Kurt Busch Makes Mopar-Powered NHRA Debut At Gatornationals

By Auto News Log • March 15th, 2010

Dodge Motorsports driver and 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch finally made his much-anticipated NHRA debut in his Mopar HEMI-powered 1970 Dodge Challenger Super Gas car at the NHRA Gatornationals on Sunday. Busch ran a best elapsed time of 9.94-seconds at the event.

Time trials and eliminations at Gainesville Raceway were delayed for three days for the Super Gas cars due to rainy weather. Busch made his official NHRA Sportsman debut on Sunday morning, laying down his 9.94 run. His day ended in the first round of Super Gas eliminations despite an improved reaction time and a 10.10 ET.

The action on the strip capped off a busy weekend for Busch during a rare break from driving his Penske Racing No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Busch took part in a Team Mopar autograph session on Saturday with Mopar-powered Pro Stock drivers Allen Johnson, V. Gaines and Vinnie Deceglie, made the media rounds and took time to talk with the throngs of drag racing fans that surrounded his pit area.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be part of the Gatornationals,” said Busch, winner of the recent Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup event on March 7. “As many off weekends as we don’t have in the NASCAR circuit, I’d love to come and run some regional events and get our feet wet and get the mojo going. Running in the Super Gas division, it’s really neat, the camaraderie with the guys, hanging out in the pit area and just being one of the group.

“It’s been a lot of fun to put this car together, a 1970 Dodge Challenger. My crew chief Jesse [Walker] and I kept bouncing ideas off each other. It’s been one thing after the next. We’ve had some great support from Dodge and Mopar.”

Mopar racing legend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits also competed at the Gatornationals, racing his Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak vehicle in the Stock Eliminator class. Garlits recorded a 10.36-elapsed time at 0.635 under index during qualifying.

Garlits ran unopposed in the first round of eliminations, greatly improving on his first pass with a 10.22/132.84 mark. The 78-year-old’s second round run was even better, as “Big” posted a 10.06/133.61 mark, but his .242 reaction time off the starting line proved too much to make up as his opponent Dustan Lowell earned a memory he will no doubt cherish—a win over “Big Daddy.”

Source: Mopar Speed


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