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Story and Photos: Steve Legel
Mopars in Milan, August 26 and 27, 2011.
That’s how we locals know it. But if you want to research it, you need to look up the National Muscle Car Association. (NMCA) They bring their drag racing challenges around the country offering big money prizes.
At this year’s show, in Milan, Michigan, the “Modern Muscle Shootout” was in full force, along with vintage Mopar drag cars and a few “run what ya brung” backyard racers. Big name teams like Tasca Ford and Rousch technologies were also on hand.
The Milan event is well organized with all day competition on the drag strip, a local car show with a DJ spinning tunes. A vendors midway gave attendees the opportunity to shop for performance goodies, or learn about new technology.
Among the vendors showcasing Modern Mopar was the Petty Legacy Garage and their Dodge Challenger. Modern Muscle Car performance parts showed off their Challenger, Mustang and Camaro, that are used in their magazine ads.
Modern Muscle Car is the sponsor of the Modern Muscle shootout. Owners of the current generation pony car (Mustang, Camaro and Challenger) are invited to compete for as much as $10,000 in prize money. At Milan, the threat of rain dampened the enthusiasm of many potential competitors, and in the end, only 9 racers were out on the track for a shot at the big purse.
I caught up with two new Challenger owners competing in the stock shoot out. Dan White, from Roseville Michigan was on hand with his Inferno Red 2011 392 SRT8. His Challenger is decked out with metallic silver racing stripes from front to rear and makes a distinctly fast look going down the strip. He mentioned the ease of shifting the “slap stick” option. He also told me, his softer race tires were really getting grip on the hot, sun soaked pavement.
Shawn Hibbs from Ontario, Canada, crossed the border in his nearly-race-ready 2009 B5 Blue SRT8. His car was listed as the fastest stock Mopar of the day, and told me his only modification was softer compound racing Mickey Thompsons on winter rims. Shawn’s time in the 1/4 mile was 13.3 seconds at 105.22 mph! He finished third in the shootout and won $1,000 prize money. Entrants for the shoot out applied via the Modern Muscle website with photos and videos of their modern muscle (Camaro, Mustang or Challenger).
The show and racing was largely dominated by cookie cutter looking Cobra Jet Mustangs; I did not see any Challengers, Barracudas or Road Runners of the 1970s competing in the racing. The real treat was wandering among the pit areas and enjoying the view of the sculpted 1960s vintage Dodge and Plymouth race cars. I saw their participation in both show and races as tribute to the durability and legacy of the Mopar heyday of drag racing machines.
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