Mopar Drivers Look to Celebrate Brand’s 80th Anniversary in Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals Winner’s Circle
Entering the event near Denver, Mopar-backed drivers and teams from Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) have dominated the 2017 season and will aim to maintain their success at the brand’s 29th consecutive year of sponsoring the popular stop at “Thunder Mountain.”
Mopar HEMI®-powered DSR Dodge Charger R/T Funny Cars have claimed a whopping 12 of 13 event wins to date, with defending champion Ron Capps leading the point standings and the series win total, with six victories thus far. Matt Hagan and his Mopar Express Lane team have claimed three wins and sit second in points, while Jack Beckman has visited the winner’s circle twice with his Infinite Hero Dodge and is third in the standings. Tommy Johnson Jr. has also banked one victory with the Make-A-Wish team and currently holds the fifth points position.
The Mopar brand’s success on the drag strip this season extends to the Top Fuel category as well. Leah Pritchett has emerged as a bona fide star with three wins in her Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil dragster from DSR, while the winningest driver in Top Fuel history, eight-time champion Tony Schumacher, has collected one event win to date this year in the Mopar-powered U.S. Army car out of the DSR stable. Pritchett is currently second in the standings, while Schumacher is fourth.
Mopar-powered Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson has tasted victory often in the Mile High City, including in 2016, and has won the event a total of seven times to claim the most “King of the Mountain” titles alongside Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden. Johnson will be hunting his fifth win in six years at Bandimere Speedway in the Marathon Petroleum Dodge Dart and looking to extend an amazing streak of 10 consecutive final-round appearances at the venue.
The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals will include racing in a variety of Sportsman categories in addition to the popular professional classes. In keeping with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” program in 2017, Mopar will honor several of these everyday heroes as Grand Marshals for the event.
Mopar Mile-High Block Party Celebrates Sweet Sixteen
On the evening of Thursday, July 20, the official “starter” event of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals will commence with the fan-friendly Mopar Mile-High Block Party in downtown Golden, Colorado, from 6 to 10 p.m. MT. Mopar is partnering with Pennzoil to put on the 16th edition of the extravaganza featuring an autograph session with all top Mopar NHRA stars.
Live music, food and drink tents, merchandise, interactive displays, including the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, and a car show, featuring plenty of Mopar muscle, are also on tap at the free-admission event. Popular Denver-area morning show host and Mopar fan Willie B. from KBPI 106.7 FM will serve as the event emcee. For complete information on the Mopar Mile-High Block Party, visit www.milehighblockparty.com.
Hagan, Pritchett to Duel in 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demons
Mopar racers Matt Hagan and Leah Pritchett will have their pitchforks out as they prepare to battle in two new 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demons in a pair of match races scheduled between qualifying rounds on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22 at Bandimere Speedway.
The match races will mark the official public drag strip debut of the limited-production 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, the first-ever production car to do a front-wheel lift, as certified by Guinness World Records, and the world’s fastest quarter-mile production car with an elapsed time of 9.65 seconds at 140 miles per hour, as certified by the NHRA. It also registers the highest g-force (1.8 g) ever recorded at launch in a production car.
Hagan and Pritchett will showcase the full potential of the Challenger SRT Demon at the drag strip – and its full 840 horsepower and 770 lb.-ft. of torque. The new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon will start arriving at Dodge//SRT dealerships this fall at a starting U.S. Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $84,995, including $1,700 gas guzzler tax, excluding $1,095 destination.
Mopar and Dodge Midway Displays Offer Fan-friendly Features
Throughout the weekend, fans will also have the opportunity to get up close to a number of Mopar Dodge vehicles and even take the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon for a “spin” in state-of-the-art Demon simulators at the Mopar and Dodge display trailers on Manufacturers Midway at Bandimere Speedway.
A variety of games, contests and other interactive activities will be on hand for fans, while another autograph session featuring Mopar drivers will be held at 2 p.m. MT on Saturday, July 22 on the Mopar display stage. The Mopar and Dodge displays are present at 15 of the 24 events on the NHRA calendar this season.
Event Eliminations Set to Air Live on National FOX Network
The Mopar brand’s 80th anniversary celebration will receive nationwide exposure, as eliminations for the 38th annual Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals will air live on the national FOX network from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 23.
Qualifying will air on FS1 with a live show broadcast on Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m. ET and with the delayed second day of qualifying slated for broadcast at midnight on Sunday, July 22.
Mopar/Dodge Notes & Quotes
Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) FCA – Global
“The Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals represents a special time for our brand, even more so during our 80th anniversary celebration this year. The event provides an opportunity to showcase our brand’s incredible success, both over eight decades and also with our current roster of drivers who have made us so proud this season. From the opening Mopar Mile-High Block Party to the final round of eliminations, the Mopar Mile-High Nationals demonstrate the best of what our brand has to offer.”
Matt Hagan, Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car
“Denver is a special race for us. The Bandimeres do an exceptional job of packing the stands every day of that weekend. You can’t find a place to sit down most of the time. It’s really cool when you do a burnout and you look up and that whole side of the mountain is packed with people. It’s just a great experience.
“Mopar also does the Golden Block Party and they have bands there and just get the people really kind of pumped on Thursday night. It’s an entire weekend full of festivities for our fans and for Mopar, and you just really see how people are very loyal to the brand. I’ve gotten close to winning. I got in the final and I redlighted (left the starting line too soon) against (John) Force one year. I would’ve loved to have been able to pull it down for our sponsors, but maybe this year’s the year, you never know. I’m excited to get out there.”
Leah Pritchett, Papa John’s Pizza/Mopar Pennzoil Top Fuel Dragster
“Denver has always been so important because for eight years of my life that was (where) the NHRA Jr. Drag Racing Western Nationals (were held). If you won that, that was like winning Indy for Juniors. It’s a beautiful track. We love going there despite the rigors of battling the heat and elevation. It’s one of our favorite stops on tour. Add in the Mopar Mile-High Nationals and Mopar Mile-High Block Party, and it’s one of the most exciting events on the NHRA schedule. If you’re a Mopar fan, you have to attend the Mile-High Nationals. We flew the Mopar colors there last summer and we want to put Mopar in the winner’s circle this year.”
About Mopar Motorsports
The Mopar brand’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2016, thanks to Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps, Mopar captured its fourth NHRA Funny Car World Championship in the last six years. As Mopar celebrates 80 years as a brand in 2017, it will focus its NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series efforts on NHRA Funny Car and, with rising star Leah Pritchett, NHRA Top Fuel Dragster. Mopar will also bolster its commitment to NHRA Sportsman racing with new contingency rewards, factory support and at-track technical advice and guidance.
During the brand’s 80 years, Mopar has introduced numerous industry-first features including:
- • Vehicle-information apps: first to introduce smartphone vehicle-information applications, a new channel of communication with consumers
- • wiADVISOR: first to incorporate a tablet-based service lane tool
- • Electronic Vehicle Tracking System (EVTS): first to market with a new interactive vehicle tracking device that sends owner a text when vehicle is driven too fast or too far based on pre-set parameters
- • Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
- • Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals on a smartphone app
80 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was born on August 1, 1937, as the name of a line of antifreeze products. Mopar has since evolved over 80 years to serve as the total service, parts and customer-care brand of all FCA vehicles around the globe.
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 over 150 markets around the world. 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.
Mopar is the source for genuine parts and accessories for all FCA US LLC vehicle brands. Mopar parts are engineered together with the same teams that create factory-authorized specifications for FCA vehicles, offering a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. Complete information on the Mopar brand is available at www.mopar.com.