Sources close to NASCAR and Chrysler say the Charger is not far from leaving the NASCAR world.

After being a mainstay of NASCAR for many years (who could forget the Petty Blue 43 cars? The  winged Dodge Daytona? Richard and Lee Petty?  David Pearson? And Buddy Baker, the first driver to ever exceed the 200 mph mark?) Dodge-Chrysler's presence might end at the conclusion of the 2012 season, sources say.

Dodge-Chrysler originally left NASCAR in 1977 and left the racing up to Ford and GM (Chevrolet, Pontiac). Then at the end of the 2003 season, GM announced it was pulling Pontiac out of NASCAR (in our opinion, the Grand Prix was one of the coolest looking stock cars ever!). That left the Thunderbird, and later the Taurus, for Ford after the Lumina, then the Monte Carlo, and now the Impala to do battle. The arrival of Toyota sparked things up a bit and created some controversy because they are a "foreign" manufacturer even though models sold in the U.S. have American-made parts and the factories employ more American workers than Daimler-Chrysler, the parent company of Dodge.

Then in 2001, Dodge triumphantly announced it was returning to NASCAR, and did so with the Intrepid. This season runs the Charger.

Sources say they do not know why Dodge is reportedly making the decision, but a press conference has been announced for Aug. 7 to officially convey the withdrawal.

Gee, maybe it has to do with the fact that despite their claims of having the best year ever, Chrysler is still suffering from the ill-advised bailout? If indeed it happens, it would not be completely surprising. Several Dodge teams have now switched to Ford or Chevrolet, most notably Roger Penske in the No. 2 Miller and No. 22 Discount Tire cars. "The Captain," as they call Penske, has always been a Dodge mainstay since their return, and was considered the factory team for Dodge. He will be running Fords next year.

Ironically, Dodge has also been issuing press information about the "new" Charger they will reportedly be racing in 2013.

Why do you think Dodge is leaving NASCAR?  Take our poll:

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