AUBURN HILLS, MI – As a proud supporter of Sportsman racing within the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA), Chrysler Group LLC’s Mopar brand will continue to recognize its roots with the establishment of the “Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge” beginning this season, along with enhancements to its contingency program.
The winner of Mopar’s Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge will be determined by selecting the Sportsman Class racer that amasses the most points earned in a season during NHRA sanctioned races at the wheel of a Chrysler Group vehicle, competing in either Stock or Super Stock classes nationwide.
The winner will be awarded a $4,260 purse, as a nod to the 426 HEMI®, and presented with a special commemorative Mopar trophy, as well as a plaque with their name engraved on it. All National event winners will continue to be eligible for the “Mopar National Event Winner” decal to proudly display on their Chrysler vehicle.
“Mopar is incredibly proud to support Sportsman drag racing as it really is the backbone of the sport,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, the Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Mopar’s Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge was created in anticipation of many planned celebrations for next year’s 50th anniversary of the introduction of the 426 Race HEMI engine. It also is a thank you to all loyal and dedicated Sportsman racers for their passion for Mopar vehicles and NHRA drag racing.”
The competition and trophy are named in honor of the “Father of the 426 HEMI®”, Tom Hoover, a retired Chrysler engineer and original member of the Ramchargers team, whose passion for high-performance engine design and racing helped launch and build Chrysler’s motorsport program in the 1960s. Amongst his many contributions are the 426 HEMI, HEMI and small-block Pro Stock cars, and involvement in the development of the Funny Car.
Hoover also oversaw field development of the HEMI and other race parts through the efforts of sponsored racers nationwide. He was an avid Super Stock racer, built motors and raced on weekends much like Sportsman racers currently competing in NHRA events nationwide.
Mopar will also be making some enhancements to its contingency program for the Sportsman classes in the 2013 NHRA Full Throttle and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. The long-running Mopar Contingency Program offers financial awards to Mopar-powered grassroots racers competing with specified Mopar parts.
In addition to the Tom Hoover Sportsman Challenge, Mopar will continue sponsorship of the annual “HEMI Challenge” held at the U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis since 2001.
Mopar also is hosting Sportsman barbecues for those competing in Chrysler Group vehicles at the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., Mopar Mile High Nationals in Denver, and at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
Next year, Mopar will mark the 50th anniversary of the 426 Race HEMI engine, first introduced in February 1964, with a number of planned celebrations.
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About Mopar Motorsports: Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits resulted in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2013, Mopar looks to defend its two NHRA 2012 World Championship titles in Pro Stock and Funny Car categories, and celebrates 25 consecutive years as title sponsor of the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals in Colorado. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar Sportsman Cup.
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
* Electronic owner manuals: first to introduce traditional owner manuals in a DVD and brief user-guide format and first to offer complete vehicle-information kits in Spanish
* Wi-Fi: first to offer customers the ability to make their vehicle a wireless hot spot
* Wireless charging: first to introduce in-vehicle wireless charging for portable devices
* 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
* 2011 Mopar Challenger Drag Pak: first to introduce a 500-plus cubic-inch V-10 drag-race package car
* Brand-specific customer care telephone lines: first to offer Sunday service hours for customers
* WiTECH: first to support vehicle diagnosis and software updates leveraging off-the-shelf personal computers and a dedicated wireless tool network
About the Mopar Brand: Mopar is Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. With the creation of the Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. partnership, Mopar is extending its global reach, integrating service, parts and customer-care operations in order to enhance dealer and customer support worldwide. Combined with Fiat S.p.A., Mopar’s global portfolio includes more than 500,000 parts and accessories that are distributed in more than 130 countries. Mopar is the source for all genuine parts and accessories for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. brands.
Mopar parts are unique in that they are engineered with the same teams that create factory-authorized vehicle specifications for Chrysler Group and Fiat S.p.A. vehicles – a direct connection that no other aftermarket parts company can provide. A complete list of Mopar accessories and performance parts is available at www.mopar.com.
More than 75 Years of Mopar
Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was trademarked for antifreeze product in 1937. The Mopar brand made its mark in the 1960s – the muscle-car era. The Chrysler Corporation built race-ready Dodge and Plymouth “package cars” equipped with special high-performance parts. Mopar carried a line of “special parts” for super-stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. The brand has expanded to include technical service and customer support.
From Pat Caporali – Motorsports PR and Media Relations Manager – MOPAR