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Mopar Unveils New Dodge Dart Pro Stock for NHRA Gatornationals
Allen Johnson to Carry ‘Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar’ Sponsorship

Johnson and Coughlin Jr. to premiere the new Dodge Dart Pro Stock at the NHRA Gatornationals this weekend
Dodge Dart replaces the Dodge Avenger, Mopar’s most successful Pro Stock class vehicle in its history
Mopar partnership with Magneti Marelli extends to primary sponsorship of Johnson & Johnson Pro Stock Dodge Dart for 2014 season
Tribute to 50th anniversary GEN II 426 Race HEMI® ‘Elephant’ paint scheme also revealed on Hagan’s DSR Dodge Charger R/T in anticipation of the Mopar Mile High Nationals in July

March 13, 2014 , Gainesville, Fla. -

Asian Elephant Luke trumpets his approval of the special 426 HEMI 50th anniversary paint scheme Matt Hagan will carry later this year on his Don Schumacher Racing Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car.

The much anticipated debut of Mopar’s newest Pro Stock class vehicle, the Dodge Dart, will take place this weekend at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Gatornationals, following its reveal by world champion drivers Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. at Two Tails Ranch near Gainesville, Fla., on Thursday.

Joining the Dodge Charger R/T in the Funny Car class and the Dodge Challenger in Sportsman competition, the Dodge Dart was chosen as the next generation Pro Stock vehicle and developed on a virtual platform, using production-based technology and tools used for street vehicles, with Chrysler Group LLC race and production engineers working hand-in-hand with the race teams.

The new Dodge Dart race car design was validated with aerodynamic wind tunnel testing at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich., in late February, then made its first test runs at Bradenton (Fla.) Motorsports Park prior to arriving in Gainesville for the third national event on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag racing season schedule.

Retiring from competition with Johnson’s win at the last NHRA event in Phoenix, the four-door Dodge Avenger ends its run as the most successful of Mopar racecars in its class after claiming a total of 27 NHRA national titles and a record 28 No.1-qualifier positions, in addition to consecutive championships in 2012 and 2013.

Two Dodge Dart cars will make their competition debut at this weekend’s prestigious national event with defending title holder Johnson and five- time Pro Stock Champion Coughlin at the controls, while Vieri Gaines will join the fray in a few weeks upon completion of his new HEMI-powered racecar.

“We are very excited to launch the Dodge Dart, and along with our Mopar fans, to see what Allen (Johnson) and Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) can accomplish with this new vehicle as they vie for a third championship in the high-performance and ultra-competitive Pro Stock division,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The new Dart is a testament of how Mopar uses the motorsports program as a technological proving ground with Chrysler’s own leading-edge technology and production processes. We have great expectations for its on-track success.

“Mopar also is very pleased to extend our partnership with Magneti Marelli to include primary sponsorship of Allen’s new Pro Stock in order to continue to raise awareness for our brands and quality products while bolstering our collective support and commitment to NHRA drag racing.”

Johnson’s HEMI- powered Dodge Dart will carry the “Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar” sponsorship as an extension of Mopar’s partnership with Magneti Marelli. Their racing alliance was initiated in 2012 and developed into a primary sponsorship the following year, sharing in Don Schumacher Racing driver Matt Hagan’s successful runner-up championship season.

“We at Magneti Marelli are very enthusiastic to be the main sponsor of Allen Johnson’s new Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock car and team for 2014,” said Pietro Berardi, CEO Magneti Marelli Aftermarket. “We have co-sponsored Allen for two years now and he has proven to be a great asset for our company with his excellent performance of becoming 2012 Pro Stock World Champion and coming close again in 2013 with the second place in the overall championship. Also this year, Allen is off to a great start already with a win in Phoenix under his belt for 2014.

“Allen and his entire team are very gracious with our customers who are always excited to meet the racing legends of Pro Stock racing,” Berardi added. “It is great that the new vehicle will be revealed at the Gatornationals as this is where Magneti Marelli started its very first NHRA involvement in 2012 and Allen has proven to be a great brand builder for Magneti Marelli with the target customer group of racing enthusiasts and independent repair facility workers. We are hoping and wishing for a very successful 2014 season for Allen and his team.”

