GLENDORA, Calif. – The Mopar brand will highlight its commitment once again to Sportsman racing competition within the National Hot Rod Ass’n (NHRA) by holding the ever-popular HEMI Challenge for a 14th consecutive season at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals in Brownsburg, Ind., this August.
This year’s edition will include a tribute to the 50th anniversary of the GEN II 426 Race HEMI as part of Mopar’s year-long commemoration of the iconic engine.
The HEMI Challenge first made its debut on the quarter-mile track at the 2001 edition of the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals held at Lucas Oil Raceway and featured 1968 HEMI Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas, the classic muscle cars that contributed to the brand’s legendary reputation and success at the drag strip.
This year’s edition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the iconic second generation HEMI engine that powers these vehicles with a winner’s award of $15,000, a unique HEMI 50th anniversary Challenge trophy and a custom Mopar HEMI 50th anniversary winner’s jacket. Every participant in the Mopar-powered Super Stock/Automatic-HEMI (SS/AH) class participating in the HEMI Challenge will receive a special HEMI key chain and a limited edition print of the 50th anniversary HEMI heritage wall display, while the top 16 cars advancing to the elimination rounds on Friday, August 29, will receive a cash prize payout.
“The legendary 426 HEMI engine was introduced 50 years ago through motorsports and went on to power the classic Mopar muscle cars that still are such a big part of our heritage thanks in part to the passion of our sportsman competitors and fans,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “That passion and heritage comes alive every year with the HEMI Challenge and the NHRA Sportsman drag racers who compete in this annual showcase. This year, we’re excited to celebrate this half century of the HEMI with the group of racers that are truly the backbone of the sport with their dedication to the brand and drag racing.