Prestigious U.S. Nationals joins lineup of five event title sponsorships
The Mopar® and Dodge//SRT® (Street and Racing Technology) performance brands are bolstering their relationship with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) as the series gets set to celebrate 70 years of drag-racing history with the start of the 2021 Camping World Series season.
The two partnering brands, long known for their involvement in motorsports, will expand their support of the premier drag-racing series to include the title sponsorship of the Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, the 68th edition of the NHRA’s prestigious cornerstone event and world’s biggest drag-racing competition.
Mopar and Dodge//SRT brands are also extending their title sponsorship support of national events at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, the longest running sponsorship in NHRA and one of longest in all of motorsports, and Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania, while reprising their sponsorship of the Houston and Las Vegas races.
The 2021 NHRA season’s 21-race calendar will see Mopar and Dodge//SRT divide title sponsorship duties at five NHRA national events:
- May 21-23 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented by Pennzoil (Houston)
- July 16-18 – Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil (Denver)
- Sept. 1-5 – Dodge//SRT U.S. Nationals (Indianapolis)
- Sept. 10-12 – Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil (Reading, Pennsylvania)
- Oct. 29-Nov. 1 – Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil (Las Vegas)
“The performance legacy of Dodge and SRT is forever intertwined with the NHRA and taking on title sponsorship of the U.S. Nationals further enhances that connection to our roots,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer – Stellantis. “If there’s one thing Dodge//SRT performance-car customers have in common, it’s a passion for the feeling you get when you experience NHRA racing for yourself. We try to build a part of that experience into every Dodge//SRT Hellcat Charger, Challenger and Durango you can buy.
“NHRA drag racing is a great example of how on-track performance is translated by our engineers to the benefit of our Dodge//SRT performance vehicles,” added Kuniskis. “Dodge literally sells the same cars you’ll see racing in the NHRA’s Sportsman classes. And much of what we learn in the series’ premier classes finds its way into our Dodge//SRT Chargers, Challengers and Durangos.”
“As the ultimate exhibition of horsepower for passionate motorsports enthusiasts, NHRA drag racing is the perfect place to showcase the Mopar brand,” said Mark Bosanac, North America Vice President, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “As the defending NHRA Funny Car world champions, we look forward to adding to our extensive list of accomplishments and wins. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Mopar Express Lane will return as the title sponsor for the national race event in Reading that kicks off the NHRA Countdown to the Championship.”
Decades-long Legacy in the NHRA
Since the NHRA’s founding in 1951 by Wally Parks, the family of Mopar and Dodge brand vehicles and parts has forever left its mark, not just in NHRA record books, but in the hearts of drivers, tuners and fans captivated by their performances. The drag strip is where the brands built their reputation, which began in 1963 with the domination of the 426-cubic-inch Max Wedge V-8 engine in the Stock and Super Stock classes. Next came the introduction of the legendary 426 HEMI® engine, whose basic architecture has been used in Top Fuel and Funny Car classes for decades and continues today. The history of success in the pro ranks of Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock includes a combined total of 1,280 national event title wins and 79 NHRA world championship titles.
Much of Mopar and Dodge brands’ most recent success in the NHRA has been earned in the more than 10,000-horsepower nitro-fueled (Funny Car and Top Fuel) classes where competitors reach speeds in excess of 330 mph. The return of HEMI-powered machines to the track in March will signal the start of a 19th season for Mopar and Dodge//SRT brands’ long-standing relationship with Don Schumacher Racing (DSR), the winningest organization in NHRA history.
After securing the 2020 Funny Car World Championship, a third with Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye driver Matt Hagan (2011, 2014, 2020) at the helm, Mopar and Dodge//SRT are extending their relationship with DSR through 2021. Their association first blossomed in 1971 when rookie driver Don Schumacher drove a HEMI-powered Funny Car for the first time at the U.S. Nationals and won the national title, was formalized with the DSR team in 2003, and has since yielded 13 NHRA world championships and 278 event wins (161 Funny Car, 111 Top Fuel, three Pro Stock and three Factory Super Stock). Mopar and Dodge//SRT primary paint schemes will be featured again on Hagan’s Funny Car and Leah Pruett’s Top Fuel dragster throughout the 2021 season.
Supporting Legions of Grassroots Racers in Sportsman Class
Continued Mopar and Dodge//SRT brand support in the Sportsman classes continues into the NHRA’s 70th anniversary season, beginning with the 52nd annual Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway in Florida, March 12-14. The Mopar Contingency Program continues its long-running presentation of monetary awards to recognize wins or runner-up finishes for grassroots racers running a Mopar contingency decal and using specified parts, including the brand’s valve covers, intake manifolds and cylinder heads. Similarly, the Dodge Top Finisher Award will provide cash prizes to Stock Eliminator and Super Stock drivers of a Mopar-powered Dodge, Chrysler or Plymouth race car, which advances the furthest in eliminations at each 2021 NHRA national event.
The brands’ Sportsman class support will also be highlighted by the return of the Dodge HEMI Challenge, a fan-favorite showcase of iconic 426 HEMI-powered Super Stock 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas battling head-to-head, set celebrate its 20th anniversary during the 2021 Dodge U.S. Nationals, Sept. 2-3.
Mopar and Dodge//SRT will also debut the much anticipated fourth-generation Dodge Challenger Mopar Drag Pak this NHRA season in the Factory Stock Showdown, an eight-race series in the Sportsman class, with DSR-prepared entries driven by Pruett and Mark Pawuk.
Additionally, Mopar, Dodge//SRT and NHRA have teamed up for a multi-year full media package that will include NHRA on FOX commercials and integration. In order to share the brands’ enthusiasm with fans attending races, Dodge//SRT and Mopar offer a massive 4,800-square-foot exhibit, one of the largest displays in the NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway. Among the exhibit’s interactive features are Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators for competitive NHRA fans to virtually race themselves, as well as the opportunity to see and feel the experience of drag racing from the driver’s seat aboard an actual Mopar Dodge Charger Funny Car simulator. To follow Dodge//SRT and Mopar during the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, visit DodgeGarage, a digital content hub for muscle car and race enthusiasts.