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NHRA Racing: The Mopar Neon R/T Hemi Drag Car

by David Harris (2005)

Powered by a state-of-the-art 500 cubic inch Pro Stock Hemi engine, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Neon R/T pushes out more than 1,300 horsepower and has set the second quickest elapsed time in NHRA history - a quarter mile of 6,754 seconds (2001, Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, PA).

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Rookie driver and former IHRA Pro Stock World Champion Gene Wilson completes his first burnout as driver of the NHRA Mopar Parts Dodge Neon R/T

Campaigned by factory drivers Darrell Alderman, Gene Wilson and Larry Morgan, the car also holds the NHRA Pro Stock national speed record at 204.35, the only NHRA Pro Stock machine to ever eclipse the historical 204-mph mark.

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Three-time NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Pro Stock World Champion Darrell Alderman lines up before his first-round victory over Steve Schmidt at Gainesville Raceway in March 2002.

The new Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T made its competitive debut last July during the 2001 Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., where Alderman qualified it sixth in its maiden on-track voyage. Since then, then Pro Stock Neon R/T has been a real shot in the arm for Mopar's NHRA faithful, making six final- round appearances and winning two NHRA national events. Included in that parade was a stirring all Mopar final-round at the NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, as Mark Osborne earned his one-and-only victory for Dodge by nipping teammate Alderman at the stripe. It was the first all-Mopar NHRA final since the 1995 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona Raceway and the first NHRA Pro Stock victory for Mopar since 1997.

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Larry Morgan's crew prepares his Pro Stock Hemi before qualifying at Houston Raceway Park

The Pro Stock Hemi engine was introduced at the season-opening Winternationals of 2000. Only 16 weeks after it was first developed on a Chrysler engineer's computer screen, the new Pro Stock Hemi broke NHRA's national elapsed-time record with a 6.809-second blast in the night time air of Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park.

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Darrell Alderman (front right) celebrates his 28th NHRA national event victory with car owner David Nickens (front left) and the Nickens Racing crew at Gainesville Raceway.

The future is bright for the Mopar factory Pro Stock contingent, as Chrysler engineers busily work on designing the 2003 Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock machine. DC is utilizing space-age computer modeling and fluid dynamics to create a car that is (according to Mopar Motorsports Drag Racing Program Manager Brett Fischer) "being built absolutely the right way. It will take Mopar to the next level. To the level of dominance we haven't seen at Mopar since the early 1970s and early 1990s."

Stay tuned... or visit Allpar's racing forum!

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