Front RunnersNHRA's thriving Summit Racing Sports Compact division, a series which is entering it's sixth year of existence, will once again feature some impressive Mopar machinery.
North Carolina's Darrell Cox and his driver Mike Crawford are scheduled to run a spectacular Mopar-sponsored Dodge SRT-4 in the series' Hot Rod division. The duo were solid Championship contenders the last two seasons, finishing second and fourth in points respectively.
"We have a new race car and an entirely new setup for the front end," Crawford revealed. "We also have a new cylinder head and motor program that has looked really good on the dyno. Our plan is to attend all the NHRA Sports Compact events and to compete again for the overall Hot Rod title."
The Hot Rod class has been a fast developing category, where despite the mini-motor nature of the class and the mandatory front-wheel drive, its racers are now capable of times in the high 7-seconds zone and speeds topping 170 mph.
Maryland's Scott Mohler, who flirted with the overall Championship title for the Honda-sponsored All Motor category last season, will also have a new direction for 2005. The racer is coming off a highly impressive 2004 racing season, which saw him miss the crown by a scant 12 points driving his unique Mopar-sponsored Neon-the only Dodge in the category.
Scott's father, David Mohler, will now spearhead the team's tuning efforts, which will feature a motor program by Jim Justice.
"We are basically changing everything- we have a new engine builder, setup, and transmission," Scott revealed. "With Jim involved, we now have the convenience of someone close to home working with us. Our objective this season is consistency and reliability because that's what wins races."
Performance projections for the A/M class, which does not allow turbochargers or nitrous oxide, are also rather impressive with class competitors routinely posting elapsed times in the high 9s.
NHRA's Summit Racing Sports Compact series will run a total of 10 events in 2005. That will include scheduled racing at two NHRA POWERade national events for Championship categories: Pro (rear-wheel driver), Pro (front-wheel driver), Modified, Hot Rod, and All Motor (A/M).
EventsJune 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 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.
Pro Mod History Made
NHRA's recent traditional East Coast season-opening Mac Tools Gatornationals included the first race of the year for the highly popular AMS Staff Leasing/TLR Pro Modified class. History was made in that category when California's Jay Payne earned his first victory driving his new Hemi-powered and Valvoline-sponsored '05 Dodge Stratus. Payne's win marked the first time a Dodge-bodied car had won within NHRA's fledging Pro Mod division.
Payne won a thrilling final round when he edged out defending 2004 AMS Series Champion Mike Ashley with a winning 6.111 at 236.03 mph. Payne's final round speed was the fastest ever recorded in Pro Mod class racing . . . so far.
"For us to win our very first time out with a Dodge is just incredible," said Payne, whose claim to fame previously was some 27 wins while racing within NHRA's Top Alcohol categories. "All of the credit for this win goes to Brad Anderson. This is his race car, his Hemi-engine program, and his tune-up. Last year, we went to every race and only won one round, so this switch to Dodge has been a very positive one for us."
The team's event at Gainesville also marked the debut of a second and identically prepared Valvoline-sponsored Dodge Stratus driven by Jay's wife, Shelly Anderson. The twin cars both feature racing chassis by Jerry Haas, and are powered by supercharged, alcohol-burning, 522-inch BAE Hemi engines.
Whit is a Winner
March's Mac Tools Gatornationals also included an emotional victory in the ferocious Nitro Funny Car category for Whit Bazemore, driving his Hemi-powered Matco Tools/Mopar-sponsored Dodge Stratus. Whit powered his machine to a final round 4.897 at 315.67 mph to easily handle surprise class finalist Bob Gilbertson, who left before the green.
Bazemore's win came only eight days after he and his wife Michelle had celebrated the birth of their first child (son Dashiell).
"I told people this was the greatest week of my life. even if we had not qualified for this race, it would still have been the greatest week of my life," he reflected. "Being a father far exceeds anything else you can do. It's just an awesome feeling.
