People, Places & Racing News

Racing News: MOPAR Now Taking Reservations for Race-Ready Challenger

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Mopar
Numerous enhancements to the ’21 Dodge Challenger MOPAR Drag Pak include an all-new 3.0L Whipple twin-screw supercharger, upgraded forged internals, new front accessory drive and a new fabricated aluminum ice tank with a clear lid that cools the supercharger intercooler.

MOPAR Now Taking Reservations for Race-Ready Challenger

Dodge//SRT and MOPAR are now taking reservations for the limited-production 50 serialized and non-VIN units of the new ’21 Dodge Challenger MOPAR Drag Pak. Order reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. At the heart of the new Drag Pak is the latest evolution of the supercharged 354-cubic-inch Gen-III HEMI V-8 engine, based on the same powerplant that won the 2018 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Factory Stock Showdown (FSS) and National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) Factory Supercar championships.

Numerous enhancements include an all-new 3.0L Whipple twin-screw supercharger, upgraded forged internals, new front accessory drive and a new fabricated aluminum ice tank with a clear lid that cools the supercharger intercooler. The engine combination has been fully validated by MOPAR engineers on the dyno, as well as the drag strip, and is approved for the NHRA FSS and NMCA classes. The new Drag Pak features an all-new roll cage fabricated to SFI Specification 25.5C (7.50 seconds ET NHRA certified) to not only handle the rigorous safety requirements of factory stock racing but also improve performance.

The all-new, four-link rear suspension is engineered to launch hard, quickly decimate the 60-ft. elapsed times and stay planted all the way down the quarter-mile. A new geometry setup with longer control arms increases the length of the rear swing arm, allowing better anti-squat control and increasing stability. It also incorporates a wishbone link for lateral control (replacing a Panhard Bar in prior models) and a larger-diameter anti-roll bar (250% stiffer than prior models).

A MOPAR K-member underpins the front suspension, featuring integrated solid engine mounts and a cut-out for easy oil pan removal. New for 2021 are exclusive double-adjustable Drag Pak-specific tuned Bilstein coilover shock absorbers supporting all four corners of the car. The new shocks improve weight transfer and body attitude for hard launches, as well as soak up track bumps and undulations at high speeds down the track. The shocks feature 10 settings (front and rear) for easy tuning of compression and rebound damping, allowing racers to adjust for diverse track conditions by simply turning the color-coded knobs.

Strange Engineering Pro Series II racing brakes on the front and rear provide ample stopping power after the finish line, with minimal losses due to brake drag on the way there.

The interior balances race-car function with factory comfort and technology. The instrument panel features a carbon-fiber bezel with three primary gauges—RPM, brake pressure and oil pressure. The driver bezel also features a Holley EFI Digital Dash with a 7-in., low-glare, full-color touchscreen display so drivers can tune and manage vehicle performance.

On the passenger side, a custom red and chrome Drag Pak serialized badge signifies the one-of-50 build sequence numbers. Driver comfort is achieved with the adjustable mounts that are included for the seats and racing pedals. Driver control is delivered through a mechanical floor shifter and lightweight steering column with quick-release steering wheel.   

An all-new motorsport electrical architecture setup includes the programmable Holley Dominator Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) vehicle-management system. In addition, a programmable Racepak Smartwire Power Distribution Module controls all electrical components using solid-state electronics, which eliminates the need for fuses and relays. These electronic modules are conveniently mounted to the body using bespoke mounts that allow for easy service with factory fit-and-finish.

A choice of lightweight Racetech composite seats and Racetech HANS-ready cam-lock harnesses are FIA- and SFI-compliant. Both driver and passenger seats feature the Drag Pak logo embroidered on the seat back; while the optional Head Restraint Seat Package features a winged driver seat.

Customers can head to www.dodgegarage.com/drag-pak to find complete vehicle configuration and ordering information. Production of the ’21 Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2021.

