jobs. It’s a matter of doing what we can for them, regardless of whether they’re serving us, or Dodge, or someone else.
"We want to do as much as we can, regardless of the outcome, (but) it’s hard to explain how complicated the process is," said Cindric. "It’s not just us. The manufacturers have a lot of say in terms of what goes on, and a lot of good input."
The Penske Racing President said time is growing short, adding, “We’re getting to the point where we need to make some decisions. The first thing to do was make it public (that we were going to change manufacturers). The next thing was to take as much time as is necessary to investigate all the different opportunities. Roger taught me a long time ago that you don’t make a decision until you have to, because then, you’ve got as much information as you can have.
“I hope to have a clear direction soon,” he said, “because we have to get on with it.”
Specifically, Cindric said he hopes to have a decision made by the end of June. “I don’t think it’s a drop-dead date, but it would give us six months (to work) before we head into the New Year. Obviously, some things take longer than that, and there are things going on in the background that will cover us, either way.”
He said the team is working in concert with Roush Fenway Racing to make a seamless transition to Ford in 2013.
“We’ve put together as big a support group as we can, trying to allow those in the competition role for 2012 to focus exclusively on 2012,” he said. “We feel we have as good a chance at the championship as anyone else, and we want to get everything we can out of 2012 while it’s here.
“In regard to 2013, I’m really amazed how well our group has been able to work with Ford, Robbie Reiser and his guys at Roush Fenway Racing. Obviously Ford is working with NASCAR on the 2013 car to get everything through the approval process, but the way Robbie, Mike Nelson and our guys have worked together to formulate the right approach and strategy toward the 2013 car; I’m really looking forward to it.
“We don’t have a car in the building yet that’s anything but a Dodge,” revealed Cindric. “The Roush guys have been carrying the ball there. We’re primarily focused on 2012 as far as the cars are concerned, but in terms of getting all the parts and pieces in place, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”
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