Iconic Presenters announced for NHRA’s 2024 edition Hemi Challenge…

Sox & Martin and the McCandless Collection are thrilled to announce their sponsorship of the 2024 HEMI Challenge as part of the 70th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The world’s biggest and most prestigious drag race takes place Aug. 28-Sept. 2.

The HEMI Challenge is the longest running continuous specialty race in NHRA history and has been a fan favorite for over two decades. This event features exciting heads-up, wheel-standing, side-by-side racing of HEMI-powered 1968 Super Stock Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas competing in the NHRA SS/AH class. These limited production ‘HEMI Package Cars,’ built specifically for Super Stock competition, have been a part of drag racing history for more than five decades and made the Sox & Martin name legendary among fans and feared among the competition. The Sox & Martin HEMI Challenge presented by the McCandless Collection will elevate this celebrated event to even greater heights with an enhanced social media and marketing focus, bringing even more recognition to the hardworking and diehard SS/AH racers and their HEMI-powered machines.

“I’m so excited and pleased to have the Sox & Martin brand sponsor the HEMI Challenge at the 2024 NHRA US Nationals, especially since this is the 60th anniversary of this tremendous engine. I’ve always been attached to the 426 HEMI engine and Ronnie (Sox) won many races and championships driving HEMI-powered Plymouth race cars starting in 1965,” said Mopar legend Buddy Martin. “When we opened our new race shop back in the late 1960s, I intentionally used ‘426’ for our P.O. Box number. The 426 HEMI is legendary and the Mopar drivers who currently compete in the Super Stock HEMI class keep this iconic engine’s legacy alive for the next generation of racers. To see how fast these 1968 HEMI Barracudas and Darts are going today is simply amazing. To be a part of ‘The Big Go’ is an honor for me and the Sox & Martin name. I have many great memories from the NHRA US Nationals, including the 1969 event when Ronnie won Super Stock and then our back-to-back Pro Stock wins in 1970 and 1971 with Ronnie and Herb (McCandless) driving our team cars.”

Along with Buddy Martin serving as the Grand Marshal and Honorary Starter during the 2024 Sox & Martin NHRA HEMI Challenge presented by the McCandless Collection, another Mopar Legend, Herb McCandless, will once again be in the pits talking to racers, swapping stories, and up in the tower announcing the round-by-round action during this exciting event that’s been a part of the NHRA US Nationals tradition for more than two decades.

“If it wasn’t for Sox & Martin, there’d be no HEMI Challenge, no McCandless Collection, or even a Herb McCandless. Not only did Buddy Martin have a positive impacted in drag racing, but also in my racing career. When Buddy hired me to drive the team’s second Pro Stocker in 1970, it changed my life forever!” said Mopar icon and 1970 NHRA US Nationals Pro Stock champion Herb McCandless. “The annual HEMI Challenge is an event I look forward to every year and I’ve attended around 20 of them at Indy. Despite being the same basic engine and vehicle package we ran way back then, it’s mind boggling to see how fast these 1968 HEMI Barracudas and Darts are going now. The technology and refinement the racers have put into their cars is impressive and this year’s event will be extra special as it’s the 60TH anniversary of the 426 HEMI. I’m very proud of my son Mike (McCandless) in getting Sox & Martin and the McCandless Collection as the sponsor of the NHRA HEMI Challenge!”

Ronnie Sox & Buddy Martin

The Sox & Martin NHRA HEMI Challenge presented by the McCandless Collection is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30 at Indianapolis Raceway Park during the running of the 70th annual NHRA US Nationals. The Sox & Martin HEMI Challenge presented by the McCandless Collection is open to all NHRA SS/AH competitors and will require one Grade Point from a Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event or National Open before entering the NHRA US Nationals to compete in the HEMI Challenge. All SS/AH racers are encouraged to submit their event entry before Friday, Aug. 23.

“The HEMI Challenge has always been a huge part of the U.S. Nationals weekend, and to add Sox & Martin and the McCandless Collection to this great event will make the HEMI Challenge even more special,” NHRA Vice President and Chief Development Officer Brad Gerber said. “Those are iconic names in our sport and have been such incredible ambassadors for the HEMI and Mopar brands, which makes them a perfect fit for an event like the HEMI Challenge. We’re thrilled to have Sox & Martin and the McCandless Collection be a part of the biggest weekend in drag racing, and we can’t wait to see all these terrific cars compete in the HEMI Challenge.”

For more information about NHRA — visit www.NHRA.com.
Posted by NHRA Communications
Photos Courtesy of NHRA & DragRaceCanada Archives