CHARLOTTE, N.C., N.C., March 1 (UPI) -- Penske Racing owner Roger Penske Thursday announced his team is returning to Ford for the 2013 NASCAR season.
Penske raced Fords from 1994 through 2002 and switched to Dodge in 2003, NASCAR said. ESPN reported Penske's teams would race Ford Fusions in the Spring Cup Series and Ford Mustangs in the Nationwide Series beginning next spring.
Penske thanked Dodge for its 10-year partnership with Penske Racing and said "our teams are committed to produce wins and championships with Dodge this season."
The switch came as a surprise at NASCAR since Penske played a large role in development of the 2013 Dodge Charger race car set to debut at the Las Vegas Speedway March 11. Penske Racing, with young drivers Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendinger, and owner-driver Roby Gordon were the only Dodge teams in the Sprint Cup Series.
"We look forward to rejoining the Ford Racing NASCAR program beginning in 2013. We appreciate the long-term commitment that Ford has made to Penske Racing and for their continued support of the sport," Penske said in a statement.
Mark Fields, Ford Motor Co. president of The Americas, told ESPN Ford was "thrilled" to have Penske Racing back.