2020 Edition of the Dodge HEMI® Challenge Revving Up at the NHRA U.S. Nationals

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — 

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 2, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — 

  • Dodge HEMI® Challenge set to take place during the 2020 NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Sept 3-4 
  • Super Stock 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas battle head-to-head for an iconic custom-made Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy and $15,000 winner’s prize 
  • Legendary Mopar racer Herb «Mr. 4 Speed» McCandless will be the Dodge HEMI Challenge guest of honor and lead the parade of iconic muscle cars 
  • Defending winner Jimmy Daniels looking to extend 18-0 round win streak while vying for a record fifth consecutive title

The 2020 edition of the upcoming Dodge HEMI® Challenge looks to be a memorable one for all the right reasons; a special guest of honor and some record-setting achievements are revving up National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Sportsman class fans.

More than 50 years after the iconic 1968 HEMI Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas first appeared on the drag strip, loyal racers and fans will once again be able to see the legendary cars race head-to-head in the ever-popular Dodge HEMI Challenge at the 66th annual NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway near Indianapolis, Indiana, on Labor Day weekend.

The popular Sportsman class event, dedicated to showcasing Super Stock/A-HEMI (SSAH) competitors powered by the iconic 426 HEMI engine, was first launched in 2001 at «The Big GO» in Indy with support from FCA brands Mopar and Dodge. The 20th edition of the annual Dodge HEMI Challenge returns with qualifying scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 3, and four rounds of eliminations competition to be contested on Friday, Sept. 4.

The final shootout will take place Friday evening with the participants vying for the custom-built 42.6 lbs. Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy crafted with a 426 HEMI cylinder head, a $15,000 prize to the winner, $1,500 to the runner-up, and cash payouts for semifinal and quarterfinal finishers. All competitors will also receive the coveted Dodge HEMI Challenge participant decal and event hats. 

Acclaimed Mopar Super Stock and Pro Stock racer Herb «Mr. 4 Speed» McCandless will be the guest of honor for the 2020 edition of the Dodge HEMI Challenge. Prior to the first round of eliminations, McCandless will lead the parade of participating Darts and Barracudas down Indy’s fabled return road aboard his own original 1968 Super Stock HEMI Dart in celebration of the classic muscle cars that contributed to Mopar and Dodge brands’ legendary reputation and success at the drag strip.

The 77-year-old fan favorite was the recipient of the Mopar President’s Award in 2017, honoring him for his racing excellence, his service as a Mopar ambassador and his unwavering commitment to FCA brand and Chrysler, Dodge, and Plymouth vehicles.

McCandless secured his place in drag-racing history by driving his Sox & Martin HEMI-powered Plymouth Duster to a win against a field of 90 entries vying for 32 spots in the first Pro Stock competition held in 1970 at the prestigious U.S. Nationals. As part of this year’s 50th anniversary celebration of the NHRA Pro Stock category, an exact replica of McCandless’ 1970 Pro Stock HEMI Duster will be on display at the Mopar Road Show in the manufacturer’s midway throughout the race weekend.

A strong field of «package» Mopar vehicles are expected to compete in the specialty event while showing off beautiful and vibrant paint schemes and wheelstands. Originally commissioned by Chrysler in 1968, a limited number of Super Stock HEMI Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas were built solely to compete on the drag strip, just as the modern-day Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak is now. The Dodge HEMI Challenge is a tribute to those original muscle cars, now too valuable to race, and provides an opportunity to showcase today’s Super Stock versions as throwback clones of those historic vehicles.

Among this year’s expected front-runners is defending winner, 24-year-old Jimmy Daniels, who has not lost a single round since first taking the wheel of his father Jim Daniels Sr.’s 1968 Dodge Dart in 2016. The younger Daniels comes into this year’s event looking to extend two unprecedented win streaks; an incredible 18-0 round win record and an unprecedented four consecutive Dodge HEMI Challenge title victories.

The 2001 inaugural edition of the then Mopar HEMI Challenge was won by driver Bucky Hess. Other previous winners include Richard Beshore (2002), Jerry Jenkins (2003), and five-time NHRA Pro Stock champ, Jeg Coughlin Jr. (2004), Charlie Westcott Sr. (2009), Jim Daniels Sr. (2010) and Rick Houser (2007 and 2013). Charlie Westcott Jr. is the winningest HEMI Challenge driver with six titles (2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014) to his credit. 

