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Mopar unveils new NHRA Pro Stock Dodge Avenger

by Bill Cawthon on

Mopar announced it will launch a new Pro Stock Dodge Avenger today. It will compete in the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Those attending the 2009 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show will among the first to check out the new drag racing car. The new Avenger will be shown at Booth # 43127.

The Mopar Dodge Avenger replaces the previous Dodge Stratus R/T body, which has been in use since the middle of the 2003 racing season.

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) has already approved the new Avenger for competition. The car is scheduled to make its competition debut at the 50th Annual Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California, Feb. 11-14, 2010.

The new Pro Stock Mopar Dodge Avenger was developed in-house at Chrysler Group LLC. The project utilized Chrysler Group LLC tools and resources also employed to build the production Dodge Avenger, creating a connection between the street and the quarter-mile.

“The introduction of the new NHRA Pro Stock Dodge Avenger will invigorate our Mopar-powered Pro Stock racers,” said Jim Sassorossi, Director-Mopar Global Parts Sales and Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC. “The production Dodge Avenger is a perfect template for the drag strip. The Dodge Avenger’s bold styling and aggressive looks communicate the performance capability of the Dodge brand’s mid-size sedan.”

The greatest challenge to the Dodge Motorsports Engineering team tasked with the project was maintaining maximum identity of the Dodge Avenger in the new body without forsaking performance on the drag strip.

“Our team worked within NHRA’s rules to balance aerodynamic performance goals and maximize Dodge Avenger identity,” said Joe Vitous, SRT & Motorsports Aero-Thermal Manager. “The new Mopar Dodge Avenger meets or exceeds the aero goals we established.”

Mopar-powered NHRA Pro Stock drivers, including Team Mopar driver Allen Johnson, worked closely with the Dodge Motorsports Engineering team to ensure the new Pro Stock Dodge Avenger was large enough to accommodate all safety features, such as the roll cage and quick ingress and egress in case of an emergency. The size of the front door of the Avenger was adjusted to maximize driver safety.

“I’m very excited to race the new Mopar Dodge Avenger,” Johnson commented. “We’ve been racing the Stratus since mid-2003. Just having a change is an upgrade. We feel we’ve been at a disadvantage with some of our competitors who have been racing in newer bodies for the last few years. I was fitted for the new body in late September. NHRA was there, and we spent a lot of time going over the templates. That was exciting. I’m glad we’re going ahead full bore.”

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.


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