The new Dodge Dart replaces the Dodge Avenger as Mopar’s Pro Stock class vehicle, with the new car making its debut at the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) Gatornationals this past weekend.
Joining the Dodge Charger R/T in the Funny Car class and the Dodge Challenger in Sportsman competition, the Dodge Dart was chosen as the next generation Pro Stock vehicle and developed on a virtual platform, using production-based technology and tools used for street vehicles.
Chrysler Group race and production engineers worked hand-in-hand with the race teams to develop the new race car, which underwent aerodynamic wind tunnel tests at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills in late February. The first test runs took place at Bradenton Motorsports Park prior to arriving in Gainesville for the third national event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag racing season schedule.
Two Dodge Dart cars debuted at the NHRA Gatornationals, with defending title holder Allen Johnson and five-time Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin at the controls. Vieri Gaines will join them in a few weeks upon completion of his new HEMI-powered racecar.
Johnson’s Dodge Dart will carry the “Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar” sponsorship as an extension of Mopar’s partnership with Magneti Marelli. As part of the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Gen II 426 Race HEMI, Mopar also revealed a special paint scheme on Matt Hagan’s Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger R/T that includes a tribute to the HEMI “Elephant”, a nickname given to the legendary power plant.
By Dan Mihalascu