The partnership between Mopar and Magneti Marelli first came to fruition in April 2011, combining Mopar’s more than 75 years of U.S. automotive parts and service prowess with Magneti Marelli’s 95 years of international automotive parts experience to create an automotive parts giant that provides quality parts for all major make and model vehicles.

The “all makes” parts program for the North American aftermarket gives the Chrysler Group dealership network the ability to service competitive make and model vehicles with high-quality parts at an exceptional value, creating one-stop service and parts shops for customers.

As part of the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of the GEN II 426 Race HEMI, Mopar also revealed a special paint scheme on DSR Matt Hagan Dodge Charger R/T that includes a tribute to the HEMI “Elephant”, a nickname given to the legendary power plant. The new look will make its competition premier in July for the NHRA Mopar Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., outside of Denver.

About Mopar Motorsports
Mopar’s commitment to professional motorsports competition was established in the 1950s when a partnership ignited with drag racing pioneer Don Garlits, resulting in the breaking of numerous speed and performance barriers in HEMI®-powered vehicles over the next several decades. In 2014, Mopar celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the GEN III 426 Race HEMI® and looks to defend back-to-back NHRA World Championship titles (2012-2013) in the Pro Stock class and battle for another Funny Car World Championship after wins in 2011-2012. While Mopar remains involved in a various professional motorsports series, it continues to honor its roots by being a proud supporter of amateur racing within the NHRA with its sponsorship of the HEMI Challenge and Mopar Sportsman Cup.

About Magneti Marelli
Based in Italy (Corbetta, Milan), Magneti Marelli was established in 1919. The company is a subsidiary of Fiat Group and has a successful presence and reputation as performance technology provider in racing, including Formula 1 and World Rally Championship (WRC). Its racing involvement also includes other racing segments such as NHRA sponsorships. Magneti Marelli designs and produces advanced systems and components for the automotive industry. With its 85 production units, 12 R&D centers and 26 application centers in 19 countries, about 38,000 employees and a turnover of 8.3 billion USD in 2013, the group supplies all leading carmakers in Europe, North and South America and the Far East. Its business areas include: Electronic Systems, Lighting; Powertrain, Suspension Systems and Shock Absorbers, Exhaust Systems, Aftermarket Parts & Services, Plastic Components and Modules, Motorsport..

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Published on Mar 13, 2014

The first race for Mopar's newest Pro Stock class vehicle, the Dodge Dart, will take place this weekend at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Gatornationals, with world champion drivers Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin Jr. behind the wheel. The new Dodge Dart race car design was validated with aerodynamic wind tunnel testing at Chrysler Group headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

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Mopar Dodge Dart Debuts with Two Top-Five Starting Spots at NHRA Gatornationals

2013 NHRA Pro Stock series champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. captures the third starting position in the maiden race for his Mopar/ Dodge Dart
Defending NHRA Gatornationals winner Allen Johnson begins eliminations fourth in his new ‘Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar’ Dodge Dart
Coughlin and Johnson set career-best speed records in their new Mopar-powered Dodge Dart
Six Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car racers, led by No. 3 qualifier Jack Beckman, will fight for the Gatornationals trophy on Sunday

March 15, 2014 , Gainesville, Fla. -

Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Allen Johnson were confident the new Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock car would shine in its competition debut, and the pair demonstrated exactly why during qualifying for the 45th Annual NHRA Gatornationals. Coughlin and Johnson powered to career best speeds in their brand-new race cars and will both start in the top half of the field, third and fourth, respectively, as they aim to claim the inaugural win for the Dodge Dart during Sunday elimination rounds in Gainesville, Fla.

The Mopar teammates held their spots from Friday, when defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock champion Coughlin earned the third position based on a 6.484-second run in the very first qualifying attempt for his Mopar/ Dodge Dart. Johnson claimed the No. 4 berth in his “Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart with a 6.487 pass in Friday’s second session, in which Coughlin also powered to a career-best speed of 214.62 mph.

Although unable to move further up the starting grid during Saturday’s final two sessions, both Dodge Dart entries continued to shine. In the third session, Coughlin and Johnson qualified together in the first-ever side-by-side run of Dodge Dart Pro Stockers. Johnson was quicker and faster with a 6.495-second run at 214.04 mph, a career-best speed, and was second-quickest of the round, banking two bonus points. Teammate Coughlin posted a 6.505/213.77. In his Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dart’s final qualifying attempt, Johnson’s 6.506/212.90 was once again second-quickest of the round, while Coughlin remained solid with a 6.516/213.00.

