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Mopar Drag Pak History
The Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak’s roots were firmly planted in the early 1960s with the factory production of Max Wedge package cars. In 1968, famously coveted 426 HEMI engine-powered Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda package cars were unleashed on the strip. Those vehicles continue to compete in the Super Stock/Automatic-HEMI (SS/AH) class of NHRA Sportsman racing and the annual fan favorite Mopar HEMI Challenge, held during the NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana, since 2001.
In 2008, Mopar® delighted speed lovers by announcing the first drag race, factory-prepped package cars in 40 years – the first V8 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak. The return of the Mopar package car was a hit with racers, and the 2009 program saw a first-year sell-out of all 100 factory-built vehicles.
Building on that success, the 2010 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak program offered racers an available 6.4-liter HEMI® engine. Then in 2011, Mopar introduced a race-ready V10 package car, becoming the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to offer a 500-plus-cubic-inch V10 drag package car.
Mopar has continued to mark many firsts. The Drag Pak has captured numerous NHRA National title wins and records, and the previous generation Mopar Drag Pak was also the first modern-era package car to win the Stock Eliminator class crown at the U.S. Nationals.
The 426 Drag Pak was also the first naturally-aspirated package car to make an eight-second-range quarter-mile pass at an NHRA national event. During the 2014 season, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Gen II Race HEMI, the 426 Drag Pak won a majority of the factory stock naturally aspirated class races and has posted national event class wins in recent years.
The 2015 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak added to Mopar’s package car heritage, marking the brand’s first offering to racers of a supercharger. As the most powerful Drag Paks to date, both the 354 Gen III HEMI supercharged engine and the 426 Gen III Race HEMI will take their aim squarely at quarter-mile success as Mopar continues to compete in street, track and off-road performance.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens next with the Drag Pak program…