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Dodge Factory Stock cars penalized with weight, still dominate

by Patrick Rall on

After dominating the Factory Stock Showdown at the US Nationals in Indianapolis, the NHRA penalized the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak teams, requiring them to add 50 pounds to the car. This was done in an effort to slow down the Hemi-powered machines and to give both the Ford Mustang Cobra Jet and the Chevrolet COPO Camaro a chance in the factory-spec class, but it didn’t work. At this past weekend’s Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the Drag Pak cars once again dominated, turning in record-setting elapsed times as Leah Pritchett raced to her second class in in a row.

At the US Nationals a few weeks back, Mopar drivers Mark Pawuk and Leah Prichett squared off in the finals with Leah taking the win. Shortly after that dominating effort, all of the Dodge drivers in the Factory Stock Showdown class were required to add 50 pounds to their cars in an effort to give the competitors a better chance of winning. As a result, the teams came into the Midwest Nationals unsure of how the Challengers would stand up to the Mustangs and Camaros, but the extra weight hardly made a difference.

In qualifying, Leah Pritchett became the first driver in the Factory Super Stock class to turn in an official 7-second quarter mile run, laying down a 7.936, but she had to settle for the second spot on the ladder when Mark Pawuk ran a 7.929 in his Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

In the first round, Pritchett won with a 7.948, making her the quickest driver in the class for that round and one of only two to get into the 7s. In the second round, none of the Factory Super Stock drivers ran in the 7s, but Pritchett won with the second-quickest time of the round (8.031). The quickest driver of the second round was Stephen Bell in his COPO Camaro, beating Pawuk in the Dodge.

In the semifinals, Leah Pritchett ran a class-leading 8.011 to beat Arthur Kohn and Stephen Bell ran an 8.132 to beat Aaron Stanfield – setting up a Dodge-VS-Chevy final round.

In the finals, Bell’s Camaro broke at the line, but Pritchett’s time of 8.001 would have been almost impossible to beat, so it was probably better that the Chevy just stayed home on the run.

The bottom line here is that after Ford and Chevy teams cried to the NHRA, the Mopar teams were penalized, but they are still running in the 7s and they are still dominating the Factory Stock class.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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