Dodge is leaving NASCAR on a high note. The automaker snagged the 2012 Sprint Cup series championship on Sunday when Penske and Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag at the Ford EcoBoost 400 at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. The championship win marks the fifth such title for Dodge and the company's first since 1975. That last championship victory came at the hands of none other than Richard Petty.

That's a long time, but Penske has been waiting a spell for its first series win, too. The team first entered the NASCAR Sprint Cup series in 1972 but never quite managed to seal the deal. In 1993, Rusty Wallace brought the team as close as it ever came: second place. But after overcoming a few mechanical issues early in the season, Keselowski and Penske stayed consistent enough to see themselves seeded fourth in the Chase. After taking the checkers at Chicagoland, Keselowski became an early favorite for the win, and his performance at Homestead-Miami sealed the deal. Check out the full press release below for more information.
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Brad Keselowski Wins 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship

Owner Roger Penske Also Celebrates As First-Time Series Champion

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2012) – Brad Keselowski won the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship today at Homestead-Miami Speedway, earning owner Roger Penske's first title in NASCAR's premier series.

For owner Penske, the wait that began before Keselowski was born (1984) finally is over. Penske Racing, which entered the NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 1972, ended the longest non-championship streak among current ownership. Penske's best previous finish was second in 1993 with NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Rusty Wallace.

To be the best, Keselowski had to beat the best – Johnson. The pair traded the lead of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup five times, the last on Nov. 11 at Phoenix International Raceway where Keselowski finished sixth and Johnson – the victim of an accident – placed 32nd.

Keselowski's 15th-place finish in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway was all it took to apply the finishing touches to a stellar championship season. Keselowski's championship came in his 125th start, the fewest since Jeff Gordon captured his first of four titles in 1995 in 93 starts.

At age 28, Keselowski is the eighth-youngest competitor to win a first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. Keselowski previously won the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series title, owner Penske's first in NASCAR. He joins Bobby Labonte as the only drivers to win both a NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

After experiencing mechanical problems in two of the first three regular season races, Keselowski's No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge won at Bristol Motor Speedway to begin a steady march toward the top 10. Backed by championship crew chief Paul Wolfe, Keselowski won three times during the regular season and entered the Chase seeded fourth.

A victory at the Chase-opening Chicagoland Speedway race, followed by another at Dover International Speedway, boosted Keselowski from contender to co-favorite with Johnson.

Dodge won its fifth series championship, and first since 1975 with Richard Petty.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Michael Sexton
      • 2 Years Ago
      Better deal with Ford. Why have an engine program when you're the only Dodge Cup team.
        Bill Burke
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Michael Sexton
        To win a championship, which by the way, they did, with Dodge engines.
          George Black
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Bill Burke
          Bill, you seem knowledgeable about things pertaining to Nascar. Do you know where I can get a Nascar style, or Nascar, rear spoiler for a 2013 Charger? You can reach me at georgerblack5 AT yahoo dot com. Thanks, George
      • 2 Years Ago
      Penske left Dodge because Dodge was slow to come up with a deal for next year while Ford jumped up and gave them an offer right away. that Dodge didn't feel it could answer. After that they couldn't find a team that would be able to do the development and support on engines and aero without a lot of help from Dodge so they decided to take a break and see what shakes out in a year or two.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Dodges had zero engine failures this year. Great job by Brad and the team. No Mopars ... no need for me to watch next year....
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sad that FIAT is pulling out Dodge.
        Karl T
        • 2 Years Ago
        They have no choice. Penske was the perfect team- the means and ability to do engine, chassis and aero development work in-house. And there are no Dodge NASCAR engine builders out there now that Penske is leaving. Dodge should have pursued Roush for engine buildiing. They'll develop and build anything.
          Bill Burke
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Karl T
          Petty or Arrington might have worked. Since Penske is buying Ford engines next season. why not buy out their operations lock, stock and barrel ? Not the reason.
        Bill Burke
        • 2 Years Ago
        Fiat is not the reason. If anything Fiat and all the brands at Chrysler Group are behind Dodge in all forms of racing. The reason rests at the feet of Ralph Gilles and his negotiations with Penske.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I never did understand why they considered identifying "brands" of stock cars. Why not just make one uniform body for the cars and leave it at that... I can see the old days when NASCAR first started out and all, but now????
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good to see Chrysler ending the motorsports season on a high note. As I said before, they have won the NHRA Funny Car title, Pro Stock title, and now Sprint Cup. They also got a win in the GRC, not bad for a first year deal, we'll see what they can pull off next year. Also, news just dropped today that Allen Johnson (NHRA Pro Stock champ) just formed a 2 car team with Jeg Coughlin (Team JEGS) and they will provide the motors for one of the best drivers on the circuit replacing the Jegs in house engine program. That's now 3 cars J&J Racing will be powering next year. The other car they power (Vincent Nobile) finished 3rd in the final points this year. Things are looking way up for Mopar in racing.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Brad looked like he had downed quite a few of those Miller Lites in the interview he did on Wind Tunnel. I'm sure he celebrated well into the night.
      Rental Rep
      • 2 Years Ago
      I was lucky enough to meet Keselowski at SEMA this year. Great guy and a great representative for the sport.
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Someone should point out that even the current Mopar NASCAR engine is not based on the current Gen III Hemi, but rather a modified version of the previous LA/Magnum smallblock.....problems with Nascar rules. Dodge dominates NHRA..even if they don't win, they win. Everything out there is a hemi...even if it's a "Toyota" (riiiight). They also do pretty well in the off road truck arena. Australian V8 Supercar racing is coming to the new F1 track in Austin next spring. I'm pretty sure I'm going to check it out. It's MUCH closer to what "stock car" racing should be.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think I missed it. Do we know why Dodge is leaving NASCAR?
        • 2 Years Ago
        Penske is hooked up at the retail level with Ford, GM, Mercedes, etc. Monopolistic competition at it's finest. NASCAR is losing fans and viewers anyhow. Oddly the Charger is the last V8 rear wheel drive car.
          Pj Taintz
          • 2 Years Ago
          the 2013 chevy SS which will be running in NASCAR next year will take over as the only rear wheel V8 car so its not "the last"
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