Mopar to Highlight Sportsman Racing, Pro Drivers Positioning for Playoff Berths at NHRA U.S. Nationals

 

PR Newswire — August 29, 2016

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug, 29. 2016 /PRNewswire/ —

— Erica Enders to take wheel of Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory
Stock Showdown at Indy
— NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Mopar-powered professional racers
jockey for spots in Countdown playoffs
— 16th Annual Mopar HEMI® Challenge set for September 1-2 at Lucas Oil
Raceway
— Mopar Sportsman Appreciation Night to recognize grassroots racers
— Final Mopar ‘Top Eliminator’ winner to be chosen at U.S. Nationals
The Mopar brand is fueled and ready to hit the ignition switch on a jam-packed
slate of drag racing and special events at the 62nd Annual NHRA U.S. Nationals,
scheduled to take place August 31-September 5 near Indianapolis.

The tradition-rich Labor Day weekend event will feature a Pro Stock champion
performing double duty in a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, Mopar-powered
professional racers battling to earn berths in the six-event NHRA Countdown to
the Championship playoffs, a clash of classic Mopar HEMI® engine-powered
competitors and much more on tap at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Enders to Race Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak in Factory Stock Showdown at U.S.
Nationals
Downtime will be rare for defending NHRA Pro Stock series champ Erica Enders at
the U.S. Nationals. In addition to steering her Mopar Performance Dodge Dart Pro
Stocker, Enders will also compete in a Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicle
in the School of Automotive Machinists & Technology Factory Stock Showdown at
Indy. She’ll take the wheel of a supercharged 354-cubic-inch Gen III HEMI
engine-powered Mopar Dodge Drag Pak prepped by the Joe Welch Racing organization
and outfitted in official Dodge and Mopar graphics.

“We are thrilled to have an NHRA champion like Erica Enders carry the Mopar and
Dodge colors into competition not only in Pro Stock, but also in the Factory
Stock Showdown,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA –
Global. “The U.S. Nationals event provides a great opportunity to put Erica in
the seat of a supercharged Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak and reach a wider
audience of fans at one of the most prestigious events on the NHRA circuit.”

“Dodge already has the most powerful muscle cars on the street with the
707-horsepower Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats and now America’s
performance brand brings even more muscle to the track with the supercharged
Drag Pak,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and
FIAT, FCA – North America. “The ‘Domestic. Not Domesticated.’ Dodge spirit will
be at full throttle for racing fans to see at the NHRA U.S. Nationals.”

“I’m pretty excited,” said Enders. “It’s definitely a cool deal that Mopar and
Dodge asked me to drive the Dodge Challenger Drag Pak at Indy. It will be
something interesting. I have never competed in that before, and being that it’s
at the U.S. Nationals, it’s obviously very prestigious, so we will go out there
and see what happens.

“I already have a license in Stock, so it wasn’t a big deal. I’m licensed in
almost every class except for Funny Car and Top Fuel, so that wasn’t an issue. I
did, however, go up to Detroit and get fitted for the car, and we tested for one
day. I was able to do some burnouts and take the Tree a couple of times. I
haven’t foot-brake raced since Jr. Dragsters, so that’s 20-something years ago.
To go up there and not have a pro Tree and not leave with a clutch or a
transbrake button, it’s definitely a different procedure. It was fun and
exciting. It’s a blower car, so that will be cool.”

Pro Stock qualifying for Enders doesn’t begin until Friday night, but she’ll be
in the lanes at Lucas Oil Raceway starting on Wednesday, along with nearly 200
fellow Sportsman competitors hitting the strip.

Team Mopar NHRA Pro Drivers Fight for Countdown Spots
The prestigious NHRA U.S. Nationals also represents the final race in the
18-event NHRA regular season, and the last chance for drivers to crack the top
10 in the standings in order to qualify for the six-event Countdown to the
Championship playoffs, which begin September 16-18 in Charlotte.

In NHRA Funny Car, all four Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) drivers have steered
their Mopar Dodge Charger R/T machines to Countdown playoff spots. Ron Capps has
locked up the No. 1 seed, with DSR teammates Jack Beckman (No. 4), Mopar Express
Lane Dodge pilot Matt Hagan (No. 5) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (No. 8) looking to
improve their position in the standings before championship points are reset
following the Indy race.

The playoffs fight is especially tight in Pro Stock, where a semifinals run at
the NHRA Brainerd race jumped Mopar Performance Dodge Dart driver and two-time
series champ Enders to ninth in the standings, one spot ahead of her Magneti
Marelli Offered by Mopar Dodge Dart teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr. The pair will look
to nail down their Pro Stock playoff positions at Indy. Mopar-powered Marathon
Dodge Dart racer Allen Johnson, currently fourth in the standings, has already
punched his ticket into the Countdown.

