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Words by Darr Hawthorne
Photos by Tim Marshall and Darr Hawthorne

It has been about forty years since the few Hemi Cudas and Darts rolled off the Detroit assembly line in 1968, but the power and speed of these automotive dinosaurs still leave spectators hanging on the fences and feed heavily on owner’s wallets to win.

The first round of the 2007 six-race Mopar Hemi Challenge was held a the annual Mopars at the Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and fourteen racecars made the tow from as far away as Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, California and Minnesota with hopes of taking home the bragging rights, the event trophy and $10,000, had sixteen cars shown-up in Vegas the purse would have been $20 grand!

Qualifying for the SS/AH stars was lead by Michigan’s Charlie Westcott Jr. in his “War Fish” camouflaged Barracuda running 8.802 ET at 150.97 miles per hour followed closely by Southern California super stock veteran Rich Houser 8.819 ET driving Jim DeFrank’s Cuda.  Westcott defeated Michael Ogburn with the best of eliminations 8.789 ET to Ogburn’s 9.130 ET in round one.
Fred Henson’s Dart took the number three qualifying position behind Houser with an 8.848 ET charge at 149.10 miles per hour.
David Barton drove the Ray Barton ’68 Hemi Dart to the number four qualifying slot with a solid 8.876 at 148.51 MPH.

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