Words and photos by John Carollo
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any bigger, better, or more fun, along comes the 26th annual version of the Mopar Nationals. Billed as the world’s largest all-Mopar event, it lived up to that lofty title and then some. To give you some idea of just how many Moparnauts were in the house, think of it this way: The super fine National Trail Raceway facility, centrally located just outside of Columbus, Ohio, is an NHRA-sanctioned track that holds a huge national event every year. [Editor’s note: NHRA has just announced that the national event will move to Norwalk Raceway Park beginning in 2007.} That means they need to have room to accommodate the many classes that the NHRA runs as well as be on top of their game on how to handle such a crowd. Well, it didn’t take any imagination to see long trails of nothing but Mopars. All you had to do was look around. Even the parking lot looked like a Mopar show. Of course, the humungous event also offered perfect weather, tons of new and used parts, and a veritable Mopar buffet for all to belly up to.
Rick Allison begins his burnout onto the track side of the Mopar Nats '06.
The hero model this year was the Barracuda, which loyalists know came out before the Mustang. Even now the variety of Barracuda styles defy their short 10-year production run. Every pre-registered ‘Cuda that rolled onto the grounds got a special goodie bag, and was ushered into reserved parking. A few ‘Cudas of the late Ronnie Sox and Martin origin were displayed, and a special stick shift only class of racing dedicated to “Mr. Four Speed.” Greg Lorsbach, towing all the way from New Hampshire, in his white ’66 Plymouth convertible, won those special honors. Greg is no stranger to Ohio drag racing as he makes the ironman haul from New England every few weeks when he competes in the United Manual Transmission Racers North (UMTR North) Series.
New this year was a Saturday night cruise, complete with band, to nearby downtown Heath, Ohio. For fans that like their Mopars really big, the Monster Truck Raminator offered rides and a car-crushing clinic on how to make any place preferred parking. The key feature of the Raminator is that it is one of the few Dodge Monster Trucks that actually uses a Mopowerplant. Under its rough exterior the truck uses a 528 crate Hemi bolted up to 727 tranny built by Chrysler’s Kokomo tranny plant. The race version of Raminator uses 565 inch Hemi that puts out almost 2,000 horsepower!