Year Of The MoparCould 2005 be the Year of the Mopar in NHRA Pro Stock racing? That very notion gathered momentum following a great showing during NHRA's recent Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, held at Firebird Raceway near Phoenix. The Pro Stock class, which had been regularly dominated in recent seasons by GM-branded machines, saw no less then five Dodge Stratus' invade Sunday's final swift 16, one of which emerged the winner.
The father and son team of Roy and Allen Johnson prevailed after qualifying 12th. Allen Johnson went on to the final round, where he shutdown Ron Krisher for the event championship. Johnson had a winning time of 6.801 at 202.36 mph.
"I think the parity is back in Pro Stock," said Johnson following his win. "We've been dominated, particularly by Greg Anderson, the last two years, so the rest of us were pretty anxious to get some wins. This was a big win for our program and for Mopar. it's nice to put them back in the winner's circle."
Another Mopar, driven by Richie Stevens Jr., paced the event's Pro Stock program in Don Schumacher's all new Mopar/Valspar-sponsored car. Richie qualified 1st with a 6.735 and also set top speed of the event at 205.35 mph. Dodge Stratus drivers, V. Gaines, Larry Morgan, and Jeg Coughlin Jr., also qualified driving their Hemi-powered cars.
Coronet ClassicJohn Winslow, from San Jose, California, campaigns one of the West Coast's truly rare birds. In a Super Stock category, which allows for head-to-head competition between the very latest in technology and traditional early equipment, Winslow's SS/JA '65 Coronet definitely falls within the latter. Winslow's machine is powered by an original-style 426 wedge. While he admits that engine combination may not necessarily be the most optimum, it is the science of drawing out the power and campaigning it that is part of the attraction.
Winslow is quick to credit fellow West Coast Mopar proponent and racer Steve Wann with help in overcoming some of the shortcomings. Wann machined and assembled the engine at the Rettig Brothers facility in Modesto, California. "Steve Wann is a brilliant engine builder, and he is the only reason this car is this fast," Winslow affirmed. His machine has a best run of 10.80 to its credit, which compares to the NHRA national class index of 11.30.
Winslow's machine utilizes a 727 Torqueflite transmission. A recent enhancement includes a suspension upgrade and air shifter, which has helped to make the vintage car more consistent leaving the starting line.
EventsMay 15-Chicago, IL: Mo-Power Madness brought to you by the Chicagoland Mopar Connection. Info: www.chicagolandmopar.com.
May 13-15-Englishtown, NJ: 19th annual Mopar Atlantic Nationals held at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. This show has something for everyone: drag racing, car show, swap meet, vintage race cars, and more. Info: Paul Bailey, (732) 446-7800; www.racewaypark.com.
May 15-Riverside, CA: 8th annual Mopars in May Car & Truck Show & Swap Meet. Car show, swap meet, 50/50, with all proceeds going to California School for the Deaf. Info: Mike, (909) 981-0477; email@example.com.
May 21-22-Kansas City, MO: 7th Kansas City Chrysler Classic at Kansas City International Raceway, MCG Points Series Kickoff, featuring Chrysler product car show, swap meet, big Dog bracket racing, Hemi and Max Wedge combo, Saturday night jets and gambler's under the lights! Info: (614) 268-1181; www.classicevents.com.
May 21-22-Spartanburg, SC: 17th annual National Dodge Charger Meet, sponsored by the Dodge Charger Registry. No entry fee. Info: Wayne Wooten, The Dodge Charger Registry, P.O. Box 79, Meherrin, VA 23954; (434) 223-1305; www.dodgechargerregistry.com.
May 22-Tunkhannock, PA: Pennsylvania Pentastars Car Club 10th annual Mopar and AMC car and truck show at The Carriage Inn, Rt. 92 South. Info: Dave Hastie (570) 388-2740; http://papentastars.tripod.com.
June 4-Sevierville, TN: 16th annual Mopar Car Show brought to you by Smokey Mountain Mopars, Inc. at the Sevier County Fairgrounds, Sevierville, TN. Registration open from 8-12, and judging starts at 1. Info: Larry Hartman, (865) 397-5146; firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 4-Newport News, VA: Colonial Mopar Tour Cruise with tours at the Historic Yorktown Battlefield and Jamestown Settlements. Saturday night cruise in with live music at Oyster Point Dodge. Tour starts 8:30 a.m. at Oyster Point Dodge, 11999 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA. Info: www.moparmadness.info; (757) 858-8083; email@example.com.