Fans who can’t make it to the 2020 Denso Spark Plugs NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway to watch the Dodge HEMI Challenge in person can catch all the action online via NHRA.TV and its subscription-based, video-on-demand coverage of live racing action throughout the weekend. The final elimination round of the Dodge HEMI Challenge, as well as highlights from the parade of participating Darts and ‘Cudas, will air on FS1 during the qualifying broadcast on Saturday, September 5 at 2:00 p.m. EDT with a repeat broadcast on Sunday morning  at 11 a.m. on FS1. Fans can also look for Dodge HEMI Challenge highlights during NHRA coverage on the FOX national broadcast network on Sunday, September 6 from 1-4 p.m. EDT

DodgeGarage: Digital Hub for Drag Racing News
Fans can follow all the NHRA’s action this season at DodgeGarage, the one-stop portal for Dodge//SRT and Mopar drag-racing news. The site includes daily updates and access to an online racing HQ, news, events, galleries, available downloads, and merchandise. For more information, visit www.dodgegarage.com

@DodgeMoparMotorsports on Instagram
The @DodgeMoparMotorsports Instagram channel continues to share content capturing Dodge//SRT Mopar drivers on the track. Fans can see action from the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and  NHRA Sportsman grassroots racers competing in classes such as Factory Stock Showdown, Stock and Super Stock, as well as additional motorsports series.

Official Driving School of Dodge//SRT
Dodge is the official sponsor of the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving in Chandler, Arizona, where guests get behind the wheels of the fastest street-legal cars in the world with professional instruction and time on the track. Customers who buy a new SRT model receive one full-day session as part of the Dodge//SRT Package and have the opportunity to learn how to get the optimum performance from their new vehicles in a controlled environment.  For more information, visit dodgegarage.com/track-experience.  

Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) is the service, parts and customer-care brand for FCA vehicles around the globe. Born in 1937 as the name of a line of antifreeze products, the Mopar brand has evolved over more than 80 years to represent both complete care and authentic performance for owners and enthusiasts worldwide. 

Mopar made its mark in the 1960s during the muscle-car era, with Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use, and expanded to include technical service and customer support. Today, the Mopar brand’s global reach distributes more than 500,000 parts and accessories in more than 150 markets. 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 customer and dealer support worldwide. 

Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com. Mopar is part of the portfolio of brands offered by global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For more information regarding FCA (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA), please visit www.fcagroup.com

For more than 100 years, the Dodge brand has carried on the spirit of brothers John and Horace Dodge. Their influence continues today as Dodge shifts into high gear with muscle cars and SUVs that deliver unrivaled performance in each of the segments where they compete. 

2021 marks the year that Dodge is distilled into a pure performance brand, offering Hellcat-powered, 700+ horsepower SRT versions of every model across the lineup. For the 2021 model year, Dodge delivers the drag-strip dominating 807-horsepower Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock, the new 797-horsepower Dodge Charger SRT Redeye, the most powerful and fastest mass-produced sedan in the world, and the new 710-horsepower Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, the most powerful SUV ever. Combined, these three muscle cars make Dodge the industry’s most powerful brand, offering more horsepower than any other American brand across its entire lineup.

In June 2020, Dodge was named the «#1 Brand in Initial Quality,» making it the first domestic brand ever to rank No. 1 in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS). Dodge is part of the portfolio of brands offered by global automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. For more information regarding FCA (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA), please visit www.fcagroup.com

Follow Dodge, SRT and FCA news and video on:  
Company blog: http://blog.fcanorthamerica.com
Media website: http://media.fcanorthamerica.com
Dodge brand: www.dodge.com
Dodge Garage: www.dodgegarage.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/dodge or https://www.facebook.com/FiatChrysler.NorthAmerica/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/dodgeofficial or www.instagram.com/FiatChrysler_NA
Twitter: www.twitter.com/dodge or www.twitter.com/FiatChrysler_NA
YouTube: www.youtube.com/dodge or www.youtube.com/fcanorthamerica

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