December 13, 2010

Dodge signs Carey Hart to a 3-year Supercross deal

In a positive but strange development, American car manufacturer Dodge has finally decided to get into supercross racing... and they turned to Carey Hart, the former racer and freestyler most well-known for being the first to huck and (sorta) land a backflip in televised competition, to bring them to the big dance.   According to this weirdly-worded PR blurb (thanks Racer X!), Dodge is committing to support the Hart and Huntington team for the next three years, leaning on Hart to bring "...his vast riding skills and marketing prowess to Chrysler Group’s performance vehicle brand."   

Oh really?  So where's the beef?  For 2011, Hart and Huntington have hired national number 9 and two-time regional supercross champion Ivan Tedesco, as well as one guy who was briefly tied for the lead in the 2010 Supercross series, Josh Hill.  They also have Chris Blose, who has shown some promise on the 250cc machines but has yet to make any noise on the 450cc bikes that H&H will campaign next year.   The team will compete on Kawasaki motorcycles. [Correction:  Blose finished 13th overall in 450cc Supercross in 2010, finishing as high as 6th place (Indy).  My bad, Chris!]

So let's see... in the past, MX and SX have seen Toyota, Mazda and Chevy Trucks pump in big sponsorship dollars in order to parade their wares in front of the race-going and -watching public, usually jumping in the deep end by either sponsoring the whole series (Toyota), or the series champion (Chevy, Mazda).  I'm glad that Chrysler Group has decided to pay our sport a little homage with a little fromage (excusez-moi), but I am curious why they decided to go with H&H instead of bigger names with better podium potential.  In truth, the way the press release reads, it seems Dodge is not particularly interested in winning, but simply seeking "...a significant at-track presence at major Supercross events throughout 2011. Dodge logos will appear on all team assets including haulers, motorcycles, tents, team personnel uniforms, athlete’s equipment and riding apparel, and all Hart and Huntington custom branded team vehicles, including the all-new 2011 Dodge Durango, all-new Dodge Charger and the new Dodge Challenger."

In any case, considering the competition this lineup will face, I do not expect them to be a factor in the title race, but I will be disappointed if they don't use the H&H logo with the word "Hemi" somehow.

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