Racing isn’t just a part of the Mopar history – it’s hard-wired into our DNA.
From the “package cars,” Max Wedge and HEMI Super Stock cars of the 1960s to today’s NHRA championship-winning cars, going fast is something that Mopar knows well.
In the 2013 NHRA season, eight full-time entries are running Mopar power – four each in the NHRA’s Pro Stock and Funny Car classes. And in July, Mopar celebrates its 25th anniversary as the title sponsor for the Mopar Mile High Nationals in Denver.
Here’s a closer look at the classes and some of the Mopar drivers:
It’s easy to pick out the Dodge Avenger Mopar cars in the NHRA Pro Stock class, the cars look pretty similar to street-going counterparts (well, except for that big air scoop on the hood.) But on the track, these cars can crank more than 1,500 hp and blister the quarter-mile in less than 7 seconds.
Driver Allen Johnson claimed the Pro Stock World Championship for Mopar in 2012 in dominating fashion – collecting seven wins from 11 final-round appearances, along with setting career bests for time and speed.
Powered by HEMI engines built by his dad, Roy, Allen Johnson is off to a fast start in 2013, winning trophies at NHRA races in Gainesville, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev., so far this year. On Father’s Day in Bristol, Tenn., Mopar President and CEO Pietro Gorlier presented Roy and Allen Johnson with the Mopar President’s Award, honoring them for their years of dedication to the Mopar brand.
Running neck-and-neck with Allen Johnson in Pro Stock this season is teammate and four-time champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., who just edged Johnson to claim the trophy at the NHRA meet in Kansas in May. It was Coughlin’s first NHRA win in more than two years.
As of mid-June, Johnson and Coughlin were tied for second place in the Pro Stock standings.
Also driving Dodge Avengers and HEMI engines in the Pro Stock class this year are Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines.
Taking a step up in power and speed is the Funny Car class, where fiberglass bodies cover the massive engines and giant rear tires.
Flying the Mopar flag in Funny Car is Matt Hagan, who drives the “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Charger R/T for Don Schumacher Racing.
Hagan claimed the 2011 Funny Car championship but struggled in 2012. But he has rediscovered his winning ways this year, taking the trophy at races at Charlotte, N.C., and Englishtown, N.J., so far this year. That performance has him at the top of the points standings in Funny Car as of mid-June.
What’s more, Hagan’s HEMI-powered teammates at Don Schumacher Racing – Johnny Gray, Jack Beckman and Ron Capps – all currently hold top-five positions in the championship standings.
And there’s more: Mopar backs the NHRA’s Sportsman Class drag racing with the Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge program, as well as the Drag Pak program for a factory-built drag race car. But that’s a story for another post.
So, who are you rooting for? Will the Allen Johnson-Jeg Coughlin Jr. battle go down to the last race of the season? And will Matt Hagan keep his championship-winning form? The only way to find out is to keep watching the races. Isn’t that a “drag”?