September 15, 2013 , Concord, N.C. – Mopar Sportsman racer David Barton put his 2010 Dodge Challenger with the brand new Gen III 426 HEMI® engine into the winner’s circle with the victory in the Factory Stock Showdown, a modern-day muscle car shootout, at the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway this weekend.
Barton, son of legendary HEMI engine builder Ray Barton, debuted the third generation 426 race HEMI at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis two weeks ago. In Charlotte, for just its second appearance, the Mopar defeated adversary Dave Connolly, who was at the wheel of Victor Cagnazzi’s COPO Camaro, in the FS/AC runoff for the class win. While Connolly (9.206 sec / 144.78 mph) had the advantage off the start with a 0.040-second reaction time to 0.108, Barton chased him down then passed him with a 9.019 second (146.15 mph) elapsed time run for the decisive victory.
As the class victor, Barton then advanced to take on the winner of the FS/DC class Bo Butner, who was aboard a 2013 Ford Mustang, in a handicap start for the overall Factory Stock Showdown championship. Butner red-lighted his start giving the 2010 Dodge Challenger (8.999 sec/ 147.29 mph) the win and the Gen III 426 HEMI engine a first overall Factory Stock championship and trophy. Most notable about Barton’s run was that it produced the first eight second pass by a V8 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak. He later improved on that time in Stock eliminations with an 8.90-second pass.
“The new Gen III 426 HEMI has been really great to us,” Barton said. “We realized early even on paper that this was going to be a great combination, but to actually piece it all together and make something of it is a different story. Mopar was quick in getting us the parts we needed. We did the best we could to get it done with the tools and time we had and here we are in the winner’s circle with an 8-second run and a Wally.”
The Factory Stock Showdown is a competition showcasing the Dodge Mopar Challenger Drag Pak, Ford Mustang Cobra Jet, and Chevrolet COPO Camaro factory-built race cars with “heads-up” racing. In order to provide a level playing field, entries are split into two classes, designated as FS/AC for naturally aspirated engines and FS/DC for supercharged entries. Entrants then race in a heads-up, no-breakout format until a finalists in each class is crowned. The winners of each class then return for a final showdown using a handicap start (three-tenths staggered) to determine the overall Factory Stock Champion.
The showdown debuted in 2012 at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis to rave reviews despite a limited entry field and was expanded to three races for the 2013 NHRA season to include the Summernationals in Englishtown, N.J., a return to Indianapolis, and this weekend’s Carolina Nationals in Charlotte, N.C.
“It’s like it was 50 years ago,” Barton said. “They’re bringing out the factory stock hot rod and it’s basically who has the fast stuff between Chrysler, Ford and Chevrolet. It’s just a big battle. This is a way for them to run head to head, have fun, the best stuff wins and get back to the true spirit of drag racing.”