Mopar Hemi Challenge at IndianapolisRick Houser (near lane) meets Stephen Hebert in the final round. (Richard Muir photo)

Houser takes Hemi Challenge title

For the fourth time in his career, Rick Houser was crowned king of the Hemi Super Stock class at the U.S. Nationals. Houser won the annual Mopar Hemi Challenge on Friday, Aug. 30 when he drove his RaceTec Pistons '68 Barracuda to a final round win over Steven Hebert, also in a ‘68 Barracuda, 8.50 to 8.68.

(Chris Haverly photo)

For his efforts Houser, from Pasadena, Calif., bagged the $15,000 winner’s purse as well as the iconic Mopar HEMI Challenge trophy and a custom Mopar winner’s jacket.

"Nothing beats winning, especially at Indy," said Houser, who won his previous Hemi Challenge titles in 1982, 1984, and 2007. "This is the first time I've won this race with a four-speed and that's also special. People forget that I used to race a stick shift and I had almost forgotten how much fun they are. Against Steven, I had an advantage but I knew I still had to do my job. It all just worked out perfectly."

Houser, the No. 2 qualifier, was first to the stripe with an 8.502/158.54 pass, besting No. 3 qualifier Hebert’s 8.682/154.56 run.

“It’s pretty satisfying, because we had a complete different program the last time we won,” said Houser, who knocked off Joe Teuton, Jim Pancake and defending (and five-time) Indy Mopar HEMI Challenge champ Charlie Westcott Jr. on his road to the final.