It’s the holiday season, and we know your mind is on buying that last minute gift for a loved one, or getting up the strength to deal with your obnoxious in-laws, who will no doubt be coming over and tramping mud through your just-cleaned house. However, if you’re like us, you’re probably having suffering withdrawal, given that the wintertime is not known for providing the best weather for taking your favorite Mopar ride for a blast down the 1320, or polishing up the rims and hanging with your buddies.
With that being said, we trapped Gabrielle Stevenson between her numerous meetings and conference calls. You see, Gabrielle is the President and General Manger of the Texas Motorplex and she was kind enough to give us some insider info on the upcoming 2013 Mopars at the Motorplex event.
First; The Mega Mopar Action Series event, Mopars at the Motorplex, will be held April 26-27, 2013 and will be the first of the brand-specific events to be held at the Texas Motorplex in the coming year. This season will also mark the debut of the manufacturer event of the year for the Motorplex and they’re going to host the Manufacturer’s Cup as the season finale. Mopars will have the first shot at ruling the Texas Motorplex, followed by the Super Chevy Show and Fun Ford Weekend. The Manufacturer’s Cup, held at the end of the 2013 season, will determine which brand ruled the Motorplex during 2013, and will invite all participants in each of the three events back for drag racing and car show. So, all you diehard Mopar participants come on back and show the world you’re not taking a back seat to the Bowtie or the Blue Oval gang.
Second; during the Mopars at the Motorplex event, the weekend will kick off with MOPARS VERSUS THE WORLD. There’ll be a Fast Friday Street Racing program open to everyone, and then a specific time when the lanes will open for Mopars to take on domestic and foreign brands for a trophy. Get your game face on and put the other guy on the trailer while bagging that trophy. With Mopars at the Motorplex on board, the Mega Mopar Action series is proof that Texas loves Mopars! What’s really cool, our friends at the Motorplex are trying to mix things up and bring back that good ‘ole brand rivalry.
“We are in the planning stages for the Mopars at the Motorplex event, because each year there is a special feature which sets that event apart from all the others,” Stevenson said. “We have a very passionate Mopar participant base and we want to host the best Mopar event possible and then have all of the racers and car show participants come back for the season ending Manufacturer’s Cup finale.”
Now we really can’t wait for spring to come, so we can hit the burnout box at the Motorplex with our HEMI-powered Dodge!
Mopar Performance rolled into the 2012 SEMA and PRI shows with guns blazing, with a V10 Viper powered Charger, iconic musclecars, an array of steroid-infused crate engines and tons of go-fast components. They even teased us with (and we hope Dodge/SRT will build it) what could be the next generation Li’l Red Express Truck, packing a GEN III HEMI® under its scooped hood.
But the really BIG NEWS is Mopar announced the availability of performance calibrations for select 2011, 2012 and 2013 model-year Chrysler Group vehicles – Tuners rejoice! Now you can modify our 6.4L/392 HEMI® engines and go play on the race track. Mopar has reviewed the facilities and capabilities of Arrow Racing Engines and Arrington Engines (two major players in the GEN III HEMI® business) for performance calibrations. Both companies have the appropriate tooling and software to create performance calibrations.
Mopar Performance also introduced a new emissions-compliant 5.7-liter HEMI crate engine for classic muscle cars and hot rods, a version of the same legendary HEMI in modern Dodge Challenger and Charger R/T models. Late-model technology wrapped in classic styling – yep, it’s a great recipe for a cool ride.
For those of you that like to play in the mud, the newly created Mopar off-road division announced the birth of Jeep Performance Parts, a high-end portfolio of hard-core parts and accessories for Jeep® vehicles, which includes new Mopar 5.7-liter and 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 conversion kits for Jeep Wrangler.
