Dodge executive announces retirement
By Tim Packman
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Dec. 18, 2000) Lou Patane, vice president of motorsports operations for Dodge, will retire during the 2001 NASCAR season. An integral member of the Dodge motorsports program has announced his retirement. Lou Patane, vice president of motorsports operations for Dodge, will be leaving his position sometime during the 2001 NASCAR season. He will remain actively involved with the manufacturer's return to NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing until a replacement is named.
He has been the lead man in the DaimlerChrysler-owned company's return to NWCS competition supervising everything from the templates to the motors for the Dodge Intrepid. Prior to his hiring with Dodge in 1994, he operated dealerships in Ariz. and would like to return to his retail roots.
He will remain as a consultant for Dodge and assist its teams as they get ready for next season. Mike Rosen, senior manager, product public relations for Dodge, said that Patane has served the company well, and will continue to do so for awhile.
"A majority of the leadership role from Dodge, as far as setting up the teams and getting approval from NASCAR, is almost over," Rosen said. "Lou will be with the teams in Daytona and through the first months of the season for the last bit of help."
Rosen also said that Patane's move has nothing to do with recent financial losses by Dodge's parent company and that Dodge is not backing off from its financial commitment to the motorsports program. The manufacturer will have five teams, with a total of 10 drivers, competing in its Intrepid.
The move was a voluntary one on Patane's part and he just wanted the employees and NASCAR teams to know what his intentions were well in advance.
"He has expressed a desire to get back into the retail side of the business and wants to open a dealership with his family," Rosen said. "The Charlotte area is the base for motorsports and our focus is there now as well. With Lou moving there to continue working with the teams, he can also get started on his business venture." -nascar.com-