NMRA
Bill Putnam continued his hot streak in the category when he pushed the UPR Products SN95 Mustang to the top line of the qualifying sheet, thanks to an 8.52 at 161 mph, edging out Chad Wendel who posted an 8.55 performance.

Race Wrap—2020 Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals Presented by Force Engineering

Earlier this summer, the Holley NMRA Ford Nationals saw several changes to its schedule when the Ford Motorsports Nationals was rolled into the NMCA All-American Nationals and eventually bringing the double race to US 131 Motorsports Park. Ultimately, the event became known as the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals Presented by Force Engineering and it was spectacular with a record-setting 653 vehicles in competition between the two sanctioning bodies, all fighting to celebrate in the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle.

VP Racing Maddatives/Mickey Thompson Street Outlaw: Rob Goss faced off against Alan Felts in the finals. It was the classic supercharger vs. turbo match-up with Goss packing a ProCharger and Felts a turbo. The Dodge racer overcame a slight holeshot to drive past Felts with a 4.27 at 169 mph to a 4.35 at 168 mph.

Edelbrock Xtreme Street/Renegade: Defending Modified Street champion Martin Connelley met George Farkouh and his ’10 Camaro in the finals, where Connelley unleashed low ET event with a 4.64 at 153 mph to beat Farkouh’s 4.65 at 152 mph.

JDM Engineering Limited Street: Chad Wendel and Bill Putnam nearly match the other’s performance round after round until they found themselves in opposite lanes for the finals. Putnam used a perfect reaction time and record breaking 8.51 at 161 mph effort to visit the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle for the fourth straight event.

Richmond Gear Factory Stock: Veteran John Leslie Jr. grabbed the win over Mark Anderson and making a big move in locking down his first championship title.

G-Force Racing Transmissions Coyote Stock: Drew Lyons piloted Clair Stewart II’s notchback to the top qualifying position with a 10.13 at 130 mph. His luck continued on Sunday as he matched up against Nate Stymiest in the finals. Lyons got the automatic win when Stymiest went red at the launch. It would’ve been a close final as Lyons unleashed a 10.14 at 130 mph and Stymiest ran 10.20 at 130 mph.

ARP Open Comp: Gordon Harlow dispatched Scott Dronkers in the finals. Harlow ran 10.19 on a 10.14 index to best the local racer who ran 10.11 on a 10.02 index.

Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle: The final paired two veterans of the category: defending series champion Charlie McCulloch, who lined up against Adam Cox. The defending champion put together a great package when he nailed an 11.08 on a 10.96 to beat Cox to the stripe, who ran 10.26 on a 10.18.

ROUSH Performance Super Stang: Levi Wendel met defending world champion Larry Firestone in the big money round and drove right into the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle thanks to an 11.38 on an 11.29 index.

Detroit Locker Truck & Lightning: Randy Conway in his Coyote-powered Ranger faced Mike Roup in the final round, where Conway nailed a 10.29 on a 10.27 index to turn on the win light over Roup, who posted an 11.39 on an 11.33 in his ’70 Ford Ranchero.

Race Pages Ford Muscle: David Mormann faced former champion and the number-one qualifier Danny Towe in the final round, where Mormann posted a 16.14 on a 16.00 index to take his second trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle of the year.

QA1/TorqStorm True Street: Rick Baum blasted to the overall win with a 9.23 in his Mustang, while Shawn McAlees secured the runner-up finish with a 9.75 average in his Firebird. Other standouts included Jason Wagoner, the 10-second winner in his GT500, Bob Hoffman, the 11-second winner in his Buick, Billy Meier, the 12-second winner in his Mustang and Michael Town, the 13-second winner in his Challenger. Also going all the way were Cody Dronkers, the 14-second winner in his Mustang and Rodney Ward, the 15-second winner in his Fusion.

