Inaugural ‘World of Mopar®’ Event Takes Over Norwalk

The fall-like September weather has cooled the temperatures, but the drag racing action remained hot at the Inaugural Ken Ganley Chrysler Dodge Jeep® Ram World of Mopar® presented by Arrington Performance Drag Race and Car Show at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. It was pure Mopar heaven for the thousands of racers, show-and-shine participants, and enthusiasts who came through the gates. Summit Motorsports Park has been the home to many NHRA national events and NMCA races over the past decade, but for the hundreds of old-school and late-model muscle cars that took over the pits, staging lanes, show field and swap meet, it was a sensory overload. Cars with wild paint schemes and HEMI® engine-powered wheel-standing machines rocked the three-day event. The track staff really went out of its way to make sure this event was run like a well-oiled machine as the format included a variety of classes drag racing, a “Fun Field Car Show”, parts swap meet, car corral, manufacturers’ midway and even a night concert by a local band jamming some country tunes while the Ohio night sky lit up with fireworks. Summit Motorsports Park knows how to put on a good show! 

To kick off the momentous drag race and car show, it was all hands on deck as the hard-working staff at Summit Motorsports Park made sure this event went off without a misfire. “We couldn’t be happier with our Inaugural Ken Ganley Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram World of Mopar presented by Arrington Performance. Our team spent several months organizing this event, and we all wanted it to be successful, and we’re grateful it was. We had a tremendous turnout, and we look forward to an even bigger event next year as the planning starts now,” said Bill Bader Jr., president of Summit Motorsports Park. 

With the staging lanes packed with vehicles in all shapes and sizes, seasoned racers and newbies had many choices. It was a “Run what you Brung” format but the only stipulation was the vehicle had to be powered by a Chrysler engine. This included the iconic GEN II HEMI engine, the new-school modern GEN III HEMI engine, and everything in between. This included high-winding 340-cubic-inch small blocks and ground-pounding 440-cubic-inch big blocks, all in various states of tune and modifications. From mild to wild, there was non-stop action as the strip had a constant haze of tire smoke hovering over the burnout box while many cars became blurred racing down the 1320 at the first hit of green and racers planted their right foot down hard on the floorboard. 

For longtime Mopar Sportsman Racer Doug Wright, who was racing his pristine and immaculate “Sunburst Orange” 1964 Plymouth Belvedere. Powered by a massive 580-cubic-inch stroker Wedge engine, his 3,400-pound machine has run as fast as 8.90s at over 150 mph, but this weekend he dialed it back and was running the 9.25-second index in the Mancini Racing Nostalgia Super Stock class. The retired Chrysler Engineer drove his heart out by cutting good lights and getting the car “dialed-in” to run the number. After six rounds of intense competition, Doug won his class and collected $2,000 for his efforts. “This track has been a great place for me to race. With this being the first year of the Word of Mopar at Norwalk, I wanted to support this event. With almost 50 cars competing in Nostalgia Super Stock, every competitor was tough,” said Doug. “My toughest race came in round three when I raced Lonnie Smith in his Dodge Coronet, it was close all the way to the stripe, but I was able to get the win and it put a big smile on my face. It was a great weekend, and we appreciate Mancini Racing for sponsoring this cool class. I have one more race down in Kentucky before the season ends and hopefully, I can win there.” 

While the racecars were tearing up the strip, there was plenty of eye candy on the car show field located on the other side of the track. Everything from restored vintage muscle cars to wild street machines was on display. The numerous sponsors and manufacturers that supported this event were able to pick their Car Show Awards. It was a tough choice and the quality and selection of vehicles in the show field was huge. But duty calls and the winners were Jerry Imhoff’s 1970 Duster chosen by Arrington Performance, Rick and Nicole Janosik’s 1973 Challenger picked by Ken Ganley Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, and Mark Charlton’s 1963 Plymouth Wagon Max Wedge that grabbed the attention of the crew at Mancini Racing, Pam and Phil Helms’ 1972 Roadrunner Satellite chosen by Koffel’s Place and Dave Taylor’s 1962 Fury picked by CRT Transmissions. Other show winners included Bill Watkins’ 1969 Barracuda by Moto Lenz Photos, Joe and Pam Mazzola’s 1970 Barracuda the Indy Cylinder Heads folks really dug, Paul and Rose Prescott’s really cool 1969 Charger Daytona selected Harland Sharp, Francis McManamon’s 1966 Belvedere II Wagon singled out by FireCore 50, and finally Randy Slovikosky’s really cool 1978 Trail Duster was hand-picked by Dornan’s Sales & Service. 

With this first event in their books, Bill Bader Jr. and his crew at Summit Motorsports are already working on making next year’s Word of Mopar event even bigger. They’re also adding a GEN III HEMI race class, so mark your calendars as the 2024 date will be September 19-22, 2024. “This event has the ingredients to be enormous, and we are eager to see where we can go from here,” noted Bill Bader Jr. Knowing how he and his hardworking family and staff run their facility, we have no doubt.

If you didn’t make it to the World of Mopar event, we have you covered with our awesome photo gallery!