AUBURN HILLS, MI – August 23, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –
- 63rd annual NHRA U.S. Nationals scheduled for August 30 – September 4 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana
- 17th annual Mopar HEMI® Challenge pits SS/AH racers head-to-head in original Mopar package cars: 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas on August 31 – September 1
- Mopar Sportsman Appreciation Night on Thursday, August 31 will recognize loyal Mopar-powered Sportsman competitors
- Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicles to compete in Factory Stock Showdown class
- Yearlong contingency programs include Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Drag Pak Rewards Program, Mopar Contingency, Tom Hoover points and Dodge Top Finisher
- Mopar and Dodge displays on Manufacturers Midway to feature fan-friendly activities
Each year, the prestigious U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis bring together not only the best Pro drag racers in the world, but also the top Sportsman competitors from all categories. Mopar’s Sportsman racers have reached national and divisional winner’s circles across the country this season, and during Labor Day weekend they will be a major part of “The Big Go.”
The Mopar HEMI® Challenge Returns for 17th Consecutive Year
2017 marks the 17th edition of the Mopar HEMI Challenge, a unique event in which Super Stock/Automatic HEMI (SS/AH) drivers battle for bragging rights in 1968 HEMI-powered Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas: the original Mopar package cars. The vehicles were purpose-built for the drag strip and served as the precursor to today’s Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicles.
The winner claims $15,000 and a HEMI Challenge trophy, while the event also provides a cash payout to the top 16 finishers. All competitors receive special HEMI Challenge decals, hats and limited-edition posters.
“We take pride in how our classic Mopar package cars have remained so popular close to 50 years after they were introduced,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “As we celebrate our brand’s 80th anniversary in 2017, we continue to support the passion and commitment of our Sportsman racers not only through the Mopar HEMI Challenge, but also with contingency programs and our modern-day package car, the Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.”
Mopar Sportsman Appreciation Night Fetes Racers
The night before the HEMI Challenge winner is crowned, the Mopar brand’s annual Sportsman Appreciation Night will take place at Lucas Oil Raceway from 7 – 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 31. Food and drinks, special guest speakers, demonstrations by SRT engineers, Mopar raffle giveaways, trivia and more are on the docket to reward the multitude of loyal Mopar Sportsman racers. In addition, the prestigious Presidents’ Award will be handed out to one particularly deserving individual who is synonymous with the Mopar brand.
Pritchett to Compete in Charity Challenge Match Race
Mopar Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett will also make headlines in a Dodge Challenger during the U.S. Nationals, thanks to her participation in the fourth “Charity Challenge” match race of 2017. In each event, Pritchett drives a Challenger specially configured for drag racing and featuring a supercharged Mopar Gen III HEMI engine against Papa John’s Pizza founder and CEO John Schnatter. Each race raises money for the Infinite Hero Foundation.
Pritchett to Battle in Factory Stock Showdown
The U.S. Nationals will serve as the site of the 2017 season’s fourth Factory Stock Showdown as well. The program is a five-event showcase in which modern American factory muscle competing in Stock Eliminator goes head to-head on the strip for points, cash and trophies. Pritchett will make her Factory Stock Showdown debut in a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at the event, and Mopar Drag Pak drivers Geoff Turk and David Collette are also expected to participate.
Drivers Battle for Mopar Contingency Program Rewards
All Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak drivers are eligible for the Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Drag Pak Rewards Program. The initiative, new for this year, recognizes the top 20 Drag Pak racers under the program’s points system. Points are awarded based on performance in all national events, including the Factory Stock Showdown. All Mopar Sportsman racers competing in any category are also eligible for the Mopar Contingency Program, which provides monetary awards for drivers who win or finish runner-up while running a Mopar contingency decal and utilizing the brand’s valve covers, intake manifolds and cylinder heads.
Additionally, the Mopar Sportsman driver who accumulates the most points over the year in Stock Eliminator or Super Stock will receive the Tom Hoover award, which features a cash prize and a special trophy. The race for the Hoover award is currently led by Kevin Helms, who also sits atop the overall NHRA Stock Eliminator point standings in a 2013 Dodge Challenger.
Also new in 2017 is the Dodge Top Finisher award, which provides $500 to the Stock and Super Stock competitors who advance the furthest at all 24 national events behind the wheel of a Dodge or Plymouth vehicle.
Mopar and Dodge Displays Feature Fan-friendly Activities
On top of watching the on-track action during the U.S. Nationals, fans will be able to visit both the Mopar and Dodge display trailers on Lucas Oil Raceway’s Manufacturers Midway. Enthusiasts can test their mettle in Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, and compete for prizes throughout the weekend while learning more about all of the Mopar and Dodge offerings. The Mopar and Dodge display trailers are present at 15 NHRA national events throughout the 2017 season.
About Mopar Motorsports
The Mopar brand’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2016, thanks to Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps, Mopar captured its fourth NHRA Funny Car World Championship in the last six years. As Mopar celebrates 80 years as a brand in 2017, it will focus its NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series efforts on NHRA Funny Car and, with rising star Leah Pritchett, NHRA Top Fuel Dragster. Mopar will also bolster its commitment to NHRA Sportsman racing with new contingency rewards, factory support and at-track technical advice and guidance.
During the brand’s 80 years, Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
- wiADVISOR: first to incorporate a tablet-based service lane tool
- Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals on a smartphone app
80 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was born on August 1, 1937, as the name of a line of antifreeze products. Mopar has since evolved over 80 years to serve as the total service, parts and customer-care brand of all FCA vehicles around the globe.
Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand’s global reach distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in over 150 markets around the world. With more than 50 parts distribution centers and 25 customer contact centers globally, Mopar integrates service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance customer and dealer support worldwide.
Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.
Source: FCA US LLC