Gen Z Mopar® Racer

When you think of owners and racers of vintage Mopar® muscle cars, do images of old men with thinning gray hair (or no hair) pop into your mind? You know, the boomer generation that grew up in the ’70s when these cars were worthless, cheap and plentiful. It’s these folks who continue to cling on to their high-horsepower machines. It’s their last tangible connection to their high school youth, as now their faded torn bellbottom jeans and torn Led Zeppelin concert T-shirts no longer fit. While that might be a common theme for many of this aging generation, and God bless them, there’s a new movement of young enthusiasts. They’re Gen Z and have never known a time without cell phones, iPads, cable TV and other modern conveniences that have become part of our day-to-day lives. Despite being lightyears apart from the generation that bought muscle cars back in the day, this under-30 crowd still shares the same love and passion for old Mopar vehicles as their parents’ and even their grandparents’ generation. 

Allison Kovalik, who resides near Columbus, Ohio, might only be 22 years old, but she’s already accumulated decades of hands-on experience. Not only can she install and degree in a new camshaft on her 340-cubic-inch small-block engine by herself, but she can also dial in her 1967 Dodge Dart to hook up and be consistent at virtually any drag strip. Allison’s love of cars, especially Mopar vehicles, is second nature to this young lady who’s also pursuing a business degree at Central Ohio Technical College. She may have grown up in the hobby, but she took the initiative to go one step further. “When I was born, my dad sold his 1970 Plymouth Duster bracket car and dedicated the next 18 years to raising me and helping me pursue my interests at the time. I played three sports when I was in school. Any parent who has a kid who plays school/travel sports can tell you how much time and money it takes to have your kid play travel sports. However, growing up, he worked for our home track occasionally. He would always take my friends and would go up to the starting line to watch the cars,” said Allison. “I didn’t get to watch him race until I was about 18 years old when he bought a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T with a 440 Six Pack. I think the passion began when he first brought the Challenger home, and we sat on the shop floor for hours peeling old stickers off the car. After he brought the car home, I wanted to start learning more and be more involved in the sport.”

And learn she did by spending more time with her dad in the garage when school and sports permitted. “I was also inspired by watching my boyfriend, Tommy Hoskinson, and his brother, Billy Hoskinson, race their Chevy S10 pickup trucks. However, being raised in a Mopar family, I opted for a Dodge Dakota. A few months into the Dakota build, I started traveling with the Hoskinsons and began filming full-time for Street Racing Channel. One day, I was riding to a race with Billy, and we got on the topic of our dream cars. I mentioned how much I loved Darts and Dusters and less than a month later, he surprised me with a 1967 Dodge Dart. The Dart has opened so many do­­ors for me and I’ll forever be grateful for such a generous gift and yes, we put a 1968 front grille in it! I was able to start racing almost immediately and ever since then I’ve been hooked,” noted Allison. 

It’s easy to get hooked on drag racing as, let’s be honest, it’s better to be a participant than a spectator. For Allison, she had to fill her need for speed down the quarter-mile, and that she did with her big-block Dart. “The fastest Mopar I’ve ever owned is my ’67 Dodge Dart as ‘on motor’ it runs 12.30s, but on spray (nitrous oxide), it easily goes 11.10s. For the 2024 season, my goal is to have the Dart run 11s on motor and 10s on spray,” exclaimed Allison. Now, with racing a fast car and being an only child, you’d think Allison’s parents would be worried. Lucky for her, both her mother and father trust her driving and tuning skills in making sure her Dart is safe. “My parents met at National Trail Raceway and were both employed by the drag strip at one time. They knew racing can be dangerous but with the proper equipment and racing experience, it can be safer than driving to work or out to a restaurant,” smiled Allison. 

With a heavy work and school schedule, Allison does a balancing act with her drag racing. “I mostly compete at local tracks in either bracket racing or no prep racing. Currently, I will race in any class that the Dart fits in. Tommy and I just bought our first trailer, and we are hoping to start traveling with the Dart this year!” Growing up with social media, Allison has also parlayed her passion and knowledge of producing and editing videos into a unique YouTube channel called Gen 2 Garage. “I was at the no-prep event at Marion County Raceway with my boyfriend, Tommy, and helped take pictures for the Street Racing Channel. We then got serious with our YouTube channel and went full-time. I was able to quit my job as a dog groomer,” noted Allison. “The content we post on Gen 2 Garage are shop vlogs and racing videos. Our channel mainly focuses on street cars and the car builds Tommy and I do along with the mods we are doing on the Dart. We show step-by-step builds and keep our channel family-friendly and lighthearted. 

“We have many sponsors such as Nitrous Express, Perfect Converter Co, Trick Flow Specialties, Isky Cams, Melling Performance Parts and longtime Mopar Parts distributor Mancini Racing.” So, when asked who watches Allison’s YouTube Channel, she quickly replied with some interesting facts. “The average age range of our viewers is between 30-60 years old. The most common feedback we receive is that they relate to watching my dad teach us about how to work on cars. It reminds them of their dad teaching them or they are currently getting their kids into cars! We also often hear some viewers are unable to work on cars anymore but still feel like they are a part of the hobby and watch the videos. I have even had a few people tell me personally that they have wanted to get into racing, but they weren’t sure where to start but we inspired them to get into racing.” 

Since there have been female drag racers since the early 1960s, Allison doesn’t feel like an “oddity” in a man’s sport. “There are many female racers ahead of me that paved the way for women in drag racing. I was blessed to start racing at a time when women in drag racing wasn’t a crazy concept. Sure, every once in a while, you’ll come across a man that is behind the times but overall, the racing community is extremely supportive,” stated Allison. 

Allison’s dad, Jeff, couldn’t be prouder of his daughter’s achievements. “As a father and a mentor, it’s been fun to watch Allison learn about the mechanical aspects of these cars and how they work. She isn’t afraid to pick up wrenches and dig in, no matter what the task is. She’s a quick learner and gets a sense of satisfaction when she finishes a project. It’s important to pass this knowledge down to the next generation. Allison has also become a darn good racer in both bracket and heads-up racing behind the wheel of her Dart,” said Jeff. A racer himself, Jeff’s 1970 Challenger R/T Stock Eliminator racer is a stout machine with its 440 Six Pack under the hood.

We asked Allison if she’d like to get behind the wheel of her father’s rare and fast machine and she was content at this time to see him racing and offer support to his racing program but, if Jeff offered Allison the opportunity to take the Challenger down the track, she wouldn’t say “no” if offered. Looking down the road – or in this case, the dragstrip – Allison would like to race at more grassroots “small tire” events rather than take the leap and compete in an NHRA Pro or Sportsman class but as she points out, “never say never.” Allison is on the move and constantly making her Dart faster while inspiring other gearheads. She has these words of advice to those in the hobby. “Working on your first Mopar project can be nerve-racking. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. More than anything else though, have fun and embrace the learning process.” 

We couldn’t agree more, Allison! 

Make sure you check out Allison’s Gen 2 Garage YouTube channel, along with these pics in her natural element! 

1 Comment


God bless her! Reading about her car reminds me how lucky we are to have grown up with that, and also own Hellcats, the greatest factory car EVER!