Dodge HEMI® Challenge Celebrates 20th Anniversary during a “Big Go”

September 2, 2021

, Indianapolis, IN

The ever renouned Dodge HEMI® Challenge celebrates a 20th anniversary during a National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) prestigious Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals, affectionately famous as a “Big Go,” during Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis this weekend. The longest running, continuous, specialty foe in NHRA story facilities heads-up, circle standing, corresponding racing of selected HEMI-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda “package cars” that have dominated a NHRA Super Stock (SS/AH) category for some-more than 5 decades.

In jubilee of a classical flesh cars that contributed to a Dodge and Mopar brands’ mythological repute and success during a drag strip, Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals Grand Marshal Herb “Mr. 4 Speed” McCandless will also offer in a same purpose for a Dodge HEMI Challenge and lead a margin of competent Darts and Barracudas down a Indianapolis track’s legendary lapse highway in a march before to Friday’s eliminations rounds aboard his possess strange 1968 Super Stock HEMI Dart. 

The leader of a Dodge HEMI Challenge takes home a singly crafted 42.6-lb. trophy, done from a 426 HEMI cylinder head. All 16 drivers who strech a rejecting rounds will accept money rewards, with a leader earning an additional $15,000 prize.
 
Among a participants opposed for a iconic custom-made esteem and bragging rights will be motorist Bucky Hess II, leader of a initial book of a (then Mopar) Dodge HEMI Challenge that took place in 2001.

“It was a best HEMI Challenge ever and to be means to share that with my mother and son done it so special,” pronounced Hess. “When we came adult a lapse highway during Indy, a stands were full and a whole throng stood and gave us a station acclaim as we gathering by in my HEMI Barracuda. It looked like a call during a football game. They (NHRA) were using a Pro Stock subordinate eventuality and they stopped them to let us expostulate by to a front of a tower. Like they say, a initial is a one they will always remember and I’ll never forget that dusk during a 2001 NHRA U.S. Nationals.” 

Other prior winners of a fan-favorite eventuality that relives a extraordinary story of factory-supported drag racing embody Richard Beshore (2002), Jerry Jenkins (2003) and five-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. (2004), Charlie Westcott Sr. (2009), Jim Daniels Sr. (2010) and Rick Houser (2007 and 2013). Charlie Westcott Jr. is a winningest HEMI Challenge motorist with 6 titles (2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014).

Jim Daniels Jr. earnings in his selected HEMI-powered ’68 Dodge Dart as a four-time leader (2016-2019) after saying his record four-year, 19-round uninterrupted win strain come to an finish final year with a initial turn loss.

“The success that we have had in a Dodge HEMI Challenge feels like you’re on cloud nine,” pronounced a 25-year-old Daniels, who stays a favorite as a front curtain during this year’s event. “Having a eventuality to win one Dodge HEMI Challenge is an comprehensive dream come true, though being means to win 4 uninterrupted events was out of this world. This is a foe we ready for all year so when we are winning during a finish of a day, it’s all a large dream come true.

“The foe is really going to be tough during this year’s event,” combined Daniels. “You are going to have a handful of cars that are some-more than able of winning a event. You can’t take any of these guys easily as they are all gunning for that overwhelming HEMI cylinder conduct esteem and a $15,000 check. The foe will be tough, so we contingency be prepared. The Dodge HEMI Challenge is intensely critical to me. This is a one foe we put a ton of time and resources into any and each year and it is by distant one of my biggest achievements in my racing career.”

A new leader was crowned final year when Stephen Yantus III gathering a ’68 Barracuda from a No. 1 qualifier position by eliminations, where he set a low elapsed time and tip speed of a eventuality with an 8.410-second, 158.65-mph run to acquire a feat and desired trophy.

“The 2020 eventuality was a fourth time we ran during a Dodge HEMI Challenge and a initial 3 times didn’t provide us really well,” pronounced Yantus. “We started off really immature and had to learn a garland as discerning as we could learn it. These elephants (426 HEMI engine) are really formidable to know and master how to best get them down a track. Not too many people were stepping adult to a image to assistance us. This category is really rival and secrets stay secrets. You have to acquire your stripes and take your licks in a SS/AH class. But there isn’t another category out there like it. Racing these iconic HEMI package cars has always been my dream and they’re extraordinary to watch.”
 
Yantus is among 23 entrants for a 20th anniversary HEMI spectacle.
 
“It should be a good uncover for a fans,” combined Yantus, “and to have that many cars we consider that’s good to uncover Dodge that there still is a wish and need for these cars and by display adult is revelation Dodge appreciate we for doing this for us.”

The Dodge HEMI Challenge will be streamed online around NHRA.TV with subscription-based video-on-demand coverage of live subordinate and rejecting rounds during Lucas OIl Raceway on Sept. 2-3.

The final rejecting turn of a Dodge HEMI Challenge, as good as highlights from a march of participating 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas, will be promote on FS1 during a subordinate uncover on Friday, Sept. 3 from 7-9 p.m. Eastern. Fans can also demeanour for HEMI Challenge highlights during a NHRA coverage of a Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals on Sunday Sept. 5, on FS1 from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. and afterwards on a FOX inhabitant promote network from 1 – 4 p.m. EDT.