AUBURN HILLS, Mich. /PRNewswire/ --The Dodge//SRT brand will return as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI® Challenge, marking the 19th consecutive year of FCA US LLC sponsorship of the popular NHRA Sportsman event at the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
The 19th annual NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge take place August 29-30 at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis as part of the six days of race action at the 65th annual U.S. Nationals. The event showcases Super Stock/A-HEMI (SS/AH) NHRA Sportsman class competitors battling on the quarter-mile in 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda machines powered by the MoPar 426 HEMI engine.
"The NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge is a fan-favorite tradition at the U.S. Nationals, and we're proud to continue as title sponsor during one of the most prestigious events on the NHRA circuit," said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, and Head of Parts and Service (MoPar) – FCA North America. "It speaks volumes about the legacy of our brand at the drag strip and the passion of our fans to see HEMI-engine-powered vehicles from more than 50 years ago side-by-side in the staging lanes next to our modern-day Dodge drag cars."
The legendary 1968 MoPar "package" cars — so named because they were purpose-built as a distinct "package" for use solely on the drag strip — serve as precursors to the modern-day package car, the MoPar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.
Competitors will vie for the unique 42.6-lb NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created as a callout to the 426 HEMI engine. All 16 drivers to reach the elimination rounds will receive cash rewards, with the winner walking away with the ultimate prize of the $15,000 winner's purse.
"Fans love the Dodge HEMI Challenge as much as our Sportsman racers do," said Brad Gerber, NHRA Vice President and Chief Development Officer. "The competition gets more intense every year thanks to the effort Dodge puts in to this event. We can't wait to see who walks away with the trophy this year."
NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge: Roster of Champions
The inaugural HEMI Challenge was won by Bucky Hess at Indianapolis in 2001. Richard Beshore claimed the top prize the following year, Jerry Jenkins took the victory in 2003 and Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. triumphed in 2004. In 2005, Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, began a run of six career HEMI Challenge wins (2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014).
His streak of victories was interrupted by Rick Houser in 2007 and 2013; his father Charlie Westcott Sr. in 2009; and Jim Daniels who took bragging rights in 2010. Lloyd Wofford claimed victory in 2015 at the 15th anniversary event. Jim Daniels' son, Jimmy Daniels, made history last year by becoming the first driver to triumph in three consecutive events, claiming the 2018 NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge win to go along with his 2016-2017 victories.
Dodge//SRT offers a complete lineup of performance vehicles.
For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge, who founded the brand in 1914. Their influence continues today. New for 2019, the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is possessed by the Demon. Its 797-horsepower supercharged HEMI® high-output engine makes it the most powerful, quickest and fastest muscle car reaching 0-60 miles per hour (mph) in 3.4 seconds and the fastest GT production car with a ¼-mile elapsed time (ET) of 10.8 seconds at 131 mph. It also reaches a new top speed of 203 mph. Joining the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye is the 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its more powerful 717-horsepower engine, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, which features fender flares from the SRT Hellcat Widebody and adds 3.5 inches of width to Scat Pack's footprint, as well as and the new Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320. Infused with exclusive drag strip technology from the iconic Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 is a drag-oriented, street-legal muscle car and a blank canvas for the serious grassroots drag racer. The 2019 Dodge Durango SRT, America's fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV with a best-in-class tow rating of 8,700 lbs. fills out the brands' performance lineup. These visceral performance models join a 2019 brand lineup that includes the Durango, Grand Caravan, Journey, Charger and Challenger — a showroom that offers performance at every price point.
MoPar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the MoPar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide.
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.
Complete information on the MoPar brand is available at www.mopar.com.