Survivor-North CarolinaMopar drag racers earned two significant wins during late '04 season action on the IHRA Hooters Drag Racing trail. Sportsman drivers, Joe Baker and Eddie Bolton, earned top honors in their classes during the prestigious ACCEL Survivor Series Shootout held in conjunction with the season-ending IHRA World Finals at Rockingham Dragway.
Baker, from Milton, Florida, scored what was arguably the biggest win of his career when he took the ACCEL Top Sportsman Shootout, driving his Dodge Neon that was formally campaigned in Pro Stock by Rick Jones. The car featured an all-new 596ci engine by Muscle Motors, and the event was only Baker's second time out with that new motor configuration. Baker secured his title when his final round 6.953 (6.92 dial in) prevailed over Jerry Young, who broke out.
Bolton's victory came in the ACCEL Stock eliminator category, driving a 360 CID H/CM '73 Dodge Dart that is normally run by his wife Lisa. Bolton, a former IHRA World Champion in the Hot Rod (10.90) class, ran right on his 11.39 dial in the championship final round to trailer his opponent Nick Folk
Major Mopar ManeuverIn a rather monstrous development within NHRA's Pro Stock circles, three-time former World Champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. has aligned himself with Schumacher Racing and Mopar for 2005. Jeg Jr. drove his Cavalier to NHRA's Pro Stock World Championship titles in both 2000 and 2002. This after winning the overall Sportsman title in Super Gas in 1992. He will field an all-new '05 Dodge Stratus next season. That effort will include a Mopar-factory-backed Hemi engine program that will be overseen by legendary class icon Bob Glidden. The switch of brands to Dodge for Coughlin had been rumored for quite some time and was fuelled by Jeg's big win at the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indy last September. At that event, Jeg prevailed in the Mopar-sponsored Super Stock Hemi Challenge, driving the SS/AA car owned by Californians, Harry Holton and Michael Ogburn. Coughlin credited the switch to his desire to make another run at being No. 1 in the world. By aligning his race team with Don Schumacher Racing, Coughlin will benefit from Schumacher's alliance with DaimlerChrysler, Dodge, and Mopar Parts and their research and development departments.
"We couldn't be more excited," Coughlin said. "We've all seen the success Don has experienced in the other three professional categories, and he's eager to make a mark in Pro Stock as well. He's assembled an awesome team, and I fully expect us to contend for the championship from the start of the season."
The partnership between Ohio-based Jeg's Mail Order and Don Schumacher Racing will also include associate-level signage on all of the team's vehicles, including the U.S. Army Top Fuel dragster of new champion Tony Schumacher, the HEMI-powered Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car of Gary Scelzi, and the Matco Tools Dodge Stratus R/T Funny Car of Whit Bazemore.
"The Hemi engine is synonymous with high performance," Coughlin said. "We've all seen the success the Mopar drivers have had since the Hemi was reintroduced a few years ago, as well as the very competitive design of the Dodge Stratus R/T."
Coughlin began his new chapter in drag racing with a mid-December test session in Florida after an official unveiling during the P.R.I. show at Indianapolis. His new Dodge will make its official competition debut during NHRA's '05 season-opening event at Pomona, California, in February.
EventsFebruary 26-Columbus, OH: Winter Chrysler Classic at the Ohio Expo Center, Buckeye Building. The Buckeye Building is a well-lit, heated facility, and features polished concrete floors, food concessions, and large restrooms. Info: (614) 268-1181; www.classicevents.com.
February 26-27-Moticello, Iowa: The 36th Annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Rod and Custom Car Show at the Moticello Berndes Center. Features will be a new selection of Street Rods, Customs, Motorcycles, Street Machines, Pickups and Race Cars in competition for Budweiser Trophies and Hardee's Cash Awards. Info: Galen Muller, 853 Southhaven Dr., Moticello, Iowa, 52310, (319) 465-5119 or (319) 465-5380; www.rodandcustomcarshow.com
March 6-Hollywood, FL: 17th annual Florida Mopar Nationals. All Mopar and AMC car show and swap meet sponsored by Eddie Accardi Chrysler-Jeep/ Dodge and the Florida Mopar Connection car club. Info: (954) 920-7096; email@example.com
March 12-13-Tampa, FL: Westcoast Mopar Club presents the 16th Annual Car Show and Swap Meet. Over 110 Trophies awarded and featuring a FMA Points Show. New this year, Show 'n' Shine area for non-Mopars, and Mopars not wishing to be judged. It's $15 to enter and the top-10 participant choice trophies are awarded on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Info: Mike Volpe, (813) 963-6105 or (727) 584-1210; www.westcoastmopar.com.
