Each year, the Mopar Nationals brings together one of the largest collections of Mopar-only cars and trucks. Dubbed "The Year of the Challenger," 2008 was no different. Even with the threat of high gas prices and an economy that's not doing too hot, Mopar fanatics came out to National Trail Raceway's expansive grounds for this great event. The Mopar Muscle staff was surprised by this fact, fearing that participation would take a major hit.

One element of the event that did receive a major hit was the racers. It seemed there was less than half the amount that raced last year. This is depressing since it's what keeps fans in the bleachers and is the focal point of the even for most of us. Mopar Performance showcased their new 2008 Challenger Drag Package. Both late-model Challengers were powered by new Hemi's and unleashed impressive 11-second passes in factory trim. They were certainly some of the more popular cars around the pit area since it seemed fans were glued to them. Dodge also brought out the all-new Challenger R/T and discussed some of the differences between the R/T and SRT models.

The swap meet area and old cars up for sale seemed to be way up. Tech Editor, Dave Young, feels this was a direct result of the economy. Many people are trying to clean out their garage and make a few bucks. There were some great deals to be had, so it's always a good idea to take a peek in the area, even if you don't need anything for you project. On the opposite end of the event you find the car show. Participation was about equal to last year and, as always, some pristine examples of classic Mopars were on display. New to the show field were the 2008 SRT Challengers. If you hadn't seen one in person before the event, there's a good chance you were sick of them by the time Sunday came rolling around. We feel it's safe to say that if you want to be different, don't buy one in Hemi Orange! There were at least 10 painted orange with very little representatives for the other fine hues, such as silver.

All-in-all, the event was spectacular. The weather was hot, but no where near as hot as previous years. A cool breeze overtook most of the grounds area and helped to keep most spectators and pedal fans happy and comfortable. We hope next year will offer the same great atmosphere and fans will continue to support the event and sponsors.

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