The Holley NMRA Ford Nationals resumes October 1-4, for the biggest Ford motorsport event of the year—the Nitto Tire NMRA World Finals + Holley Intergalactic Ford Festival—at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Chevrolet Performance
Regina Puckett scored a 12.00 on a 12.00 index to earn the win over Cody Poston, who broke out with a 10.48 on a 10.50 in the final round of eliminations.

Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series Drivers Motivated in Michigan

With Chevrolet headquarters located just two hours away in Detroit, drivers of the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series represented the car company during the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering, August 27-30, at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.

LME Street King: Dennis Butt drove to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle after a 10.04 on a 10.00 dial and a better reaction time against Kurt Anderson, with a 10.003 on a 10.00 dial.

Proform Rumble: Regina Puckett scored a 12.00 on a 12.00 index to earn the win over Cody Poston, who broke out with a 10.48 on a 10.50 in the final round of eliminations.

Chevrolet Performance Stock presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center: Ronnie Hackelton made it all the way to the final round of eliminations to find Shawn Calabrese waiting for him. When the tree dropped, both racers had comparable reaction times, but Calabrese earned the trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a 10.34 over Hackleton’s 10.56.

Chevrolet Performance Street Car Challenge: Don Dixon drove to the overall win with an 10.38 average in his GTO, while Norm Jensen nailed the runner-up finish with a 10.42 average in his Camaro. Other winners included Kevin Rowand in the 11-second category in his Corvette, Doug Boardwell in the 13-second category in his Camaro, Stacy Hurt in the 14-second category in her Corvette and Larry Firestone in the 15-second category in his Silverado.

The next time Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series racers meet, it will be to chase championships and to try to put themselves in prime spots in points at the season-ending 19th Annual Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance, September 24–27, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.

NMCA
Eric Gustafson and Adam Flamholc met in the final round of eliminations. They leaped off the line with nearly identical reaction times, and it was anybody’s race until Flamholc was forced to pedal it and Gustafson went on to a 3.70 to win.

NMCA All-American Nationals Presented by Force Engineering Race Wrap

More than 650 racers rolled in for the Arrington Performance NMRA/NMCA All-American Nationals presented by Force Engineering, August 27–30, at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan.

VP Racing Lubricants Xtreme Pro Mod: Eric Gustafson and Adam Flamholc met in the final round of eliminations. They leaped off the line with nearly identical reaction times, and it was anybody’s race until Flamholc was forced to pedal it and Gustafson went on to a 3.70 to win.

Holley EFI Factory Super Cars: Drew Skillman sailed to a 7.62 in his Mustang Cobra Jet to lead qualifying, and he remained on point on his way to the final round of eliminations to face his father Bill Skillman, who ran uncontested as Drew Skillman wasn’t able to make the call to the lanes.

ARP Nitrous Pro Street: Tony Gillig scored a 4.39 against Derik Trimmer, who trapped a 4.52.

Dart NA 10.5 presented by Diamond Pistons: Leonard Long set the pace with a 7.83 in his Mustang. He lined up alongside Robbie Blankenship in the final round of eliminations, and Blankenship blasted to a 7.76 to take the win over Long, who lapped a 7.84.

Coan Engineering Stock/Super Stock Combo: Mark Howard and Dave Swanson met in the final, where Howard had a better reaction time and an 11.21 on an 11.15 dial to earn the win over Swanson, who was 8.23 on an 8.17 dial.

Quick Fuel Technology Nostalgia Super Stock: Doug Wright wrapped up the win with a 9.39 on a 9.25 index over Bruce Lang, who dipped under his 9.75 index with a 9.73.

Detroit Truetrac Nostalgia Muscle: The final round belonged to Ron Geer and Chad Brewer, and Geer got to the win despite breaking out with a 11.42 on an 11.50 index as Brewer turned on the red light.

MagnaFuel Open Comp: Doug Winters took the trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a lifting 10.89 on a 10.53 when his opponent Dan Caissie was forced to get out of the throttle.

