Jim Daniels, Bristol, Pa., won the 10th Anniversary Mopar HEMI Challenge at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in his Ray Barton Racing Engines Dodge Dart on Friday, Sept. 3. Ray Barton’s son David, of Robesonia, Pa., was runner-up for the second year in a row in the race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis.

Daniels won by a razor-thin .008-second margin, turning an 8.560-second elapsed time to Barton’s one thousandth of a second quicker 8.559.

“The difference was in our reaction times,” said Barton, who had a .027 second mark. Daniels’ .018-second reaction time was a scant nine thousandths better, giving him the win.

The field was closely matched after perennial champion Charlie Westcott, Jr., Parma, Mich., exited the competition as a result of engine problems. Westcott had taken the top spot in qualifying with a dominant 8.413-second pass before retiring.

Much of the field was in the mid-8.5 second range, with Gary Wolkwitz, Annandale, N.J., fastest with an elapsed time of 8.546 seconds in his HEMI Dart. He left the line late in the first round and lost to Tyler Hard, Harrisburg, Pa., despite a fast 8.509 time against Hard’s 8.602.

Left: His father, Charlie Westcott Sr., also of Parma, blew a piston in an earlier qualifying session.