Update: While it appears that Ralph Gilles did speak with Ray on this topic, there was a misunderstanding as to the context. Mr. Gilles appears to have been referring to why Dodge pulled out of NASCAR, and was essentially saying that it was not a funding issue — the funding had been approved, but there were other issues.
A Chrysler spokesman wrote, “Chrysler Group’s decision to leave NASCAR competition at the end of the 2012 season was based solely on not being able to develop the correct structure to fit our overall business and competitive objectives.” At the time Chrysler withdrew, Mr. Gilles said that Penske had offered a “one-stop shop” for engines, drivers, and sponsors that could not be replaced in a way that would allow SRT to race at the level that was desired, in the time available.
Ray Alexander, on hand for the LX-centric Spring Festival 8, reported that Ralph Gilles told him that NASCAR funding has been approved, and that Chrysler is talking to teams. [See “update” above; this does not imply that funding for a new NASCAR run has been approved, but appears to relate to the current year.]
Last month, Mr. Gilles told Allpar in New York, in answer to a question about NASCAR, “Oh my God, I can’t talk about that right now. No comment on that.”
Chrysler’s return to NASCAR presumably remains contingent on being able to sign up competitive drivers and support crew (e.g. car and engine builders). NASCAR racing is highly competitive on the technical side, with unique requirements. Chrysler’s budget in 2012 was reportedly $45 million, or $27 per car sold in the United States (including Jeeps and Rams).
For more, see Ray’s Spring Festival coverage.