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After the success of the Charger Daytona (and the third gen Charger after it), it would be easy to assume that Dodge would keep on winning in NASCAR. And the Magnum, introduced in 1978, looked like it would continue that trend. But Chrysler was no longer helping develop the 360 cubic inch (5.9LV8 for racing by this time, and the Magnum was extremely unstable in traffic. Before the ’78 season ended, Dodge’s two remaining star factory drivers, Richard Petty and Neil Bonnett, jumped ship to GM, leaving independents to carry the flag for Mother Mopar until it disappeared altogehter from the then-Winston Cup Series in the early ’80s, not to return until 2001.

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