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One Dart, one dad, one son, two wins

by Bill Cawthon on

On Friday, September 2, 2010, Dr. Jim Daniels drove a 1968 Super Stock Dodge Dart to victory in the Mopar Hemi Challenge at the NHRA U.S. Nationals. He defeated Dave Barton to win the trophy, and the $10,000 check.

There was some irony there; Barton, along with his brother Ray, built Daniels’ car and engine.


Friday night, that same Dart, with the same engine, won the 2016 Mopar Hemi Challenge.

This time, the driver was 20-year-old Jimmy Daniels, Jim’s son. The younger Daniels raced well through the eliminations but ultimately got a free pass to the win when his opponent, Stephen Hebert was too quick on the draw and pulled a right light foul. Daniels made a clean and quick 8.443-second pass at 154.90 mph

The younger Daniels, who wants to be a dentist like his father, collected the trophy, a special Mopar jacket and a bigger prize check for $15,000.

Daniels qualified in the No. spot for the Challenge. On his way to the win, he shut down Doug Fazzolare and his ’68 Dart, Matt Welker’s ’68 Plymouth Barracuda and Jim Pancake in anther ’68 Dart.

“This is just unbelievable,” said Daniels, a college biology major. “I’ve only had about three passes in the car before this. We struggled at the beginning of the year, going back to an automatic, and it just turned around this weekend. We did some work on it before the race, and everything just came together. It’s an unbelievable experience. If it wasn’t for my dad, and Ray and David for the awesome horsepower, and just the whole team effort, I couldn’t imagine leaving our home in Bristol, Pennsylvania, and saying, ‘I’m going to be in the winner’s circle Friday night.’ It’s unreal.”

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, 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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