NMCA TorqStorm Superchargers and NMRA QA1 True Street: Rick Baum blasted to the overall win with a 9.23 in his Mustang, while Shawn McAlees secured the runner-up finish with a 9.75 average in his Firebird. Other standouts included Jason Wagoner, the 10-second winner in his GT500, Bob Hoffman, the 11-second winner in his Buick, Billy Meier, the 12-second winner in his Mustang and Michael Town, the 13-second winner in his Challenger. Also going all the way were Cody Dronkers, the 14-second winner in his Mustang and Rodney Ward, the 15-second winner in his Fusion.

Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout: John Keyes was the overall winner with a 9.89 average, while Tom Motycka was the runner-up with a 10.02 average. Alan Scruggs took the 10-second win, Jim Burr emerged as the 11-second winner, Jeff Smith secured the 12-second win and Alan Scanlan motored to the 13-second win. Putting the exclamation mark on the category was David Baker who was the 14-second winner. The eight quickest drivers in the Dodge//Mopar HEMI Shootout came together for the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 presented by Red Line Oil, and John Keyes arrived at the win with a 9.91, after Alan Scruggs was disqualified.

Ford Performance Cobra Jet Showdown presented by Watson Racing: Charlie Downing, who was clocking 10.30s and 10.40s throughout the weekend, drove to the win when Steve Trombley turned on the red light in the final round of eliminations.

Chevrolet Performance COPO Camaro Shootout presented by COPO Parts Direct: Todd Patterson pulled off the win with a 9.33 on a 9.07 dial over Mike Pustelny, who was 10.75 on a 9.64 dial. There was also a shootout for naturally aspirated cars only, and Rich Rinkie won with a 9.11 against Clarence Harding.

Motor City Muscle Challenge: Rob McDonnough led qualifying with an 8.89 in his Camaro, but Shawn Stanisewski prevented him from pushing to the win in the final round of eliminations, as he got to the finish line first with a 8.97 with McDonnough hot on his heels with a 9.02.

Bracket Mayhem: Kevin Groenveld defeated Jeff Klimp with a 5.63 on a 5.62 dial to Klimp’s 7.69 on a 7.61 dial.

The 19th Annual Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals, presented by Chevrolet Performance, will be held September 24–27, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana.

Pikes Peak
Clint Vahsholtz won the overall championship and the Open Wheel division at Pikes Peak. 

Clint Vahsholtz Is the King of the Mountain at Pikes Peak

Yokohama Tire-sponsored veteran racer Clint Vahsholtz won the overall championship and the Open Wheel division, while Blake “Bilko” Williams captured The Porsche Pikes Peak Trophy by Yokohama division at the 98th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Vahsholtz, driving a ’13 Ford Open covered the 12.42-mile Race to the Clouds in 9:35:490, setting a new record in the Open Wheel division. It was his first overall championship in 29 tries going up the mountain. Williams steered his ’16 Porsche GT4 Clubsport MR to the winner’s circle in 10:52.622.

Sanit Hand Sanitizer Teams Up With Justin Ashley Racing

Sanit Hand Sanitizer has joined Justin Ashley Racing and his Davis Motorsports team for the remainder of the 2020 season. Their new partnership is set to get off to a fast start beginning at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals on Labor Day Weekend. This event will also be host to the final round from the rain-delayed NHRA Summernationals held in Indianapolis just a few weeks earlier. Ashley is set to take on TJ Zizzo as they each compete for their first NHRA Top Fuel win. This will be the first time since 1997 two first time finalists will race in an NHRA Top Fuel final round.

California Hot Rod Reunion Canceled

The Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum officials have announced the cancellation of the 2020 California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Event participants and ticket holders will receive more information from the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum via mail soon.

Justin Ashley
MANSCAPED will be added to Justin Ashley’s 11,000-hp Top Fuel dragster as a major associate sponsor.

