Bogner Is Best Appearing-The father and son team of Marlin and David Bogner turned heads in Super Stock racing during NHRA's Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals with their innovative '99 Dodge Avenger. The team had a successful event outing, first winning their GT/FA class, then being voted recipients of the event's prestigious "Best Appearing Car" award. Driver David Bogner followed that award with a superb late-round finish in Sunday's final eliminations. The team's award-winning Avenger was acquired last season from Louisiana's Sonny Stancil, and uses a Bogner Automotive 340 cid low compression engine and a 904 automatic transmission. Bob Mazzolini provides valuable associate sponsorship.
Future Vision-Mopar factory team officials revealed during the NHRA Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals event plans to field Hemi-powered '03 Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock cars beginning next season. The choice of the Stratus R/T is designed to more closely align the consumer with the showroom on a current basis. Presently, NHRA Mopar Pro Stock teams run what is technically a '99 body style with their Neon R/Ts. That was the last year DaimlerChrysler produced the Neon as a two-door, and to stay within NHRA's rulebook, the cars are designated as such. DaimlerChrysler engineers are already at work designing the car, which is anticipated to have a slightly longer wheelbase than the current Neon. The cars are also expected to spend a lot of time in the wind tunnel. Look for Mopar team owners David Nickens and Larry Morgan to be the first kids on the block with the new toys beginning at Pomona in February.
Legend Mancini to IHRA Top Stock-Ron Mancini, one of the most famous names in Mopar's drag racing annuls, returned to competition this summer on the IHRA Hooters Drag Racing Series trail. With his oldest son Jeff, the legendary racer was a surprise name on the entry list for Top Stock eliminator during the IHRA's Carquest Northern Nationals held in Michigan during August. Ron Mancini was behind the wheel of a classic-looking '68 Dodge Dart, which was painted to resemble his first Hemi-powered Super Stock car.
"The whole idea was my son's," said Ron. "He wanted to clone my original car. We had planned on putting a Hemi in it, but then we got wind of what IHRA was doing with their Top Stock eliminator, so we thought we would go there instead. We like the heads-up/no breakout aspect of the Top Stock class."
The Mancini's debut at the event was the first time the car had seen competition. Despite that, they were awarded the event's "Best Appearing Sportsman Car," thanks largely to a terrific scheme applied by Greg Mancini (Auto Crafters; Oxford, Mississippi). Power comes from a 360 Dodge crate engine which is rated at 380 hp. The team uses factory aluminum Magnum heads and an M-1 manifold. The car weighs in at 2,925 pounds with Mancini in the cockpit, and is manually shifted using a McLeod clutch and Jerico four-speed transmission.
Mancini, who had four national event wins to his credit while racing his famous machines during the '70s, retired from drag racing after a serious incident in 1976 when he crashed his Modified eliminator car at Indianapolis. That incident proved to be instrumental in helping NHRA develop the now-mandatory window safety nets. Mancini was coaxed out of retirement in the early '90s, and has since been actively participating on the popular North American Nostalgia drag racing circuit. He was the Pro Nostalgia National Champion in 1998, racing a B-1-powered car.