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News of  May 05, 2000


Dodge Intrepid R/T NASCAR Winston
Cup race car test at Homestead Miami Speedway, May 2, 2000


Dodge Return To Nascar Winston Cup Racing Passes Key Milestone With First On-Track Test Laps

Homestead FL - The clicking and whirring of news cameras was quickly drowned out when the engine came to life with a throaty roar. Moments later the primer-gray Dodge Intrepid R/T race car began to roll out of the garage area at Homestead Miami Speedway. As the car made its way onto the track, a new page of racing history was written as Dodge once again prepared for NASCAR Winston Cup racing.

Dodge Intrepid R/T

Photo: DaimlerChrysler

Highly successful in drag, endurance, touring and truck racing, Dodge has been absent from the Winston Cup Series for more than two decades. Today's inaugural on-track test session follows the decision announced last October that Dodge will return to NASCAR's top stock car series at the Daytona 500 in 2001.

"Seeing the Dodge Intrepid R/T on the track for the first time was an emotional moment for me," said Lou Patane, Vice President, Dodge Motorsports Operations and Mopar Performance Parts.

"When you start a program and grow it from its infancy to a point where it becomes a reality, it does touch you emotionally," he said. "And when I see the effort all the people put in from the team side and from the company side to get us to this milestone – and this is only one of many milestones we will accomplish – it does give you a special feeling."

Witnessing the event with Patane were more than a dozen Dodge dealers, representing their 3,000 colleagues across North America, and officials of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union. The dealers will be the primary sponsors of two of the seven Dodge Intrepid R/T race cars scheduled to compete in Winston Cup racing next year.

The UAW National Training Center is an associate sponsor of the Evernham Motorsports cars.

Test driver Kyle Petty also admitted that emotions were high today as the Dodge and Petty names came together again in a Winston Cup program. The wins of Petty's father and late grandfather, Richard and Lee, respectively, comprised a large portion of Dodge's 160 Winston Cup victories.

In addition to his driving duties, Petty is chief executive officer of Petty Enterprises, one of three teams that have announced they will race with Dodge Intrepid R/Ts in 2001. The others are Evernham Motorsports and Bill Davis Racing. All three teams were present at the track today with Dodge engineers. All are sharing the information being gathered.

Leading the Dodge development effort is champion crew chief and team owner Ray Evernham. Bill Davis, owner of Bill Davis Racing, echoed Evernham's comments about speed not being the critical factor. Dodge officials and the team owners commented repeatedly about the all of the various entities operating as combined Dodge operation.When the Dodge Test Car is put back in the hauler tonight, there will be 291 days left to prepare for the Daytona 500 in 2001.

(May 3, 2000)


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