Dodge says goodbye, gets ultimate parting gift

Associated Press Modified: November 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm •  Published: November 18, 2012
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It sure seemed that way when Keselowski did smoky burnouts after the race, hoisted the trophy in Victory Lane and then started rounds and round of interviews while getting "a little buzzed" on Miller Lite, his sponsor.

Dodge hasn't ruled out returning to NASCAR, possibly in the second-tier Nationwide Series or maybe even in the Cup Series.

There has been speculation that Richard Childress Racing might be in the market for another engine builder. Earnhardt Ganassi Racing decided to lease motors from Hendrick Motorsports starting next season. The move was surprising considering Earnhardt-Childress Racing was formed as a joint engine-building effort between Earnhardt Ganassi and Richard Childress.

"I'm not ignorant to that," Gilles said. "I'm going to watch every race next year. I'm very interested in what's going on in NASCAR."

But if Dodge does decide to rejoin NASCAR, Gilles said it would have to be a situation similar to what the company had with Penske.

"It's very difficult to replicate the Penske situation," Gilles said. "What a team! Nothing but respect for Roger's professionalism, his attention to detail. I think he's brought a formula to the sport that others are probably going to have to start emulating because he's really done a lot with very little. Of course, he's got great resources, but it's laser focus."

Penske will begin a five-year deal with Ford in 2013, with Keselowski and Joey Logano driving for the two-car team.

Given what Penske did in 2012 — especially with the championship — no one will question whether the two-car team will be able to compete with larger organizations.

"It's not how much you put into a race team," Penske said. 'It's about the people."

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