It’s also coming down to the wire for Leah Pritchett and her Mopar Top Fuel
dragster team. Pritchett is tied for 10th in the standings and locked in a
neck-and-neck playoff spot duel with Terry McMillen. Mopar-fueled U.S. Army
driver and eight-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Tony Schumacher has already clinched
his berth and will battle for his ninth crown.

Mopar HEMI®Challenge Back for 16th Year
Mopar-powered Super Stock/Automatic-HEMI (SS/AH) Sportsman class competitors
will go head-to-head on the quarter-mile in the 16th Annual Mopar HEMI Challenge
at Lucas Oil Raceway. More than 20 1968 HEMI-powered Dodge Dart and Plymouth
Barracuda machines — considered the classic Mopar package cars — are currently
entered in the event. Qualifying will take place Thursday, September 1, with
eliminations on Friday, September 2.

The event champion will earn the $15,000 winner’s prize and a unique HEMI
Challenge trophy weighing 42.6 lbs. All entrants will receive special Mopar HEMI
Challenge decals, hats and posters, as well as a numbered print by artist John
Jodauga.

The Mopar HEMI Challenge made its debut in 2001 at the U.S. Nationals, featuring
the classic muscle cars that contributed to the brand’s legendary reputation and
success at the drag strip. The 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda “package
cars,” factory-built for the strip, were precursors to the Mopar Dodge
Challenger Drag Pak vehicles that compete today in the NHRA Stock and Super
Stock classes.

Mopar Recognizes Sportsman Racers
Mopar will recognize its passionate grassroots racers at the brand’s annual
Mopar Sportsman Appreciation Night on Thursday, September 1, from 7 to 9 p.m.
NHRA’s Joe Castello will serve as emcee for the event.

In addition to free food and drinks, Mopar Sportsman racers can participate in
tech seminars and Q&A sessions with Mopar and FCA US engineers, and meet drag
racing legends Herb McCandless and Tom Coddington. Racers in attendance can also
enter to win multiple Mopar drawings throughout the night, with prizes including
a set of Gen II HEMI engine aluminum cylinder hears, a set of Mopar 6.4L heads
and many more Mopar giveaways.

Final 2016 Mopar “Top Eliminator” Winner Chosen
The 10th year of the Mopar “Top Eliminator” program will wrap up with the third
award-winning owner and vehicle chosen from among the many Mopar Sportsman
entries at the U.S. Nationals.

The long-running Mopar “Top Eliminator” program represents the “best of the
best” in Mopar-modified creations and was created in 2007 to recognize
enthusiasts who display excellence in modifying, enhancing or preserving a
Mopar-powered ride.

An outstanding Mopar-powered drag race vehicle and owner will be chosen as the
final 2016 Mopar “Top Eliminator” winner during Labor Day weekend at Lucas Oil
Raceway. Winners were also chosen in June at the Midwest Mopars in the Park car
show in Farmington, Minnesota, and in July at the Carlisle Chrysler Nationals in
Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

About Dodge Brand
The Dodge brand is America’s mainstream performance brand. With the purification
of the brand and consolidation with SRT, Dodge is getting back to its
performance roots with every single model it offers. The Dodge and SRT brands
offer a complete lineup of performance vehicles that stand out within their own
segments. Dodge is the “mainstream performance” brand and SRT is positioned as
the “ultimate performance” halo of the Dodge brand, together creating a complete
and balanced performance brand with one vision and one voice.

From muscle cars to compact cars, minivans, crossovers and full-size SUVs, the
Dodge brand’s full lineup of 2016 models deliver best-in-class horsepower,
class-exclusive technology, unmatched capability and a slew of cool features,
such as LED headlamps, Dodge signature racetrack tail lamps, dual exhaust,
8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment centers and 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT)
customizable gauge clusters, to name a few. For the 2016 model year, customers
will be able to drive the new 2016 Dodge Charger and Challenger, as well as the
Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat. The Dodge brand lineup
also includes the Dodge Dart, Durango, Grand Caravan and Journey, including the
Crossroad model, and its flagship, the Dodge Viper.

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, Mopar will look to
once again vie for a NHRA World Championship title in both Pro Stock and Funny
Car categories. While Mopar remains involved in various professional motorsports
series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of Sportsman
racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar’s
Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge.

About Mopar Brand
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked in
1937 with the launch of an antifreeze product, but it truly made its mark in the
1960s during the muscle-car era. From Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed
and handling for both road and racing use, the brand soon expanded to include
technical service and customer support.

Today, Mopar is the service, parts and customer-care brand of FCA US LLC and
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 dealer and customer support worldwide. Mopar is the source
for genuine parts and accessories for FCA brands.

Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create
factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles. This offers a direct
connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list
of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160826/401794

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