The 59th Annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway -
Featuring the Mopar Hemi Challenge.

Click Here for the Full Ladder

Qualifications begin today.... (Wednesday, August 28th)

Good Morning - A few notes as we head into the first day of competition.  The Missouri Mule will actually be driven by Tony DePillo.  Russ Campbell - didn't have enough driver points to compete.  Note to self: Entry into the SportsNationals does not give you National drivers points.  Also of note, there was chatter about Gary Jacob not being able to get his Hemi in race ready condition....we now have word that he does in fact have that elephant ready to rumble and will be trackside.

Let's see how things shake out today....Photog Doug is on the scene!

After One Round of Qualifying:
Mid-morning, Temps 82 a rising.

Charlie Westcott Jr. 8.521 158.39
Rick Houser 8.588 156.14
Larry Perkins 8.632 154.32
Charlie Westcott Sr.


Stephen Hebert 8.671 154.97
Jim Daniels 8.674 155.24
Lloyd Wofford 8.690 152.55
Steve Kent 8.699 154.42
Joe Teuton III 8.735 153.53
Steve Comella 8.761 150.55
Mike Booker 8.765 152.59
Tony DePillo 8.882 155.21
Gus Mantas 9.125 136.39
Dan Zrust 9.212 143.83
Gary Wolkwitz SDE --
Joe Paillot SDE --

Jim Pancake is on site, but did not make a pass.  Gary Jacob and Willie Shepherd are not trackside yet.  For the record SDE - Shut Down Early.

After a Second Round of Qualifying:
15 cars made it down the track for a second round of qualifying, in and amongst the 19 cars on site, there are 6 sticks and 13 automatics in 12 Barracudas and 7 Darts. 

Gary Jacob got out for a first pass with a 9.468 at 138.31 mph.  This was a first pass on a fresh motor.  Three improvements from this morning including Gus Mantas with a 8.744 at 151.92 mph and the Mike and Tammy Booker entree driven by Mike stepped it up a bit running an 8.759 at 152.31 mph. Charlie Westcott Jr. also took it up a notch to 8.505 at 157.37 mph.   Also making a first pass was David Barton in the Earthquake Dart!  He shut down early, so no numbers to report.

Jim Pancake has not made a pass as of yet, he has some suspect internal engine problems - we won't speculate, but the boys are working hard this evening to get repairs made and the car on track for tomorrow.

We also have our first casuality of the event in that Steve Comella in the Island Hemi has spun a rod bearing and is down for the weekend.  This brings out the sad face. :(

We hear that there will be most likely only one pass for tomorrow and we suspect that this will take place in the absolute heat of the afternoon.... Oh joy!

Until tomorrow....

Thursday, August 29th

News from the pits this morning including the fact that the Jeff Kobylski car is in the paddock.  Bob and Sue Kobylski brought the car down after Bob had spent sometime reassembling the motor.  It will proudly lead the parade of Elephants tomorrow morning.  Bob is making plans to drive his brothers car in the near future.  It was great to see Bob and Sue trackside today.

Last night, when we last left our story, the Comella camp had spun a rod bearing.  This morning, we found them up early and already working hard on the engine. However, before 9am, Super Guy Joe Teuton had agreed to loan the Comella's one of his engines.  At the end of the day the Barton built engine was in the car and they had six of the eight header tubes in position.  The last two are giving them a battle.

Also in the problem department, Gary Jacob has some suspicious oil pressure and has parked the car for the weekend.

So after a third round of qualifying - here is your complete combined qualifying results:

3651 Charlie Westcott Jr. Parma, MI '68 Barracuda 8.505 157.37
721 Rick Houser Pasadena, CA '68 Barracuda 8.515 158.04
403H Stephen Hebert Westlake, LA '68 Barracuda 8.613 155.60
3036 Charlie Westcott Sr. Parma, MI '68 Barracuda 8.621 156.73
452 Steven Kent Lottie, LA '68 Barracuda 8.624 152.76
148 Larry Perkins Collegeville, PA '68 Barracuda 8.632 154.32
1945 Gary Wolkwitz Annadale, NJ '68 Dart 8.636 154.97
1428 Gus Mantas Toronto, Canada '68 Barracuda 8.667 153.30
1517 Jim Daniels Bristol, PA '68 Dart 8.674 155.24
4300 LLoyd Wofford Jonesboro, AR '68 Barracuda 8.690 152.55
4426 Joe Teuton Schriever, LA '68 Barracuda 8.718 154.51
499Z Joseph Paillot New Orleans, LA '68 Dart 8.731 152.55
6027 Mike Booker Davenport, WA '68 Barracuda 8.759 152.31
1969 Steve Comella Webster, NY '68 Dart 8.761 150.55
364 Tony De Pillo Dayton, OH '68 Barracuda 8.882 155.21
350 Jim Pancake Delaware, OH '68 Dart 8.980 153.79
5583 Dan Zrust Maple Grove, MN '68 Barracuda 9.212 143.83
303 Gary Jacob Shelby Township, MI '68 Dart 9.469 138.31
1990 David Barton Robesonia, PA '68 Dart 12.451 71.78

