New Stratus-FearThe much-anticipated Pro-Modified Dodge Stratus campaigned by the formidable new Can-Am combination of Al Billes and Jim Oddy has hit the track at a record smashing pace. The all-new Hemi-powered machine, which is sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment, placed runner-up at its recent debut during the IHRA AC/Delco Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond. Enroute to that finish, Canadian-based driver Al Billes recorded the fastest speeds ever seen in Pro Modified class history, including a national speed record setting of 236.22 mph. For team owner Jim Oddy, the all-new Stratus is the first Dodge in his colorful and lengthy racing career.
"After we won the Pro Modified Shootouts for a couple years when Mopar was the sponsor, it got me thinking," said Oddy. "Then in 2003, we evolved to the Hemi engine, and it began to make even more sense. I watched closely what Jack Roush was doing with these Stratus bodies, and that was a real attraction to me. I saw they were working well in Pro Stock, and I thought it would be a good application over here in Pro Modified."
Power for the Summit Racing Equipment Stratus comes from a 526-inch Brad Anderson motor equipped with Ken Veney cylinder heads. Of course, the package features the very latest in Jim Oddy's own supercharger technology, his long-time specialty.
Billes and Oddy, who are two of Pro Modified classes' most respected individuals, will use the Jerry Haas-built Dodge Stratus to chase the 2005 IHRA Hooter Drag Racing Series World Championship.
Econo Record HolderIndiana's Dale Spencer, a respected race car chassis builder, has enjoyed some great success with his unique mini-motored dragster. Spencer reset both ends of the NHRA national record for the F/ED class during a recent event held in Louisiana. Running on a national index of 8.99 seconds, Spencer reset the national records to 8.35 and 156.46 mph. That impressive time came driving a four-cylinder, 187ci, Mopar-powered machine that produces a rather amazing 440 hp. Spencer is trying something rather rogue within the sport. He has taken a motor intended for circle track midget cars to a drag racing application.
"I'm about the only one out here trying this," affirmed Spencer. "These blocks are intended for circle track use, but we've converted them. We run a bigger camshaft and a reworked W9 cylinder head. Almost everything on this car is a one-off. With some help from my friends, we've built pretty much everything, including the intake manifold and the oil pan. We also use two 500-cfm two-barrel carburetors. I was told that couldn't be done, but I think we are proving otherwise."
Spencer's machine has already been recognized for the mechanical marvel it truly is. He was the recipient of a prestigious "Best Engineered Sportsman Car" award during a NHRA national event held at Joliet, Illinois, last season.
Virginia Is For VictoryMopar Sportsman proponents Bernard Weaver and Myron Piatek both earned significant victories during recent IHRA national event action held at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Weaver, from Virginia, mowed down a massive 75-car field in the Super Rod (9.90) category driving his reliable 493-powered '84 Dodge Daytona. The former 2001 IHRA World Champion won seven grueling rounds of competition and capped his victory with a final round 9.902 at 143.93 mph decision over opponent Mike Sparacino. Weaver's victory came from the pole position in the class. He ran the only perfect 9.900 during time trails to pace the field.
Piatek's win came in Stock eliminator, driving his familiar Florida-based "Locomotion" 360 crate-motored '75 Dodge Dart. Myron ambushed the field from the 47th qualifying position with a dazzling display of consistency. The Stock eliminator title bout was all-Mopar, with Piatek's 11.92 on an 11.90 dial-in prevailing over the 360-powered FT/SA Dodge Dakota driven by Michigan's John Lovins.