Bob Riggle's Hurst Hemi Under Glass rears back and wows the crowd.
March 28-30 saw the return of Mopars to the Las Vegas area with the inaugural Mopars at the Strip show. Organized by local dealership owner Phil Painter, the show brought over 400 cars to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mopar fans from every state but Hawaii, all over Canada, and six other countries proved there was a real need for a show out West. "I had been going to the Nats since 1988 because there was nothing big out here," Painter said. "I was surprised by the [attendance] numbers, but it showed there was a pent-up demand. Now we get to fine-tune. The good thing is the things we need to fix are simple to fix."
The show cars competed in over 40 judged classes, while the racers battled it out in eight categories. Of course, Mopar Muscle was interested in the cars that could do both, and kicked off the show Friday morning with the Mopar Muscle True Street Challenge. In the evenings, The Cannery Hotel and Casino hosted cruise-ins with food and live music. Friday night, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway held its regular Midnight Madness races, as the Mopars mingled with a mixture of licensed racecars and street-legal challengers, and anything else that showed up to run.
Action at the dragstrip stayed hot all weekend. Johnny Gilbert of Hesperia, California, drove his '91 Daytona to a 9.564 at 139.13 mph to capture the weekend's biggest prize, edging out John Britton for the Quick 16 championship. In addition to the race classes, the dragstrip was the stage for some special guest exhibition passes. Bob Riggle's Hurst Hemi Under Glass reared back and wowed the crowd, while the McDonald's Coca-Cola Nostalgic Race Team appeared for the first time with all three if its cars completed.
The manufacturer's midway and swap meet areas afforded guests at Mopars at the Strip a wide variety of new and used parts, as well as plenty of other goodies, from clothing to toys to books. Editor Bolig couldn't resist making a few passes up and down the swap meet, and picked up some much-needed rubber for Project Valiant Effort from Tom Race's R/T Specialties.
"We had more vendors than I thought we would," Painter said. "Indy Cylinder Heads was on board from the beginning, and that brought us a lot of credibility.
"Most of the [attendees] I talked to were just glad to have a show. They knew that even though it was a first-year show, they had to support it from the beginning to continue to have one out here."
Mopars at the Strip Complete Race Results
Super Pro Winner: Randy Holly (Las Vegas) '73 Barracuda 11.959 sec./119.59 mph Runner-up: Richard Nedbal (Morgan Hills, Calif.) '64 Plymouth 10.982 sec./137.23 mph
Slant Six Winner: Romeo Furio (Boulder City) '67 Dart 16.895 sec./78.95 mph Runner-up: Steve Magnante (El Monte, Calif.) '62 Valiant 15.724 sec./84.71 mph
Stock/Super Stock Winner: Glenn Person (Regina, Sask., Canada) 11.514 sec./110.81 mph Runner-up: Earl Blake (Las Vegas) '68 Barracuda 11.633 sec./112.60 mph
Pro Winner: Chris Thompson (Costa Mesa, Calif.) '70 Swinger 12.327 sec./103.63 mph Runner-up: Anthony Hickman (Northridge, Calif.) '73 Duster 12.215 sec./108.36 mph
Quick 16 Winner: Johnny Gilbert (Hesperia, Calif.) '91 Daytona 9.564 sec./139.13 mph Runner-up: John Britton (Hastings, Neb.) '33 Wedge Roadster 8.690 sec./158 mph
Front Wheel Drive Winner: Dempsey Bowling (Orem, Utah) '89 Caravan 14.642 sec./89.77 mph Runner-up: Mark Spencer (Provo, Utah) '89 Daytona 14.610 sec./95.73 mph
Trophy Winner: Mark Beavin (Mesa, Ariz.) '02 Startus 18.557 sec./75.33 mph Runner-up: Kelly Painter (Mesa, Ariz.) '69 Roadrunner 12.263 sec./114.09 mph
Trucks Winner: Phil Ross (Lebec, Calif.) '99 Dakota 15.743 sec./86.34 mph Runner-up: Bill Dudley (Las Vegas) '91 Dakota 18.111 sec./69.26 mph
John Galambos and Jennifer Sheley go nose-to-nose on the strip.
