Dodge Celebrates 2004 Grassroots Racing Success
Takes Home 2004 Championships in SCCA, Formula D Drifting, Monster Truck Series
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- As a testament to Dodge's commitment to superior vehicle performance across all levels of racing, the 2005 Dodge garage will be stocked full with championship hardware earned for its successes at the grassroots level in 2004.
Sports Club Car of America (SCCA)
SPEED GT: Tommy Archer claimed his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship with a podium-finish of third in his No. 22 Dodge Viper Competition Coupe in the season-finale at Laguna Seca.
Archer drove the race of his life in the season finale to make up the four-point deficit he had on points-leader Michael Galati and then some. Archer fought back from stalling his Dodge Viper from his 10th place qualifying spot at the start of the race and picked off position after position to claim the points lead.
The 2004 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT points race marked the closest battle since Tommy Archer's brother, Bobby, piloted his Dodge Viper to leapfrog then points leader Peter Kitchak to claim the 1999 title in another nail-biting season-finale at Laguna Seca.
Earlier this season, Tommy Archer also tallied a Dodge Viper victory from the pole in the Portland Grand Prix event in July. The win was his first since notching two World Challenge Super Production victories in 1991.
"I tried to start with a little lower rpm, which wasn't a good idea," Archer said of his start. "I then thought that the race and championship were gone. Will Moody and I put a setup under the car that was just great. That gave me the confidence to move through the field. The car was the best it has been all weekend. I was able to drive hard the whole race until the tires started to fall off with about five laps to go. The team has worked hard all year, Dodge has been a big help along with c3controls and Whelen Engineering."
Rookie Dodge driver, Michael McCann, wrapped up the title of 2004 SPEED GT Rookie of the Year. He finished eighth in his No. 83 Viper Competition Coupe at Laguna Seca, and clinched seventh place in the series standings.
Pro Rally: Three 2004 Dodge SRT-4 entries combined to win all nine races in the Group 5 2WD class of the 2004 SCCA Pro-Rally season. The season sweep culminated in a victory by Chrysler Group employees Doug Shepherd and Pete Gladysz, veterans of the SCCA ProRally circuit for more than 25 years. Shepherd and Gladysz piloted their No. 52 Dodge SRT-4 to its sixth victory of the year in the season-finale at Houghton, Mich., and in-turn helped Dodge clinch several SCCA championship awards, including:
* Overall Manufacturer Championship (Mopar/Dodge)
* 2WD Overall Manufacturer Championship (Mopar/Dodge)
* Woodner Cup -- 2WD Overall Driver (Doug Shepherd -- No. 52 Dodge SRT-4)
* 2WD Overall Co-Driver (Pete Gladysz -- No. 52 Dodge SRT-4)
* Group 5 Manufacturer Championship (Mopar/Dodge)
* Group 5 Driver Championship (Doug Shepherd -- No. 52 Dodge SRT-4)
* Group 5 Co-Driver Championship (Pete Gladysz -- No. 52 Dodge SRT-4)
* Group 2 Manufacturer Championship (Mopar/Dodge)
The victory at Houghton marked Mopar and Dodge's 14th consecutive Group 5 win and ninth consecutive Overall 2WD trophy. Shepherd has driven in all but three of those winning Dodge SRT-4s.
Shepherd and Gladysz's success contributed to Dodge's first Overall Manufacturer championship in the SCCA ProRally circuit since 1977.
"This has been a tremendous season for the Mopar/Dodge Pro Rally Teams and for the Dodge SRT-4," Gladysz said. "Our goals were to again win the Group 5 and Two-Wheel-Drive Rally Championship and to develop the SRT4 and its Mopar Performance lineup of parts into the best performing two-wheel-drive car in the country." Pete Gladysz reflects on his championship SCCA ProRally season."
Eight-time Overall SCCA Pro Rally champion, Paul Choniere, made his first entry in a 2WD Pro Rally car in more than 20 years when he strapped into a 2004 Dodge SRT-4 for two events this year. Choniere, and veteran co-driver, Cindy Krolikowski, earned two G5 class wins, including a season-high third overall finish for a Dodge SRT-4 among all Pro Rally classes at the Susquehannock Trail Rally in Wellsboro, Pa., this June.
Chrysler employee, Chris Whiteman, and co-driver, Mike Paulin, also notched G5 and G2 class victories this year. Whiteman and Paulin's G2 efforts also helped Dodge clinch the 2004 title for the Group 2 Manufacturer Championship.
Club Racing: On the SCCA Club Racing circuit, John Fernandez, Director of Dodge Motorsports Operations, piloted two Dodges in the season-ending 60th SCCA Club Racing National Championship Runoffs at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.
Fernandez narrowly missed a bid for the championship in his first season competing in the SCCA Touring 2 Class series in his No. 04 2004 Dodge SRT-4. Fernandez finished sixth in the Touring 2 class runoffs on Sept. 25, and was runner-up in the 2004 Central Division National Championship Points standings.
Fernandez also piloted his No. 33 2001 Dodge Neon in the Showroom Stock Class at Mid-Ohio, finishing fourth after a late-race spin robbed him of his shot at a podium finish in the 2004 National Championship Runoffs.
Formula D Drift Series
Team Mopar's Samuel Hubinette was crowned the inaugural Formula D Drift Series champion on August 29 at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Hubinette won three of four events in a Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe for Lateral G Racing. With more than 50 participants, this was the first year the U.S. had ever hosted its own professional drift series.
Hubinette, nicknamed "The Crazy Swede," left his mark on the drifting arena throughout the 2004 season with his flamboyant driving style and crowd-pleasing smoke shows.
Hubinette's Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe was prepared and maintained by California-based NuFormz Racing, which fields the Mopar Dodge SRT-4 driven by Shaun Carlson in NHRA Sport Compact action. Marko Radosavljevic, president of the Las Vegas Dodge Viper Club, owns the machine that Hubinette piloted throughout the year.
Monster Truck Series
Hall Brothers Racing's Dodge "Raminator" Monster Truck continues to stomp out the competition as Tim and Mark Hall defended their 2003 titles in the Monster Nationals (indoor) and Special Events Performance (outdoor) series with repeat championships in 2004.
The Raminator clinched its third consecutive Special Event Performance championship with an impressive outing in September's Monster Truck Thunder Drags in Indianapolis. Through 17 rounds, Raminator earned seven wins and two runner-up finishes this season.
"This is just great and we couldn't be more pleased," said driver, Mark Hall. "We came into Round 17 tied for the lead. It was a make-or-break situation and luckily for us we emerged victorious. Taking the title three times in a row is awesome and now we plan to set our sights on taking the crown again next season."
Headquartered in Champaign, Ill., Hall Brothers Racing has done nothing but churn out championship-caliber success since coming onto the scene with Dodge in 2002. The shop fields two Dodge Ram Heavy Duty Monster Trucks: Raminator, driven by Mark Hall, and Rammunition, driven by 2002 Monster Truck Rookie of the Year, Dale Benear.
Standing 10 feet tall and 12.5 feet wide, both Raminator and Rammunition weigh 10,300 lbs. Powered by a 565 cubic inch supercharged HEMI engine, both trucks boast 2000+ horsepower.
"Having an extremely tough Dodge Truck and tremendous horsepower from our Dodge 565 cubic inch supercharged Hemi powerplant definitely have provided us with the necessary ingredients to be Number One," Hall said. "The other trick is to be consistent and that is our goal every time out. We don't just race to race, we race to win."