Dodge HEMI Challenge Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Sep 7, 2021

The Dodge HEMI Challenge, also known as the “Big Go,” celebrated its 20th anniversary at the National Hot Rod Association’s (NHRA) Dodge/SRT U.S. Nationals, at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis this weekend. The longest-running, continuous, specialty race in NHRA history features heads-up, wheel standing, side-by-side racing of vintage HEMI-powered 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda “package cars” that have competed in the NHRA Super Stock (SS/AH) class for more than five decades.

In celebration of the classic muscle cars that contributed to the Dodge and Mopar brands’ legendary reputation and success at the drag strip, Dodge/SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals Grand Marshal Herb “Mr. 4 Speed” McCandless served in the same role for the Dodge HEMI Challenge and led the field of qualified Darts and Barracudas down the Indianapolis track’s return road in a parade prior to Friday’s eliminations rounds aboard his own original 1968 Super Stock HEMI Dart.

The Dodge HEMI Challenge saw a new winner crowned at Lucas Oil Raceway as Steve Comella drove his 1968 Plymouth Barracuda to his first victory in the event.

Comella took home a uniquely crafted 42.6-lb. trophy, made from a 426 HEMI cylinder head. All 16 drivers who reached the elimination rounds received cash rewards, with Comella earning an extra $15,000 prize.

Highlights of Comella’s performance through five elimination rounds included a 0.001-second reaction time and a trio of 8.3-second runs, the last of which gave him low E.T. and top speed of the event.