New Car Makes Debut During Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals
MORRISON, Colo. (July 18, 2001) - The 'factory hot rod' Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T, driven by Mopar drivers Darrell Alderman and Mark Osborne, will make its competitive debut during qualifying for the July 19-22 Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway.
The Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T will be powered by Mopar's 500-cubic-inch Hemi engine, which began competition at the beginning of the 2000 NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series season. In addition, Dodge Motorsports driver Larry Morgan also is slated to run the new Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T.
"This is the next step in building a drag racing championship for Mopar and Dodge," said Brett Fischer, drag racing program manager for DaimlerChrysler. "We began with the Hemi engine one year ago. Now we've added the new Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T. We are replacing our aged R/T bodies with something new. The new Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T is a true factory hot rod."
DaimlerChrysler's Auburn Hills, Michigan-based factory engineers and designers, along with RJ Race Cars, Kirkman Composites and Roush Industries, were instrumental in developing the new car.
"The Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T is the first Pro Stock car that has received significant early development input from our scientific labs," said Terry DeKoninck, DaimlerChrysler aero thermal development engineer. "Usually, the factory engineers get a hold of the car when it's pretty close to finished. An independent chassis shop will only call on us to look at the car during final wind tunnel development to make sure everything is solid.
"On this project, we were instrumental in the entire development process," DeKoninck added. "We made a lot of changes form the original mold and plug, and it came out pretty well.
"The frontal area on the Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T is much smaller than the frontal area of the car it replaces," explained DeKoninck. "It's also a lot slicker and has a great deal more down force, in fact, in this car, we've been able to get a great deal of rear down force without compromising on the spoiler. It has much less drag and I think it will be one fast race car. The Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T also will be easier to drive. With a bit longer and sleeker lines, it will have much more stability."
The new Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T is designed to help Dodge and Mopar keep pace with the competition.
Alderman, who has won three Winston Pro Stock World Championships under the Mopar banner, talked about the changes happening with the drag racing program.
"I can tell you that I've never seen this much activity, dedication and change in the Mopar program I see today," Alderman said. "It's quite evident that Dodge has stepped up to the plate and wants to win a Pro Stock championship. I would like to win another championship myself and I think we finally have the tools to do it."
The Pro Stock Dodge Neon R/T replaces the aged 2000 Dodge R/T body, which made three final-round appearances during the first part of the 2001 NHRA season. Alderman opened the season in the finals at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway, while teammate Osborne drove his R/T to the finals at Gainesville (Fla.) Raceway and National Trial Raceway in Kirkersville, Ohio earlier this year.