Report: Don’t expect a Dodge return to NASCAR – for now

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Dodge made its way out of NASCAR following the 2012 season but did so in grand fashion with a Sprint Cup championship thanks to Brad Keselowski (pictured) and Team Penske.

But don’t expect the brand to return to stock car racing – at least for now.

Ralph Gilles, president and CEO for Chrysler Group’s SRT category (whose Vipers are competing in this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona), has left the door open but told FoxSports.com’s Lee Spencer that such a return would have to wait a little bit, citing the need to find solid partners.

“We’re never going to have the wherewithal to scoop everybody up,” Gilles said to Spencer. “We’re not big enough to have a stronghold, so it’s always been an issue of having the right team.

“When we were [with] Penske and before that Evernham [Motorsports], the moons were aligned back then. Things made sense – the right people in the right places. Today, it’s not quite the same.”

Last December during NASCAR Champions Week celebrations in Las Vegas, CEO Brian France said that there was room for more manufacturers in the series, even though he also noted the difficulties of potential manufacturers landing strong teams.

And through the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, NASCAR does has the opportunity to forge and retain links with groups such as Chrysler, which owns both the Dodge and SRT brands.

“We didn’t get into sports car racing just to be in sports car racing,” France said in Vegas. “We got in it because it gave us some strategic relationships, namely relationships with OEMs around the world, and those are going to prove to be beneficial as they see how NASCAR works in the road racing series that they participate in now, and I think they’ll like the way we handle competition and manufacturers and so on.”

With all of that taken into consideration, Dodge does have an avenue to return to America’s most popular form of motorsport. But it appears they’ll wait until they’re good and ready for that.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”