Category Archives: Motorsports

Mopar wins Gatornationals Top Fuel

A Mopar-powered Top Fuel dragster raced to the winner’s circle for the third consecutive NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, piloted by eight-time champion Tony Schumacher in his fifth Gatornationals win. The car was sponsored by the U.S. Army; its winning pass was timed at 3.7 seconds, at 329 mph.

Two Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars advanced to the semifinals, driven by Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr.

Mopar Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett, trying to become the first Top Fuel driver to start a season with three consecutive wins in the class, unfortunately lost to Doug Kalitta by just .0007 seconds on a holeshot in the second round.

New NASCAR engine revealed

Mopar has revealed its new NASCAR engine — Canadian NASCAR, that is. Sean Gibbs showed it in his Twitter feed, indicating anyone can visit it at the Motorama show:

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Mopar and Dodge have, in some recent years, dominated the Canadian racing series. These new engines are made for Mopar by Arrow Racing, using the third-generation Hemi aluminum block, a  Mopar front drive distributor kit, and Crane single-plug electronic ignition.

Mopar racks up two more in Arizona

Leah Pritchett and Matt Hagan kept a perfect season going as they repeated their wins, taking the victories in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively, at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. The results gave Mopar its third and fourth wins in the young 2017 Mello Yello drag racing season.

Leah Pritchett with Mopar Top Fuel dragster

Pritchett pulled off a hole shot win over Brittany Force, tripping the lights 0.0271 seconds ahead of the Monster Energy car. On her way to the final round, Pritchett shut down Clay Millican and Shawn Reed after running unopposed in the opening round. Pritchett is the first Top Fuel driver to win both of the first two races of the season in 20 years.

Tony Schumacher, Pritchett’s Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammate, made it to the semifinals where he lost to Force.

Hagan was about 12 feet ahead of fellow DSR/Dodge driver and 2016 national champion Ron Capps at the end of the final Funny Car race. Not only was it an all-Dodge finals, it was preceded by an all-Dodge semifinal round with Hagan defeating Tommy Johnson Jr. and Capps eliminating Jim Campbell in the Jim Dunn Racing Charger.

Jack Beckman’s Dodge got noisy at the start and was unable to make its run. He lost his first-round matchup with Gary Densham. Phil Burkhart, the sixth Dodge driver in the field, was another opening-round casualty, falling to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first Funny Car race of the day.

All three Darts in the Pro Stock field were eliminated in the day’s first round. Allen Johnson fell to former teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr.; Deric Kramer had the lead at the start but Bo Butner pulled ahead at the 330 mark to take the win and Alan Prusiensky just wasn’t quick enough to beat Tanner Gray. Greg Anderson captured the Pro Stock Wally.

Pritchett sets record for Mopar

Leah Pritchett and her Mopar-powered Don Schumacher Racing dragster set a new national Top Fuel record on Friday, posting a 3.685-second ET in the second round of qualifying at the NHRA Arizona Nationals. Pritchett also finished at the top of the order in the first round.

leah Pritchett

Teammate Tony Schumacher qualified second, coming in 0.009 seconds slower than Pritchett.

In Funny Car, Matt Hagan qualified second with an ET of 3.839, 0.001 second behind Courtney Force. Jack Beckman took the No. 4 spot and Tommy Johnson Jr. finished the day in the No. 5 position.

2016 season champion Ron Capps had traction troubles all day and will start in Saturday in the No. 13 position.

Dodge drivers Jim Campbell and Phil Burkhart Jr. qualified at the bottom of the order in the No. 15 and No. 16 positions, respectively.

Deric Kramer’s best time was 6.581 at 209.88 mph, good enough to qualify No. 10 in the Pro Stock order. Kramer’s time was 0.002 seconds quicker than Allen Johnson, who took the No. 11 position. Alan Prusienski stayed out of the cellar, qualifying 14th.

Mopar scores in Pomona

Mopar-sponsored Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers racked up two class wins to kick off the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season.

In the just-completed Winternationals in Pomona, California, Matt Hagan shut down Courtney Force to capture the Funny Car Wally while Leah Pritchett tripped the lights long before Doug Kalitta.

Hagan and Pritchett were also the top qualifiers in their classes. Hagan reset both ends of the Auto Club Raceway track record as he matched his career-best ET and speed.

Hagan defeated 2016 Champion and fellow DSR driver Ron Capps in a Charger-Charger semifinal race. Capps gave Hagan a free pass to the finals when he jumped the gun and turned on the red lights at the start.

The two other DSR drivers were eliminated in the quarterfinals. Tommy Johnson Jr. lost to John Force and Jack Beckman gave Hagan a real run for his money but came up 0.011 seconds behind at the end.

Dodge drivers Bob Bode, Phil Burkart and Jeff Campbell were all eliminated in the opening round.

Pritchett got a pass in the first round as there weren’t enough Top Fuel entries to make up a full field. The the second round, she was 0.001 seconds behind Steve Torrence at the start but the Mopar/Papa John’s car was in the lead by the time it passed the Christmas tree.