Justin Ashley Racing Adds Manscaped Beginning at US Nationals

National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Rookie of the Year contender Justin Ashley has announced that MANSCAPED will be added to his 11,000-hp Top Fuel dragster as a major associate sponsor. The marketing partnership will cover the remainder of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season beginning this weekend at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, September 4–6. MANSCAPED has activated in other forms of motorsports but this will be its first involvement in NHRA competition. Ashley will add MANSCAPED to his Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster to three prominent locations—the front of the rear wing, the capsule roof and the front side panels which will receive excellent coverage during the FOX broadcasts. 

Nitrous Supply Named Title Sponsor of NMCA World Street Finals

The NMCA Muscle Car Nationals has announced Nitrous Supply as the title sponsor of the NMCA World Street Finals, September 24–27, at Lucas Oil Raceway. It is the fifth and final event of the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals season with championship hopes and dreams hanging in the balance The Nitrous Supply NMCA World Street Finals is also home to the longest running LS-based event, the Chevrolet Performance LSX Shootout Presented by Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center. The traditional event adds in a few parties, several LS/LT categories, and big bonuses with LSX engine blocks for the Chevrolet Performance Challenge Series participants.

Sonoma
Steve Page

Sonoma Raceway President Set to Retire

After nearly three decades at the helm of one of Northern California’s premier motorsports facilities, Sonoma Raceway President and General Manager Steve Page announced that he will retire at the end of 2020. Page’s 29-year tenure at the road course and drag strip, which began in 1991 at then-Sears Point Raceway, spanned two owners and the evolution from an underdeveloped facility to a modern professional sports venue and performance automotive center. Page promoted and supervised events with a variety of the top racing series, including NASCAR, NHRA, and INDYCAR and more. In addition to ushering the 1,600-acre property through a $100 million modernization from 1999-2002, Page is a member of the Sonoma County business and non-profit community. Under his leadership, the Sonoma chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities has distributed more than $6.8 million to Sonoma County nonprofit youth organizations since 2001. Speedway Motorsports, the raceway’s parent company, will launch a national search to recruit candidates for the position.

LOORS
Each of the next two events—September’s visit to Arizona’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and October’s visit to Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway—will expand from weekend doubleheaders into three-day affairs.

LOORRS Expands Arizona and California Events for 2020

The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) presented by GEICO has announced an update to the current championship schedule that will ultimately condense the remaining events on the calendar into back-to-back tripleheaders. Each of the next two events—September’s visit to Arizona’s Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and October’s visit to Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway—will expand from weekend doubleheaders into three-day affairs. The expansion of the events means the originally scheduled November race at Wild Horse Pass will no longer take place, according to series officials. With the updated schedule, the race at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park will now take place September 18–20. The new season finale at Glen Helen Raceway will occur one week later than originally scheduled and will now commence October 16–18. The final day serves as the Lucas Oil Challenge Cup, which annually brings each season to a conclusion. In accordance with local health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19, each of these remaining races will be run as competitor-only events, with no spectator access permitted.

Remaining 2020 NHRA Season Announced

NHRA has announced the remainder of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. In collaboration with all stakeholders, NHRA plans to hold six national events to complete the 2020 season. Dates for the remaining NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series are as follows:

  • September 3-6: Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis
  • September 25-27: Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Florida
  • October 2-4: Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil, St. Louis
  • October 14-18: AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas
  • October 23-25: Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil, Houston
  • October 30-November 1: Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil, Las Vegas

At the conclusion of the Dodge NHRA Finals in Las Vegas, the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will crown its four champions in each of the respective professional categories, including Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Speedway Motorsports Announces Two Promotions

Speedway Motorsports' CEO Marcus Smith has announced the promotion of two veterans within the company. David MacDonald has been named vice president of marketing for Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he will also oversee responsibilities for the marketing efforts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. In addition, longtime Charlotte Motor Speedway Vice President of Communications Scott Cooper has been promoted to senior vice president of public relations for Speedway Motorsports. Cooper will retain his role as the head of the track's communications team, while also overseeing responsibilities for New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Speedway Motorsports.

For more racing news, visit Performance Racing Industry’s (PRI) website.