"This place has a lot of personal feelings for me," Bazemore continued. "It's incredible to win the Gatornationals. It's like a Pomona, and Englishtown, or even Indy. It's right up there; it's one of the classics. The credit goes to our team: Matco Tools, Mopar, and Don Schumacher (team owner) for putting everybody together. It's a huge effort."
The win also marked the 51st career national-event title for Bazemore's highly skilled crew chief, Lee Beard. The team victory moved Bazemore into an overall first place standing in NHRA fuel Funny Car points following the third of 23 POWERade events this season.
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; (573) 474-2397.
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-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 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.
June 26-Chicago, IL: Mopars at the Park brought to you by the Chicagoland Mopar Connection. Info: www.chicagolandmopar.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.
August 6-Columbus, Oh: Third Neo-Fest Custom Compact Nationals at National Trail Raceway, featuring car show, manufacturer's midway, auto cross, drifting, bracket racing, superstar DJs and more, noon-midnight. Info: (614) 268-1181;www.classicevents.com.
August 6-Burlington, NC: At Piedmont Dragway, Gibsonville, NC. The event will include a car show, swap meet, trophy street drag racing, trophy bracket racing, Dodge truck shootout, Hemi shootout, Dean Sox of Sox and Martin. All proceeds to hospice. Info: Chris Ketteman, (336) 513-5211; www.drmoparshp1.bravehost.com.
August 12-14-Columbus, OH: 25th annual Mopar Nationals featuring the Plymouth Road Runner. Car show, swap meet, car corral, and racing, the Nats have truly become the largest all-Mopar gathering in the country. Info: www.moparnats.org
August 28- Chicago, IL: Mopars on the Mississippi brought to you by the Chicagoland Mopar Connection. Info: www.chicagolandmopar.com.
September 3-4-Nebraska City, NE: 17th annual National Dodge Charger Meet, sponsored by The Dodge Charger Registry. No entry fee. Info: Wes Pieper, (830) 981-5383 (Texas); Wes Wayne Wooten, The Dodge Charger Registry, P.O. Box 79, Meherrin, VA 23954; (434) 223-1305; www.dodgechargerregistry.com.
September 3-4-Garland, TX: 21st annual Southwest Mopar Mini Nats hosted by the Dallas Mopar Club. This is a two-day All-Mopar judged show, with food and auto product vendors, a swap meet, and other exciting events. Info: Jerry Reed, (972) 271-6189; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.dallasmoparclub.com.
September 10-Atco, NJ: 9th annual Mopar Car-B-Que. All Mopars welcome from primer to pristine. No judging, just relax with fellow Mopar enthusiasts. Display your car for $5. Dodge Coronet Registry. Features include Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, The Original Sox and Martin Duster, and the Tactical Unit S.W.A.T. Van. There will be a model car show, hot food, snacks and drinks available. Proceeds benefit "The Tactical Unit Funding Foundation" in memory of James "Zeke" Fabrizio. Info: www.moparcarbque.com.
September 11-Omaha, NE: The 24th All Mopar Auto Show held at the Nebraska Crossing Outlet Mall, Interstate 80, Exit 432. This is the area's original and largest Mopar event, featuring twenty classes, a long distance award, goody bags, dash plaques and many drawings. Info: Dan, (402)593-6080; http://rtsomaha.tripod.com.
September 16-Caryville, TN:Seventh annual Fall at Cove Lake Mopar show, Cove Lake State Park, Exit 134 off I-75, 26 miles north of Knoxville, TN. Join us for Hospitality Night, Friday, September 16, at Super 8 Motel at Exit 134. For reservations call (423) 562-8476 and mention Mopar Show for special rates. Judging begins at noon, awards presented at 4:00 p.m. Free spaces for non-food vendors and swap meet vendors, free parking for spectators. Info: Classic Auto Glass, (800) 659-6158; Gary Shepperd, at 423/562-1066.