In the semifinals, Pritchett beat fellow DSR/Mopar-powered driver Tony Schumacher through the timing lights by 0.063 seconds on her way to victory in the final race.

It was three Darts up, three Darts down in Pro Stock as Allen Johnson, Deric Cramer and Alan Prusiensky were eliminated in the today’s first round. 2016 champion Jason Line beat Greg Anderson for the class win.

New season kicks off for Mopar and Dodge

The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello drag racing season began today with the opening of the 2017 Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

After a dominant Funny Car season that saw Ron Capps win his first-ever championship and Dodge taking home the Manufacturers championship for the first time in decades, all four Don Schumacher Racing Charger R/Ts are back to take a shot at another championship. Of the four DSR drivers, only Tommy Johnson Jr. hasn’t collected a championship.

Jim Campbell has replaced John Hale at the wheel of the Jim Dunn Racing Dodge, the fifth 2017 Charger in the field. Campbell competed in 11 events during the 2016 season and finished 15th in the point standings while Hale ran a full season and finished 13th.

Campbell isn’t new to Dodges; in 2016 he competed in a Charger owned by Chuck and Del Worsham (Worsham won the 2015 Championship in the DHL Toyota Camry).

There are two more Dodges in the 18-entry Funny Car field, both 2014 Chargers. Bob Bode, who competed in a Toyota last year, will be driving the Arbee Plastic Bags Charger and Phil Burkhart Jr. will be racing for Schwabfunycar.com.

leah Pritchett

Leah Pritchett, will be back in her DSR Mopar-powered Top Fuel dragster, still sponsored by Papa John’s Pizza (the official pizza of the NHRA). Pritchett, who finished seventh in the Top Fuel points race last year, turned in an unofficial 3.677-second ET, the fourth-fastest in Top Fuel history, in testing at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona.

Although Mopar and Dodge have officially withdrawn from Pro Stock, Allen Johnson is keeping the faith with another season behind the wheel of the Mopar 500-powered Marathon Oil Dart. It’s listed as a 2017 Dart, which probably makes it the only 2017 Dodge Dart in the world.

Deric Kramer and Alan Prusiensky will be back with their 2016 Darts and their 2016 sponsors.

With Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr. returning to Camaros after a disappointing season in 2016, the three Dodges will be up against an army of Chevys. Johnson did manage to pull out a win last year and finished eight in the Countdown to the Championship.

Qualifying for Sportsman class got underway at 8:15 AM local time (11:15 Eastern) and Top Alcohol racers will take their first trips down the track this afternoon. Top Fuel and Pro Stock qualifying are supposed to begin tomorrow and continue through Saturday but rain is forecast for much of Friday and Friday night so the schedule is definitely subject to change. The National Weather Service is calling for sunny and cool for Saturday’s qualifying rounds and for the eliminations scheduled for Sunday.

Mopar dropping Pro Stock

After a disappointing season in NHRA Pro Stock drag racing, Mopar has chosen to drop Elite Motorsports — and will not be picking up a new Pro Stock team for 2017.

Mopar chief Pietro Gorlier said they will focus on Don Schumacher Racing in Funny Car and Top Fuel, and expand their presence in the Sportsman class.

nhra-johnson-2015-pomona-web

Last year, Mopar ended its 20-year deal with Allen Johnson, who drove a Dodge Avenger to the Pro Stock World Championship in 2012. Johnson brought in Jeg Coughlin Jr. for the 2013 season, and Coughlin took the top honors. At the end of the 2015 season, Johnson collected the last Mopar Pro Stock Wally with his win at the Auto Club finals in Pomona.

Coughlin retired after the 2014 season, but kept his foot in the door with a few events driving Camaros for Elite alongside Erica Enders, who won the championship in 2014 and 2015.

After the 2015 season, in which Johnson saw only two wins in five final-round appearances, Mopar struck a deal with Elite to put Coughlin and Enders into Dodge Darts. Johnson made his own deal with Marathon Oil.

The 2016 season was a disaster for the Elite team. Despite having had three consecutive world championships, neither Enders nor Coughlin ever made it to the final round, and they barely qualified for the Countdown to the Championship.

Long-time Dodge driver V. Gaines retired early in the season, saying it was no longer fun. Dodge’s only bright spots were when Johnson won the Mopar Mile-High Nationals and got to the finals in the New England Nationals and the U.S. Nationals.

With Mopar officially out of Pro Stock, just three Dodges are in the running for the 2017 season at this point, driven by Allen Johnson, Alan Prusiensky, and Deric Kramer.   See Dodge/Mopar racing.

Riley replacing Dodge Viper

The number 33, as worn by the Dodge Viper GTS-R that won its final race at the Petit Le Mans in October, will be seen on a 2017 AMG GT3 in the 2017 Season. Daimler announced that it is going to partner with long-time Dodge house Riley Motorsports in the GT Daytona class of IMSA’s WeatherTech Championship Series. A second Riley car will be sponsored by WeatherTech.

33 viper rolex