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Mopar has a golden opportunity
Let’s hope that MOPAR/Dodge is able to build a quality, effective support program for NHRA MOPAR sportsman racers. It will take much more than just a symbolic effort to make the support/marketing program effective. Having drag racing experienced MOPAR/Dodge engineers at the NHRA National events to provide useful technical/engineering information could prove very beneficial. Hopefully the sharing of engineering knowledge will not be limited just to the Drag Pak racers.
There has been no announcement of MOPAR pseudo sponsoring an NHRA P/S race team for 2017. With Pro Stock arguably being THE ultimate production car based pro racing class, it’s unthinkable that MOPAR/Dodge would abandon the P/S racers who have carried the MOPAR/Dodge brand flag for over 20 years. Considering the factory support provided to GM Pro Stock participants the engineers at MOPAR/Dodge could do well to apply their expertise to truly assist the P/S MOPAR/Dodge racers who have been brand loyal for decades. Much of the knowledge learned in P/S could be useful to the sportsman racers as well.
Anyone familiar with the past “Direct Connection” and similar Chrysler racer support programs can confirm the huge sales and brand benefits to Chrysler / MOPAR. Just look at the volume of Roadrunners, Cudas, Darts, GTXs, Chargers and Challengers Chrysler sold back in the day by virtue of some hardcore Chrysler engineers/drag racers going the extra mile to really work with the pro/sportsman racers of the day. That knowledge and engineering led to the original 413/426 Max Wedge engines and the 426 Hemi originally developed for for NASCAR. As they say the rest is history. Even the 340 small block was an offshoot of the drag racing development of the day. While the world has changed the need for serious race engineering support that directly leads to increased new car sales has not. The Halo 707 HP Challenger shows what Chrysler engineers are capable of but not everyone can afford a 707 HP Challenger. Many people, however, would be very happy with a HOT V-6 powered or more cost effective version of the current gen Hemi powered Challenger / Charger.
Dodge/MOPAR have a golden opportunity if they are wise enough to seize it.
Remembering Meadowdale Raceway
Having been born in Elgin, just down Route 31 from the track and the raceway I remember the venue. As a kid I remember the Pure Oil water tower that could be seen from Rt. 31.
It was many years ago. I remember the name Besinger. If I remember he developed subdivisions around Carpentersville. Never knew if the stories were true, but as a kid you overhear things and I remember hearing the homes he built were less than top quality. Many were bought cheap, perhaps under $20k back then. Many remain, having been rebuilt, remodeled, and reworked, probably selling for $100k these days.
I also remember the name Dick Doane. If I remember he had a car dealership somewhere in the Dundee, Illinois, area. I don't remember if it was new vehicles or used and right now I don't remember exactly where it was located but know I've seen the place.
I think my Dad took me to Meadowdale Raceway for the sports car series but I don't think I was overwhelmed. Cars went past at speed and disappeared for a period of time and that bored me. It might be why I've never been to a NASCAR race. I'll watch it, wish the TV guys would quiet down a bit. Same with football, basketball TV. They talk and talk about what's going to happen and sometimes they're right, many times not even close, but I digress.
My Dad took me to Indy time trials one year too but I was bored then except when the revolutionary STP turbine cars hit the track, but I digress again.
The year escapes me, but I talked my Dad and uncle to haul me out to Meadowdale Raceway's dragstrip. I'd found the type of racing I liked...Drag racing, and the funny cars in particular.
Don't remember if it was a Friday or Saturday night, but I think 8 of the times touring pros were running a deal similar to the Coca-Cola circuit. I can't remember all 8 cars, but I believe Seatons Shaker Corvair, Fred Goeski's Barracuda, Don Schumacher's Stardust were in the show. I'm thinking Mr. Norms Dodge and maybe the original Chi-Town Hustler Barracuda with Pat Minnick and Austin Coil may have been there too.
I don't remember who ran who or who won but it was cool back then. They looked like street cars, didn't come close to 300 mph but it was the good old days. I have some old "slides" I may dig out to refresh my memory of who may have been on the card that night.
Unfortunately, I don't know if they ever returned or if the dragstrip was ever used much or ever again. Things never worked out very well or consistently at Meadowdale Raceway.
The story I read on 1320 reminded me of this. Perhaps forward my message to Chicago Dude, see if my memory jogs his. Thanks
Note: The full Meadowdale story was in Chicago Jon’s column, The Nitro Joint.