March 19-20-Albury, New South Wales, Australia: 13th Annual Chryslers on the Murray. Australia's largest Chrysler car show and swap meet with over 400 Australian and American Chrysler cars on display. Info: www.chryslersonthemurray.com.au.
March 26-Galeana, SC: All Mopar All-Star Auto Show: Past and Present. Hosted by Gaeana Chrysler/Jeep/KIA and Midlands Mopars offering classes on many body types, as well as awards. Registration is from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the awards at 4 p.m. Car entry fee of $10 and spectators are free. Location: 180 Greystone Blvd., Galeana, SC, 29210. info: Lou Eyman (803) 808-1983 or David Whetsell (803) 957-8694.
April 1-3-Las Vegas, NV: Once again, it's time for the Mopars at the Strip show at the Strip in Las Vegas. This is fast becoming one of the premier events west of the Mississippi. Mopar Muscle will once again be holding "The Mopar Muscle True Street Challenge" at the Mopars at the Strip event. This year, a '72 Duster will be outfitted with parts from the aftermarket, and one lucky winner will be able to drive away in the restomodded A-Body. So, make your plans to attend, and check out their web site www.moparsatthestrip.com.
April 24-Centerline, MI: North Oakland Mopar Muscle's 8th Annual Car Show and Swap Meet, 8:00 a.m. at DaimlerChrysler's Centerline Parts Depot-the largest Mopar-only swap meet in Michigan. Info: 248-975-NOMM; www.440sixpack.com.
April 9-10-Van Nuys, CA: Chrysler Performance West presents Spring Fling XIX at Woodley Park. Largest Mopar show and swap on the west coast. Featuring Midway vendors, judged show, dash plaques awarded. Info: (818) 759-1779; www.cpwclub.com
April 30-Mobil, AL: Mopars at the Battleship 10th Annual exclusive Mopar Car Show and Swap Meet. Best Pre-'76 and Best Post-'75 awards will be given. Best Pre-'60, Best A-Body, Best B-Body, Best C-Body, Best E-Body, and Best AMC Awards. Show proceeds to benefit the Mulherin Custodial Home. Info: Larry Jordan, (251) 653-5154; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.southernmopar.com
July 8-10-Carlisle, PA: The Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals presented by DaimlerChrysler for all Dodge, Chrysler, Plymouth, and Jeep vehicles. Show field, swap meet, car corral, and Mopars (new and old), as well as concept cars and special guests to keep you entertained. Info: www.carsatcarlisle.com.
Do you have a Super Bee or Road Runner that came with an A-12 package? At the 2005 Chrysler Classic in Carlisle, Pennysylvania, the A-12 Restoration group from Moparts.com is hosting a get-together of all Lift-Off-hood Road Runners and Super Bees. Want more info so you can make plans to attend? Check out Moparts.com, and go to the A-12 restoration page.
August 12-14-Columbus, OH: 25th Annual Mopar Nationals featuring the Plymouth Road Runner. Car show, swap meet, car corral, and racing-the largest all-Mopar gathering in the country. Info: www.moparnats.org.
Nhra E.T. EliteThe grass roots of the Mopar racing brand was well represented during NHRA's '04 season ending event at Pomona, when some of the top-ranked Mopar bracket racers from across North America participated in the Summit Racing Equipment National E.T. Championships. The race-within-a-race featured the top-rated Super Pro, Pro, Sportsman, and Super Pro motorcycle racers from each of NHRA's seven geographical divisions
The list of Mopar racing participants included Ray Block (Columbus, Ohio), Angelo Phillips (Scottsdale, Arizona), Jason Novacek (Wichita, Kansas), Kyle Saucy (Beaver Creek, Oregon), Tony Marconi (Wittman, Arizona), Marcus Wessels (Santa Rosa, California), and Larry Thomason (Port Arthur, Texas).
Two of those racers advanced to the final rounds of competition. Larry Thomason, driving his low slung '62 Fury, had a heart-breaking .001 foul start in the Summit Super Pro final and lost out to the dragster driven by Mark Griffith. Jason Novacek, driving his classic '64 Barracuda, narrowly fell to the '90 Jeep driven by Kelly King.
Challenger Cha-ChinIndiana's John Hochstedler claimed the ultimate prize in 2004 for e.t. Bracket racers in IHRA racing. Hochstedler, driving his Dodge Challenger, amassed an amazing 37-3 win/loss record at his home track, Osceola Dragway (Osceola, Indiana), to capture the overall national Summit Racing Equipment Super Series for Box e.t. racers. Hochstedler's win-after a two-year layoff from drag racing-came driving a car that had not been run since the '91 season. Hochstedler's payday from Summit Racing for his season accomplishment was truly impressive: a brand-new '05 Pontiac G6, a $25,000 cash prize, and a complete new racing engine from Huntsville Engines -MM