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Mopar dropping Pro Stock

by Bill Cawthon on

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.

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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