June 10-12-Columbus, Oh: 13th Columbus Chrysler Classic at National Trail Raceway, featuring Chrysler product car show, swap meet, Daytona-Superbird reunion, Big Dog 0-8.99 e.t. bracket, King of the Street, and nostalgia drag racing. Over 2,000 cars, 500 vendors, and 15,000 spectators. Info: (614) 268-1181; www.classicevents.com.
June 10-11-West Salem, WI: 7th annual All Mopar Show and Swap, sponsored by Coulee Region Mopars. Friday night cruise 5-9 pm. Saturday Car show with trophies, Swap meet, Car Coral, Model Car Contest, and More. No admission or show/swap fees. All Mopar and Mopar-powered vehicles are welcome. Event held at LaCrosse Interstate Speedway.Info: www.couleeregionmopars.com; Roy Stephan, (608) 788-7272; Steve Link, (608) 784-0317.
June 11-Nampa, ID: Mopars Unlimited of Idaho's 18th annual Show and Shine at Lakeview Park. Car show with goody bags, dash plaques, trophies, giveaways, car raffle, car corral, food, and specialty vendors and much more. 17th annual Northwest Mopar Championships drag racing on the 12th at Firebird Raceway in Emmett, ID. Info: Doug Pederson, (208) 288-2340; www.moparsunlimitedofidaho.com.
June 11-12-Kansas City KS: All Mopar show and swap meet sponsored by the High Performance Auto Club at Community America Ballpark located next to the Kansas Speedway. Info: Dick, (816) 618-7284; visis www.hpacmopar.com.
June 18-Wichita, KS: 20th annual Wichita Area Mopar Club/Air Capitol All-Mopar Meet, New Market Square, 21st and Maize Road, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Info: Lyle Suhr, (316) 262-8355; Jim Homan, (316) 377-0050.
June 18-Belen, NM: 10th annual Hub City Mopar Fest (Anniversary Show, Father's Day weekend). All Mopar Car Show, Swap Meet and Model Car Show.Trophies for 20 classes including under-construction and daily driver, as well as many special awards including long distance. Goody bags to first 125 entrants, event tees, vendors, great raffle door and prizes, swap meet. Info: www.moparclub.com; Paul, (505) 896-8115.
June 16-18-Lebanon, TN: Tennessee Cruzin Classic Car Show at the Nashville Superspeedway. This three-day event will feature more than 2,000 American-brand cars built between 1900 and 1980 competing for up to $200,000 in prize money. Approximately 1,000 more classic cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles of any model years will be on display. Info: Dale Holland, (800) 427-8946; www.tennesseecruzin.com.
June 19-Columbia, MO: 18th annual Show-Me Mopar Festival, 6 miles south of Columbia on Highway 63, I-70 exit 128A Day. Info: (573) 636-9777; Eve, (573) 474-2397.
June 25-26-Hamilton, OH: 5th Tri-State Chrysler Classic at Tri-State Dragway, Chrysler product car show, swap meet, Hemi Super Stockers the Original Max Wedge Shootout, and Slant 6 Showdowns. Open to all Chrysler related vehicles. Info: (614) 268-1181; www.classicevents.com.
June 26-Chicago, IL: Mopars at the Park brought to you by the Chicagoland Mopar Connection. Info: www.chicagolandmopar.com.
June 18-19-Madison, WI: 18th annual National Dodge Charger Meet, sponsored by The Dodge Charger Registry. No entry fee. Info: Scott Wagner, (414) 546-0577 (Wisconsin); Wayne Wooten, The Dodge Charger Registry, P.O. Box 79, Meherrin, VA 23954; (434) 223-1305; www.thedodgechargerregistry.com.
June 19-24-Madison, WI to Boerne, TX: Tracks Across America Dodge Charger tour from Wisconsin to Texas, sponsored by the Dodge Charger Registry. No entry fee. Info: Wayne Wooten, The Dodge Charger Registry, P.O. Box 79, Meherrin, VA 23954; (434) 233-1305; www.dodgechargerregistry.com.
June 25-26-Boerne, TX: 17th annual National Dodge Charger Meet sponsored by The Dodge Charger Registry. No entry fee. Info: Wes Pieper, 830-981-5383 (Texas); Wayne Wooten, The Dodge Charger Registry, P.O. Box 79, Meherrin, VA 23954; (434) 223-1305; www.dodgechargerregistry.com.
July 1-3-Grand Junction, CO: 15th annual Mopar Magic Weekend in Grand Junction, Colorado. All Mopar car show presented by Mopars Unlimited of Colorado. Info: Carol or Roger Bryant; firstname.lastname@example.org; 970-434-7756.
