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by Jeff Burk
photos by Ron Lewis

The fastest and almost quickest Pro Stockers on the planet officially are the brand new Mopar Neons debuted at the NHRA Mopar Nationals at Denver. Despite a corrected altitude rumored to approach 10,000 ft above sea level, the Neons were competitive. They ran fast and quick, but the Neons weren't the quickest nor the fastest Pro Stockers at that event.

Then the factory team went to Seattle, which is much closer to sea-level, and to put it bluntly they absolutely dominated the event. For the first time since 1995 two Mopars met in the finals of Pro Stock. Darrell Alderman took the speed record away from Warren Johnson who had held the record at 202.36. Alderman ran laps of 202.42 and 202.64 to set the record at that number. And Pro Stock winner Mark Osborne turned in the third quickest elapsed time in NHRA Pro Stock history at 6.819.

What happened to the Mopars that turned them into the dominant cars in 500-inch Pro Stock racing in just two races? Drag Racing Online decided to look into the situation to find the answer. The answer is several years of dedicated work by the factory to develop a true factory hot rod.

At least part of the credit has to go to the former Mopar majordomo Lou Patane, who reportedly is responsible for the new "hemi" engine. It's not really a hemi -- despite the name on the valve cover -- but who cares. DaimlerChrysler calls it a hemi and they write the checks, so it's a "hemi" as far as the factory racers are concerned.


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