Coughlin will square off with Rodger Brogdon in round one in his quest for a third Gatornationals crown, and seventh finals appearance at the event. Johnson, who on Sunday seeks a repeat of his 2013 Gatornationals victory and also his second-consecutive win of the 2014 season, will meet Johnathan Gray in the opening round.

“I’m so proud of how hard my crew and the Mopar engineers and employees have worked to get this new Dodge Dart not only ready, but competing so strong right out of the gate,” said Johnson. “It’s been a great debut so far, and the only thing that would make it better is to see the two Dodge Dart Pro Stock cars in the final elimination, with a shot at defending my title here. That’s the goal for Sunday.”

V. Gaines (6.518) will start seventh in his points-leading Mopar Dodge Avenger and battle Larry Morgan to begin eliminations as he seeks his third-straight final round appearance of the season. Gaines will take delivery of his new Dodge Dart as well in few weeks. Matt Hartford (6.591) was listed 16th and will line up with No. 1 Qualifier Dave Connolly.

Seeking their first win of 2014, the Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T NHRA Funny Car squad was paced by Jack Beckman (4.108), who claimed the No. 3 spot and a date with recent NHRA Phoenix winner Alexis DeJoria in the opening round. His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps (4.121) qualified sixth and will get a Mopar vs. Mopar matchup against Jeff Arend (No. 11, 4.139) to begin his day, with No. 9 starter Tommy Johnson Jr. (4.130) lining up his DSR Dodge Charger R/T against Del Worsham.

Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T racer Matt Hagan (4.144) finished No. 12 in qualifying, with Courtney Force awaiting the 2011 Funny Car champ in round one, and Blake Alexander (No. 15, 4.292) will race his Dodge against Bob Tasca III.

Elimination rounds for the NHRA Gatornationals are scheduled to begin on Sunday at 11 a.m. (EDT). Two hours of NHRA Gatornationals qualifying coverage are scheduled to be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD on Sunday beginning at 1 a.m. and then rebroadcast at 7:30 a.m. ET. Two hours of elimination rounds coverage will be broadcast on ESPN2 and ESPN2HD starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

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Bullseye: Johnson Drives Mopar Pro Stock Dodge Dart to Historic First Win in Race Debut at NHRA Gatornationals

In the race car’s competition debut, Allen Johnson takes the Dodge Dart all the way to victory
Team Mopar racer Johnson scores back-to-back NHRA Gatornationals triumphs and his second consecutive win of the 2014 season
Johnson puts his ‘Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar’ Dodge Dart in the points lead for the NHRA Pro Stock series championship
Mopar Dodge Pro Stock cars are 1-2 in the standings after three events, with final-round appearances in each race thus far
Coughlin reaches the quarterfinals in the debut of his Mopar/ Dodge Dart

Capps races his Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car to the semifinals

March 16, 2014 , Gainesville, Fla. -

Allen Johnson had boldly predicted that the new Mopar Dodge Dart NHRA Pro Stock car will ultimately rank among the greatest to compete in the class — and it looks like the Team Mopar veteran might have a bright future as a prognosticator. In the vehicle’s competition debut Johnson wasted no time in igniting a winning legacy for the Dodge Dart, powering to a history-making event win at the 45th Annual NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

Johnson also captured his second consecutive NHRA Gatornationals crown and his 22nd career win in 47 final-round appearances en route to become the first Pro Stocker to drive a Dodge Dart into Victory Lane. The win is also the Greeneville, Tenn., native’s second in a row this this season —Johnson raced his Dodge Avenger to a farewell victory at the recent NHRA Phoenix event before christening the Dodge Dart in triumphant style.

“Congratulations to Allen Johnson for taking the new Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar Dodge Dart straight to the winner’s circle in its debut to earn the prestigious Gatornationals title,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “What a fantastic way to demonstrate the quality of Mopar products and team work. To defend his title, earn consecutive wins and take the early lead in the championship points makes us very excited about the future of the Dodge Dart and Allen’s bid for another NHRA Championship amid some strong competition.”

