Dodge To Lose A Leader

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Lou Patane, vice president of motorsports for Daimler Chrysler, will retire from his position during the 2001 season, the same year Dodge will make its return to the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.

Patane’s retirement is strictly voluntary, says Dodge spokesperson Debby Robinson, and has nothing to do with the expanded role of Daimler’s European connections.

“He’s looking to open a car dealership somewhere in the Charlotte area,“ Robinson says. “He wants to bring his family into it so it will be a family business. He’s moving to the Charlotte area the first of the year and will continue to work as a consultant with the company for a while.”

Patane, who joined the company in 1994 after running auto dealerships in Arizona, spearheaded Dodge’s return to Winston Cup racing and had directed every aspect of the development of the new Intrepid, set to debut at the Daytona 500 in February.

Five teams and 10 drivers will pilot Intrepids on the 2001 Winston Cup Series, marking Chrysler’s return to NASCAR’s top division after leaving the sport more than 15 years ago.

“This doesn’t change the motorsports program for next year with Winston Cup as it stands right now,” Robinson says.

It’s unclear if Patane will be replaced, or if the position will be phased out by DaimlerChrysler.

DaimlerChrysler’s Motorsports division includes teams in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Winston Cup Series, Busch Series, World of Outlaws, IHRA, NHRA, and the 24 Hours of LeMans.

Related Topics:

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2000

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