It was a relatively new concept for us. It was a chance for us to get involved with the readers of Mopar Muscle by getting them involved with their cars. We decided to pick 11 cars that were entered in the Mopars at the Strip show and see just how far some people were willing to go with their cars. At the registration deadline, we had received 47 entries into the first (hopefully annual) Mopar Muscle True Street Challenge.
One thing we did not want in this competition were gussied up, quote-unquote street cars that run mid-eight-second quarter-mile times. Let's face it, how many guys with blown, alcohol-ingesting 600-cubic inch engines actually use their cars to go get groceries? What we were looking for were nice-looking, comfortable cars that could drive into town and then run a respectable e.t. at the track. By respectable, an 11-second car would be fast. The plan was to not present any one car as better than the rest. The drivers weren't competing against each other, but rather against the challenge we put before them. We were going to let each car stand on its own merits, and let the points fall where they may.
A small miscommunication in directions made the driving portion cover about 45 miles, and we hadn't planned to cover the gritty pavement and traffic of downtown Las Vegas, but our True Street crew was up to the task. They all handled it well and eventually, we got to the newly paved open road. They proved their cars are true street cars. So, here they are, the 11 charter members of the Mopar Muscle True Street Challenge. For more details about the performance of these cars, check out the complete True Street Challenge coverage in the September issue of Mopar Muscle.
A resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Steve Alderete brought his '70 440-powered Six-Pack
Jeff Delzer's '70 T/A Challenger was restored to stock specs.
Jessie Fillingame's 440-powered '69 'Cuda took First Place in A-Body stock during the show
Bob Gobble did the truckin' crowd proud with his '65 A-100.
John Galambos of Orange, California, brought his '66 Charger.
John Huff's 'Cuda spent most of the weekend on the trailer after John broke a sparkplug on
They never made a Six-Pack-inducted small-block with A/C. But, firefighter Dennis Lowder o
Bill and Mary Sue Pharr drove their Limelight '70 'Cuda from Rocklin, California.
Anaheim's Jennifer Sheley entered her '68 Charger with a '74 440.
Quite possibly the nicest car in our challenge was Jim Spetzman's '69 1/2 Bee.
Henderson, Nevada, local Ken Westcott, and his 14-year-old son, Allen, came with Ken's '70
Mopars at the Strip Show and Shine Competition Results
A-Body Stock (Plymouth) First: Jessie Fillingame; '69 'Cuda 440 Second: Roy Pearce; '71 Duster Third: Tony Longo; '67 'Cuda
A-Body Stock (Dodge) First: Don Lewis; '69 Dart GTS Second: Rick Lacy; '67 Dart GT
A-Body Modified (Plymouth) First: Michael Pollard; '68 Plymouth Second: Larry Oberman; '68 'Cuda Third: Gary Coon; '68 'Cuda
A-Body Modified (Dodge) First: Ronald Silva; '71 Demon Second: Robert Steinwachs; '64 Dart GT Third: Bruce Wilson; '72 Dart Swinger
B-Body '62-'67 Stock First: Rodger Hunter; '64 33 post Second: Bob Matthews; '64 Belvedere Third: Frank Lampkin; '67 Coronet
B-Body Modified '62-'67 (Plymouth) First: Randy Palmer; '64 Belvedere I Second: Don Kerns; '64 440 Third: Karen Intemann; '63 330
B-Body Modified '62-'67 (Dodge) First: Rick Vieths; '67 Coronet Second: Bob Jones; '67 Charger Third: Corby Martens; '67 Coronet