In the maiden race for his Dodge Dart, and the first with “Magneti Marelli Quality Auto Parts Offered by Mopar” as his primary sponsor, Johnson qualified No. 4 and recorded his fastest career run with a speed of 214.04 mph. He navigated a nail-biting route to the semifinals, tracking down rookie Jonathan Gray in the first session of eliminations after Gray recorded a near-perfect reaction time. Johnson used a 6.559 second /211.83 mph run to catch Gray (6.593/209.98) just past the 1,000 ft. mark.

Johnson’s Dodge Dart veered sharply left in the quarterfinals as he fought the machine down the strip, however, opponent Shane Gray encountered even more trouble on his way down the quarter-mile, and Johnson was able to reel in his ride for a winning 7.414/149.88 pass. Johnson showed that the new Dodge Dart is ready for prime time in the semis, unleashing a 6.569/211.79 to knock off top qualifier Dave Connolly (6.583/211.20). In the money round Johnson demonstrated that the driver is just as important as the car, leaving first with a quicker .017-second reaction time to score a holeshot win over Erica Ender-Stevens, despite a 6.566/211.73 pass to her quicker and faster 6.551/211.96.

“What a great job the Mopar engineers, everybody at Chrysler Group, Dodge and SRT did,” said Johnson, the 2012 NHRA Pro Stock champ and 2013 series runner-up. “I just can’t say enough. For the last two weeks since the Phoenix win, it’s been nonstop. My guys haven’t had a day off. It says a tremendous amount about our crew, and the engineering efforts behind it (the Dart).

“Everything to do with the design of the Dart, the engineers took our input and really came up with a great car. To be able to do that (win in its first race) is a huge accomplishment.”

After posting his fastest speed ever (214.62) mile per hour during qualifying in the debut of the Mopar/ Dodge Dart, defending NHRA Pro Stock series champ and No. 3 starter Jeg Coughlin Jr. bested Rodger Brogdon in the opening round, reaching the finish line first with a 6.550/211.89 paired with a .019 reaction time.

Coughlin’s reflexes were even quicker in the quarterfinals, leaving on Vincent Nobile with a .015 reaction time compared to his opponents slower .021. Unfortunately, the 6.591/211.69 pass by Coughlin wasn’t enough to overcome Nobile’s quicker 6.580/210.60 at the stripe.

The Pro Stock points leader entering the NHRA Gatornationals following two runner-up finishes to start the season, V. Gaines slipped to No. 2 after Gainesville. His 6.571/211.79 in his Dodge Avenger (Gaines will take delivery a new Dodge Dart body shortly) couldn’t match the 6.535/212.59 laid down by Enders-Stevens in the quarterfinals. Mopar-powered Dodge driver Matt Hartford drew Connolly in the first-round, where his day ended.

No. 6 qualifier Ron Capps was forced to take out two fellow Mopar-powered Dodge Charger R/T drivers in the first two rounds, sending home Jeff Arend to start Sunday on the strength of a 4.132/308.14 run. In a showdown of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teammates, Capps’ Dodge (4.136/307.16) came out on top in the quarterfinals, with No. 3 starter and Mopar Dodge pilot Jack Beckman (5.844/121.34) dealt the loss. Facing Robert Hight with lane choice in the semifinals, Capps saw his hopes for a Gatornationals triumph go up in smoke early, smoking the tires and slowing to a 7.663/89.63 as Hight pulled away to a 4.168/301.20 winning pass.

Seeking his first final-round appearance at the Gatornationals, Matt Hagan’s DSR Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T Funny Car led past the 660-ft. mark but made a sharp move near the finish in his first-round duel with Courtney Force, forcing the 2011 Funny Car champ to reel it in. The result was a losing 4.307/226.92 to his foe’s winning 4.102/315.56. Hagan’s DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. was defeated by Del Worsham in the opening round (4.157/303.78 to 4.117/308.92), and Dodge Charger R/T pilot Blake Alexander also was sent to the trailer in round one, losing to Bob Tasca III (4.251/296.24 to 4.140/308.14).

Next up for NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Team Mopar competitors is the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, Nev., scheduled for March 28–30.
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