In an exclusive interview with SPEED.com, Penske Racing President Tim Cindric said Monday afternoon that a potential deal between the team and Dodge to continue building Dodge Sprint Cup engines next year fell apart last week.
As a result, Cindric said, Penske is looking at a variety of options for its Mooresville, N.C., engine shop, which currently builds the motors for Penske’s NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams. Those options including building engines for other racing series or selling the engine operation entirely, Cindric told SPEED.com.
Penske announced earlier Monday that it will get its engines from Roush Yates Engines next year, when it will switch NASCAR manufacturer alliances from Dodge to Ford.
As far as the Penske engine operation, Cindric said, “We’re going to continue to explore opportunities there.”
The original plan was to continue to work with Dodge, but that’s off the table now, said Cindric.
“We felt as though there was a good opportunity for us in some way to continue on with that asset and especially that group of people relative to Dodge or through a third party of Dodge in some way, shape or form, whether selling the assets or finding a way someone else could utilize things as whole,” Cindric said. “And we felt like we were very close to that until a week or so ago. … We felt like there was some end game that was going to be mutually beneficial. And about a week ago, that all seemed to go a different direction.”
As a result, the timing of the move to Roush Yates gained urgency.
“When it became obvious they (Dodge) were going to go in a different direction, then we decided we needed to make sure our commitment was known to Roush Yates.”
Cindric said he’s spoken with Doug Yates about having some of Penske’s people work with Roush Yates. “He’s certainly open-minded to that, depending on what his customer base is and what his R&D budget is,” said Cindric.
So Penske is exploring its options.
“Basically any form of engines for racing … is a possibility, yes,” Cindric said. “Do we have anything now? No.”
As far as the Mooresville operation, Cindric said, “We want to keep the doors open, but I’d be surprised if it’s a NASCAR tier-1 situation, but now is the time to look at those next steps.”
Cindric said the team was disappointed that the Dodge option is gone.
“This isn’t really the way we wanted it to play out short-term,” said Cindric. “We wanted to be able to continue with that group in some way with Dodge and that group. But at the same time, at some point you have to go to the next step.”
Asked if Penske might work directly with whoever the next Dodge Sprint Cup team is, Cindric said, “I would be surprised if we did that as Penske.”
Tom Jensen is the Editor in Chief of SPEED.com, Senior NASCAR Editor at RACER and a contributing Editor for TruckSeries.com. You can follow him online at twitter.com/tomjensen100.