B-Body Stock '68-'70 (Plymouth) First: Jim Collins; '70 Road Runner Second: John Bottorff; '69 Road Runner Third: Gene Werst; '69 Road Runner
B-Body Stock '68-'70 (Dodge) First: Peter Swainson; '70 Charger R/T Second: Jim Spetzman; '691/2 Super Bee Third: Matthew Chapman: '69 Charger
B-Body Modified '68-'70 (Plymouth) First: Zeke Ballinger; '69 Road Runner Second: D.J. Vargus; '69 Road Runner Third: Norm Barringer; '68 Road Runner
B-Body Modified '68-'70 (Dodge) First: Tom Garcia; '70 Charger Second: Dean Christofferson; '69 Charger Third: Don Almeido; '68 Charger R/T
B-Body Stock '71-Newer First: Ken Machynia; '71 Satellite Sebring Second: Kori Alexander; '71 Charger R/T Third: David Williams; '72 Charger
B-Body Modified '71-Newer First: Robert Bencsko; '71 Charger Super Bee
B-Body Hemi (Stock only) First: Roger Sorenson; '68 Hemi Dodge
Superbird/Daytona First: Jim & Delma McCauley; '69 Daytona Charger Second: Kim Fredrick; '70 Superbird
C-Body Stock First: Charlie Backes; '68 Polara
E-Body Stock '70-'71 (Plymouth) First: Barry Boyles; '71 'Cuda Second: Steve Alderette; '70 440 'Cuda Third: John Barrett; '71 'Cuda
E-Body Stock '70-'71 (Dodge) First: Jim Klovias; '70 Challenger R/T Second: Bradley Peters; '70 Challenger Third: D.J. Vargus '70 Challenger T/A
E-Body Modified '70-'71 (Plymouth) First: Bill & Mary Sue Pharr; '70 'Cuda Second: Steve Vucovich '70 'Cuda Third: Dalin Larsen; '71 'Cuda
E-Body Modified '70-'71 (Dodge) First: Mark Yates; '70 Challenger Second: Adam Rennecker; '71 Challenger Third: Dave Poulsen; '70 Challenger
E-Body Stock '72-'74 First: Steve & Jean Weber; '72 'Cuda
E-Body Modified '72-'74 First: Don Almeido; '74 'Cuda
Front Wheel Drive First: Robin Claus; '93 LeBaron Second: Jaron Larsen; '92 Stealth
Antique Stock '61-Earlier First: Greg Childs; '57 Royale
Chrysler 300 First: Brian Scott; '61 300G Second: Gene & Audrey Barrett; '57 300C Third: Cecil Moore; '61 300G
Trucks Pre-'94 First: Sam & Kerry Kontges; '78 Lil' Red Express First: Marc Burwell; '91 Sub Ram (custom) Second: Tim Irving; '89 Shelby Convertible Third: John Teas; '70 D-200
Ram Stock '94-Later First: Patrick Cone; '03 1500 Second: Mike Wieberg; '02 Ram
Dakota Stock First: Steve West; '01 Dakota
Dakota Modified First: Ronnie Collins; '00 Dakota R/T Second: Steve Feiler; '01 Dakota
Viper First: Caarlos Maestas; '99 Viper
Pro Street First: Steve Olivera; '70 'Cuda Second; Greg Fernald; '65 AFX
Race Cars First: Jim Godec; '33 Willys
Street Rod First: LeRoy Anderson; '34 2dr. Sedan Second: John Beale; '33 Plymouth
Daily Driver (Stock) First: Thomas Painter; '65 Dart GT
Daily Driver (Modified) First: Kelly Frankenberry; '70 Charger Second: Dave Teller; '70 'Cuda
AMC Stock First: Dewayne Ashmead; '70 AMX
Unclassified Stock First: Bob Smock; '65 Dart Charger
Unclassified Modified First: Dave Hartranft; '50 Plymouth Second: Steve Barsuk; '55 Plymouth Savoy Third: David Henriksen; '72 Monaco Wagon
PT Cruiser First: Sandy Tiedeman; '03 GT Turbo
Best of Show (A-Body Stock) Jessie Fillingame; '69 'Cuda 440
Best of Show (A-Body Modified) Ronald Silva; '71 Demon
Best of Show (B-Body Stock) Rodger Hunter; '64 330 Post
Best of Show (B-Body Modified) Randy Palmer; '65 Belvedere I
Best of Show (C-Body Stock) Charlie Backes; '68 Polara
Best of Show (E-Body Stock) Barry Boyles; '71 Hemi 'Cuda
Best of Show (E-Body Modified) Mark Yates; '70 Challenger
Best of Show (Truck) Marc Burwell; '71 Sub Ram Custom
Mopar Performance Pick Barry Boyles; '71 Hemi 'Cuda
Popular Choice Bob Matthews; '64 Belvedere
Best-Looking Race Car Tom Skjonsberg; '70 Hemi 'Cuda