So after qualifying paddock news:  Steven Kent gaves us a stellar pass - his best of the event, but unfortunately sustained a broken valve and is done for the weekend.

So outside of the Kent and Jacob hot rods, everybody else should be capable of making an appearance for first round.  (We are expecting Steve and Chuck Comella to whip those headers into shape!) 

The Elephant Parade is scheduled for 9:30am tomorrow.  Round one of eliminations of the Mopar Hemi Challenge to follow!

One side note from the Editor:  We are a little late in posting tonight....due to our attendance at the Snake and Mongoose movie premier.  The word for the evening was authentic!  After speaking with the film's producers, I know that he personally went through the NHRA vault of footage - so when you go see the film, you will appreciate the documentary nature and the real footage that is included in this picture!  It was enjoyed by all the legends in the house!  The Snake and Mongoose is now playing in selected theaters! 

Until tomorrow....



Friday, August 30th - Elimination Rounds

The Parade of Elephants brought 17 cars to the staging lanes, everyone expected was ready for Round 1 of Eliminations.  The full ladder is posted up above.  Again, as expected, Steve Kent did not appear so Steve Comella got a bye run.  Jim Daniels also enjoyed a freebie as Gary Jacob was unable to appear as previously noted.  Charlie Westcott Jr. with a bye run posted the Low ET for the event so far with a 8.478 at 159.14mph.

Back in the paddock after Round 1 - David Barton was changing a transmission and a torque converter.  Jim Daniels swapped out a rocker arm.

In Round 2 - Barton got a surprise bye run with Comella not coming to the line.  Hebert got out of the gate late, but had enough under the hood to catch Zrust for the Win.  Pancake with the redlight moved Houser forward and Westcott Jr. will run his Dad, Westcott Sr. in Round 3.

Back in the paddock after Round 2 - While Pancake lit the red bulbs, Houser finsihed out his pass with a MPH of only 107.39.  There's a reason for top gear!  The transmission is currently out of the car and has been golf carted over to Steve Kent's Pro Stock pit area for repairs! 

In Round 3 - Houser made it to the line and put some numbers on the board that should remind Charlie Westcott Jr., who beat his Dad only by a thousandth of a RT Redlight, that he will have to be on his game to win the Mopar Hemi Challenge.  Hebert got Barton and will enjoy a Bye heading into the finals!

In Round 4 - Just prior to the runs, with track temps at 126 degrees, there was some serious tire spin in the right-hand lane.  Westcott Jr. pulled into his favorite left-hand lane and Houser pulled into the right.  Houser did what he needed to do - he found grip and got the hole shot, which gave him just enough to end the winning streak of Charlie Westcott Jr.  Hebert was up next for his bye run - and had massive tire spin in that same right-hand lane. 

It will be Houser vs. Hebert in the Mopar Hemi Challenge final.  Given that this maybe Rick Houser's last race - they either need to find some funds or the car may be sold - it's great to see him heading into the final.

In front of a packed house at Lucas Oil Race Indianapolis, Rick Houser in the left lane, Stephen Hebert in the right - the 19th Edition of the Mopar Hemi Challenge was a great match up.  Rick Houser however pulled away at the end for the win! 

Congratulations to Rick Houser - who even an hour later, post tech still couldn't believe they had gotten the win.  The camp had a lot of stuff go wrong this week - truck issues, trailer issues and then the gear issue early on.  A  big thanks to Steve Kent and his team that managed the rapid repairs on the transmission and got Rick back on track.  So it was an interesting weekend and to come out with the win was special - as it always is at Indy!

Stephen Hebert was equally elated and was happy to be in the final - considering that to be a big win as well!

On behalf of the team - our thanks to NHRA for accommodating us with resources and information.  A special thanks to all the Hemi Shoot Out teams that let us take pics and give us food and water in return!  And of course, thanks to all of you who let us know that you enjoy these awesome cars as much as we do!

Congratulations again to Rick Houser, Wayne Brooks and their entire team!






Mega Mopar Weekend 2015 Gallery