One of the shining moments of the SEMA show was the unveiling of comedian Jeff Dunham’s customized 2012 Challenger SRT8. With collaboration between Mopar, SRT and Palmer’s Customs of Camarillo, California, Dunham and Mopar’s main man in-charge, Pietro Gorlier, took the wraps off “Project UltraViolet” to a packed house within the Mopar display.
As 2012 draws to a close, so does Mopar’s 75th anniversary, but rest assured, the brand will be hitting all eight for the next 75 years!
We recently had a chance to get caught up with Steve Earwood from Rockingham Dragway to get his insight on joining the Mega Mopar Action Series in 2013.
Steve Earwood’s reputation as one of drag racing’s most innovative and influential individuals is reflected in the fact that while he twice has been honored as the IHRA’s national Promoter of the Year (2001 and 2008), he also was inducted in 2012 into the NHRA’s Southeast Division Hall of Fame.
His creativity and tireless effort in keeping The Rock viable in an ever-changing marketplace have not gone unnoticed – which is why he was recognized in 2010 as the Richmond County “Citizen of the Year.”
Mega Mopar -Tell our fans a little about the history of Rockingham Dragway and your long standing Mopar event you’ve held for a number of years.
SE – This will be our 22nd Annual Mopars at The Rock. The car show, swap meet and manufacturer’s midway have always been strong and we have had some great Mopar drag racing. We were fortunate enough to have Ronnie Sox compete in his ’68 SS/A Barracuda, in fact he made his last quarter-mile run here in 2005. Ronnie had a great history at “The Rock’, winning five national events here between 1971 and 1985. We have “Bullet” Bob Reed and his two ’68 Hemi ‘Cudas making exhibition runs this year.
Mega Mopar – What added benefits do you see now that Rockingham Dragway is part of the Mega Mopar Action Series?
SE – Joining our partner tracks in the Mega Mopar Action Series will enhance our program by connecting with a national organization. This affords the opportunity for our marketing arm to secure an overall title rights sponsor and to fuse sponsor needs. We also will generate a national following for the Mega Mopar events through Mopar Action.
Mega Mopar - Tells us about some of the cool activities you’re planning for the Mega Mopar Action event at Rockingham Dragway.
SE – Our swap meet and car show has shown excellent growth the past few years and we plan to improve both of those programs. We offer 20 x 20 swap meet spots and have a great swap area located in our pit area, easily accessible for our fans. Under the auspices of well-known car show judge Frog Jones, we will have no less than 10 well-versed car show judges, who will award 1st and 2nd Auto Metal Direct trophies in 26 classes, plus Best of Show and Editor’s Choice trophies. On the racing end we will offer a great purse for Top ET and Footbrake plus the popular street car Trophy class.
Mega Mopar - Finally, our Mopar fans may or may not know about your personal connection to a very famous HEMI ‘Cuda convertible that dominated Super Stock for many years. What was it like back in the day running such an awesome car?
SE – My brother Terry and I were fortunate enough to race Mopars for a number of years “back in the day”, beginning with Bill Tanner who fielded a Pro Stock Challenger and a Super Stock Challenger in the early ‘70’s. Terry took the Challenger to the Super Stock final at Indy in ’72. Terry experienced most of his drag racing success of campaigning the Super Stock Hemi’s of Steve Bagwell maintained by Barnett Race Cars. We had the ’65 Butch Leal Super Stock B, a ’68 Barracuda Super Stock A/Automatic, a Pro Stock Duster, and probably the most distinctive car of the stable, the “71 Cuda convertible that Terry won the Super Stock title at the 1973 U.S. Nationals. The car actually was a 1970 model, one of which only 19 were produced. To our knowledge this was the only original Hemi convertible ever raced. We raced it as a ’71 model due to some obscure NHRA rule that put us in Super Stock E-Automatic, in which Terry sat the National Record at the time. We enjoyed unparalleled success racing with Bagwell, winning over 70% of the events we competed in 1973. We just knew each week when we left the Barnett Brothers shop in Norcross, Georgia, that we were going to win. It was a great feeling, and a great time.