He IS Dodge Material

A quick look at Bob Marshall’s legendary Super Stock Dodges

Chrysler factory advertising campaign slogans were catchy back in the day; for 1970, it was ‘you could be Dodge Material.’ For a drag racer out of Columbus, Ohio, that choice proved to be fortuitous. For literally decades now, Bob Marshall has been racing, and winning, in big Hemi Dodges monikered up with that ‘Dodge Material’ name. Whether class racing, bracket racing, or special events, if there was money to be had in the Winner’s Circle and the event was not too far from home, one of Marshall’s cars might be on hand.

In front of the new tower at Gainesville’s Auto Plus Raceway, home of the Gatornationals, for the event’s 43rd running in 2012. Bob had been went to the LODRS points meet in Valdosta, GA the weekend before, and won.

“I started in about 1973, I started with Hemi cars all those years ago, and it’s always been called the Dodge Material name,” says Marshall. “Over the years, I’ve won five NHRA national events; I was the Division 3 Champion two years in a row, and I’ve won 22 IHRA national events. I still run some of the IHRA  events; I try to run where I don’t have to travel too far. I like the Chrysler Classic races as well.”

Nonetheless, Bob was down in sunny Florida this past month, racing in the NHRA’s legendary Gatornationals. He had just won the Super Stock title at the Valdosta, Ga. Lucas Oil divisional race the previous weekend in a car that would almost considered crude by modern sportsman car standards; his A990 Coronet was qualified down near the bottom of the field for the Gators, in the 63rd spot, a dinosaur in a seas of aero-styled GMs, fuel-injected late models, and no-expense-spared muscle car derivatives. There was a reason for that.

“I think the faster you go, the more room there is for error. That one of the reasons I’ve never built a Hemi to go real fast, because I want my cars to be consistent. That’s the trade off.”