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Mopar‘s NHRA Nats prep

by David Zatz on

Mopar is setting up for drag racing and special events at the 62nd Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, slated for August 31-September 5 near Indianapolis.

The event will see a two-time Pro Stock champion doing double duty in a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, racers battling for a chance to be in the playoffs, and a clash of classic Mopar Hemi-powered competitors.

Dodge-Enders-USNatls-Web

Defending Pro Stock champ Erica Enders will run her Dodge Dart Pro Stocker, then switch to a supercharged-Hemi Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in the Factory Stock Showdown.

Erica Enders said, “It’s definitely a cool deal that Mopar and Dodge asked me to drive the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at Indy. It will be something interesting. I have never competed in that before, and being that it’s at the U.S. Nationals, it’s obviously very prestigious, so we will go out there and see what happens.

“I already have a license in Stock, so it wasn’t a big deal. I’m licensed in almost every class except for Funny Car and Top Fuel, so that wasn’t an issue. I did, however, go up to Detroit and get fitted for the car …. I haven’t foot-brake raced since Jr. Dragsters, so that’s 20-something years ago. To go up there and not have a pro Tree and not leave with a clutch or a transbrake button..,it was fun and exciting..”

Enders will be in the lanes at Lucas Oil Raceway starting on Wednesday, along with nearly 200 fellow Sportsman competitors.

Enders-Mopar-Web

The Nationals are also the last chance for drivers to crack the top ten in the standings, so they can qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, a six-event series that will determine the 2016 World Championship. All four Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) Dodge Charger R/T funny Car drivers have already clinched their berths, with Ron Capps securing the top spot in the order. Going into this weekend’s racing, Jack Beckman stands #4, Matt Hagan at #5, and Tommy Johnson Jr. at #8.

In Pro Stock, Allen Johnson is secure at #4; while Enders is currently ninth in the order, one spot ahead of Jeg Coughlin Jr. Enders and Coughlin need to outlast Alex Laughlin to sew up their tickets to the Countdown.

Leah Pritchett and her Mopar Top Fuel dragster team are tied for tenth, locked in a duel with Terry McMillen. Eight-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher has clinched his berth and will battle for his ninth crown.

Finally, the Mopar-powered Super Stock/Automatic-HEMI (SS/AH) Sportsman class competitors will go head-to-head, with over twenty 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas entered. Qualifying will take place Thursday, September 1, with eliminations on Friday, September 2. The champion will earn the $15,000 winner’s prize and a 42.6-pound Hemi Challenge trophy.

Mopar will recognize its grassroots racers at the annual Mopar Sportsman Appreciation Night on Thursday, September 1, from 7 to 9 p.m.  In addition to free food and drinks, Mopar Sportsman racers can participate in tech seminars and Q&A sessions with Mopar and FCA US engineers, and meet drag racing legends Herb McCandless and Tom Coddington. There are drawings throughout the night, with prizes including Gen II Hemi  aluminum heads and a set of Mopar 6.4L heads.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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