Hemis Warming Up!

One of the most anticipated annual Sportsman racing highlites of the year is coming up soon as North America’s most elite SS/AH class racers make ready for the 2012 Mopar® HEMI® Challenge set for August 30–31 at Indy….

The 2012 Mopar® HEMI® Challenge will take to the track for the 12th consecutive year during the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, Aug. 30–31. For the second straight year, $15,000 will go to the winner of the Mopar HEMI Challenge, which pairs Mopar-powered Super Stock/A-HEMI (SS/AH) competitors against each other in a high-stakes quarter-mile showdown.

The Mopar HEMI Challenge began as a one-race shootout at the 2001 Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, and returned to that format last year, after a number of seasons as a multi-event mini-series. The race features 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas — the classic package cars that helped build the Mopar brand’s impressive reputation at the drag strip — engaged in quarter-mile battles.

“The Mopar HEMI Challenge continues to grow and build momentum each year,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The NHRA Sportsman drag racers that compete in the Mopar HEMI Challenge are the backbone of the sport, and have a passion for the Mopar brand that they carry with them wherever they go. The Mopar HEMI Challenge is a great way to recognize their passion and dedication to the brand and the sport.”

“We are excited to have the Mopar HEMI Challenge event return as part of the tradition-rich Mac Tools U.S. Nationals,” said Eric Lotz, director of field marketing, NHRA. “It has become an important part of the event and a must-see for all sportsman racing enthusiasts.”

Mopar HEMI Challenge qualifying is set for Thursday, Aug. 30, with eliminations scheduled for Friday, Aug. 31. The Mopar HEMI Challenge final round will take place during Funny Car and Top Fuel qualifying rounds on Friday. Along with the $15,000 winner’s purse, $1,500 will be awarded to the runner-up, with $500 going to both the third and fourth-place finishers. The No. 1 Qualifier during the Mopar HEMI Challenge will also take home $500.

Charlie Westcott Jr., of Parma, Mich., was victorious over his father, Charlie Westcott Sr., at Indy in 2011, earning his fourth-career Mopar HEMI Challenge win at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. The second-generation driver won the event for the first time in 2005 and repeated in 2006. The veteran driver was also victorious in 2008.

Bucky Hess won the inaugural Mopar HEMI Challenge at Indy in 2001. Richard Beshore claimed the top prize the following year, with Jerry Jenkins taking the win in 2003. Four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. won the Mopar HEMI Challenge in 2004, while Rick Houser captured the 2007 edition of the event, with Charlie Westcott Sr. joining his son as an Indy winner in 2009. Jim Daniels took home the hardware in 2010.

12th Annual Mopar HEMI Challenge

The 12th Annual Mopar HEMI Challenge is scheduled to take place Aug. 30–31 during the 58th Annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind. The Mac Tools U.S. Nationals is scheduled to take place Aug. 29–Sept. 3.

For more information on the Mopar HEMI Challenge or Mac Tools U.S. Nationals visit:  www.nhra.com

Posted by:  Darren Jacobs –  Photos by:  Bruce Biegler