Dodge's WC Return Driven by CT Success

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 11, 2000 - As Dodge prepares for its historic return to NASCAR Winston Cup Racing at Daytona in 2001, they are the first to admit that the success they've had in the 1999 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) -- four wins,...

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Feb. 11, 2000 - As Dodge prepares for its historic return to NASCAR Winston Cup Racing at Daytona in 2001, they are the first to admit that the success they've had in the 1999 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) -- four wins, 10 poles and 77 top-10 finishes - was a prime consideration in the decision to go Winston Cup racing. "Clearly, our success in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series was our springboard to developing the product, personnel and testing programs that will help us field a competitive Winston Cup effort from the start," said Jim Julow, Vice President, Dodge Division. Dodge's game plan when they entered the NCTS was to create an environment where race teams would work side-by-side with Dodge engineers. This "platform team" approach - an integral part of the company's corporate, brand and product development processes - meant that representatives from motorsports operations, engineering, scientific testing labs, teams, marketing, public relations and sponsors worked together as a virtual extended enterprise, just like DaimlerChrysler's production vehicle platform teams. The biggest obstacle the platform team faced was to catch up to General Motors and Ford, who already had one year of NCTS racing under their belts. "We had to figure out ways to do things quickly without cutting corners," said Bob Wildberger, Senior Manager NASCAR Operations. "We wanted our engineers to work more closely with our teams, and our teams working more closely with each other. Ultimately, we knew that it was those relationships, as well as relationships formed with our Dodge dealers, that would be the foundation of our Winston Cup program." Teamwork off the track has been vital in developing marketing programs with Dodge dealers around the country. "Through our sponsorship of events in Homestead, Bakersfield and St. Louis, extensive hospitality programs and honorary pit crew programs, our Dodge dealers have experienced first-hand the commitment Dodge puts behind the truck series. We wanted to find a way to link up that relationship with the Winston Cup program," said Wildberger, "and it led to a major commitment by more than 3,000 Dodge dealers to support Dodge's Winston Cup program. The chemistry that exists in our Dodge truck program is what Dodge wants to bring to the Winston Cup program."

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Series NASCAR Cup