July 2-3- Grand Bend, Ontario, Canada: Grand Bend Motorplex Car show, swap meet, door prizes, and drag racing. Open to all years of AMC and Chryslers, cars must be Chrysler-powered. Saturday is regular racing, plus Mopar-only class, any dial, no box. Sunday is Mopars-only with super/pro (box), pro (no box), sportsman, truck (any dial) and viper classes. For hotel accommodations, contact Grand Bend Chamber of Commerce (519) 238-2001. Info: (519) 238-7223 (track); (519) 762-3561; 764-2335; 842-4492; "email@example.com"; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.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.
Also this year, do you have a Super Bee or Road Runner that came with an A-12 package? At the 2005 Chrysler Classic in Carlisle, PA, The A-12 Restoration group from Moparts.com is hosting a get-together of all lift-off-hood Road Runners and Super Bees. Info: Moparts.com, and go to the A-12 restoration page for more info.
July 8-9-York, PA: Fourth annual York US 30 Musclecar Madness at the York Expo Center, York Fairgrounds. This year, a "Tribute to Ronnie Sox" and the Sox & Martin race team. Two day Cruisin' Into Summer cruise in and Legends of Drag Racing. Info: www.yorkus30.com; Darwin Doll, (717) 755.5849.
July 31-Roanoke, IL: Mopars Invade Roanoke Car Show. All Mopar and AMC car show, sponsored Roanoke Motor Co. "Viper Capital of the USA" and the Heartland Mopar Club. Registration begins at 9:00 am. Info: (309) 962-5402; DNSGentry@myfam.com.
The fan popularity of NHRA's Competition eliminator category is because of the diversity of its class, which regularly features match-ups between open-wheeled dragsters, altereds, and fast door-slammers. The eliminator is now home to many members of what was the former Pro Stock Truck category. the '01 Dodge Dakota, campaigned by California's Tom Mettler, is regarded as one of the best.
Tom, along with his father, Don Mettler, and uncle, Ron Mettler, have been working hard for three seasons perfecting their Dakota, which they acquired from Dale and Craig Eaton.
"This is one of only two Dodge Dakota trucks that DaimlerChrysler had built for the Pro Stock Truck class," revealed Mettler. "It is an all-carbon-fiber body and a Jerry Haas-built chassis with a four-link suspension. In Competition eliminator it is a very different approach to racing within the class, but the Mopar fans love it, and I think it makes a real statement."
The team began racing their Dakota with a wedge-head engine combination that evolved in mid-'04 to an all-new 357 motor equipped with P5 cylinder heads. Rick Waters, at Eaton Enterprises, built that Hemi engine.
"Our motor now produces some 985 hp, which makes it the most powerful 357 engine ever," Mettler reported. "We have held the NHRA national record a couple of times, most recently at 7.42 and 181.50 mph."
The Mettler Racing Team has plans to campaign their machine extensively on the West Coast this season, attending all NHRA Pacific Division Lucas Oil Series events, as well as select NHRA national events. While still seeking their first ever national event victory, the team was inspired following it's strong "final four" showing during NHRA's 2005 season-opening event at Pomona Raceway.
Dart Hits Bulls Eye
The California-based, father-and-son team of Dave and Darren Smith have built one of the most remarkable Mopar machines ever seen in NHRA Super Stock class racing. Over a two-year period beginning in 2002, they meticulously designed, assembled, and prepared an astounding '68 Dodge Dart. The car is unusual bcause it is campaigned in SS/GA trim, utilizing a 440 engine with a single four-barrel carburetor.
"As far as I know this is the only SS/GA Dart in the nation," revealed driver Darren Smith. "We have been racing Mopars for a long time, and we felt this would be an interesting combination. The car weighs 3,370 pounds, and NHRA has rated the motor at 375 hp. Bob Lambeck did the machining and dyno testing; Eric Jones did the heads and manifold; we did all of the assembly. We run a 727 transmission equipped with 904 parts. So far the car has been very competitive, running well under the national index at 9.77 and 134 mph."
Darren Smith had previously raced in the NHRA Stock eliminator category, enjoying great success with his '00 Dodge Dakota truck that Darren's sister, Staci, has now taken over. since its debut during last year's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, the new Dodge Dart has seen only limited action at NHRA national event races.
The car features an absolutely stunning silver-and-blue paint scheme applied by Critical Car Care. That finish has already won the team Best Appearing Car award at two major events, one each at the NHRA national and divisional level.