Dodge gets green light from NASCAR

Dodge's return to the NASCAR Winston Cup has been rubber-stamped with the approval of its engine for 2001

Dodge gets green light from NASCAR

Five teams will use the Intrepid R/T model next season - Evernham Motorsports, Melling Racing, Bill Davis Racing, Petty Enterprises and Ganassi Racing - with star names like Bill Elliot and Ward Burton among the driving strength. Team boss and development leader Ray Evernham, the man behind Jeff Gordon's many title successes with Chevrolet in recent years, has been a central figure behind the new Intrepid.

"We are now one step closer to the green flag," he said. "With our engine and body approved, the teams can now focus on building and testing their cars for next season. We still have a lot of work to do. We learned a lot in our recent test at Talladega and need to put that information to work to make sure we bring the right race car to Daytona next February."

The 358ci V8 Dodge Magnum unit was designed from scratch this year, and all aspects of its block and internals had to be approved.

"The teams have asked us for three things," said project manager Tim Culbertson. "Lots of power, durability and low-cost operation. With this engine we've given them just that - a reliable engine that has the horsepower to win."

Initial testing has been promising, and Dodge now has just over 100 days until the first race of the 2001 season, the Daytona 500 in February.

"We've had great initial results from the engine during more than 3,000 miles of testing," said Dodge's Lou Pantane. "Now we can continue developing the performance of the engine and work with our five teams to get these engines ready for competition."

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