Mopar's Infamous Hemi
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Hemi Racing History

With this section I am going to attempt to record some of the racing history of the Mopar Hemi. The factory sponsored teams, personal racers, and how the Hemi changed over the years.


OVAL TRACK

1953
  • Intro of the cast-iron headed Red Ram 241 Hemi
  • Lee Petty earned 5 wins and 25 top five finishes
1954-55
  • Dodge only won 2 races over these 2 seasons
1956
  • Dodge came away with 11 victories this season
  • Buck Baker (5), Lee Petty (2), Speedy Thompson (2),
    Royce Haggerty (1) and Jack Smith (1)
1957-63
  • These seasons did not fair too well for Dodge
1962-63
  • Chrysler began work on a big block engine
  • The first 426 Hemi was assembled in Nov 1963
  • The first 426 Hemi dyno was done in Dec 1963 (it exceeded the dyno's 400-hp max)
1964
  • The new 426 Hemi debuts at the 1964 Daytona 500
  • Paul Goldsmith, in a Belvedere, qualified first at 174 mph, 14 mph over the previous qualifying record
  • Richard Petty qualified second with his 426 Hemi

  • By the end of the race, Richard Petty had lapped the entire field
  • 426 Hemi-powered Dodge and Plymouths took 4 of the top 5

  • Overall for the season, Dodge wins 14 races and Plymouth wins 12
  • Richard Petty won 8 races and had 37 top 5s
  • David Pearson had 8 wins and 29 top 5s
1965
  • NASCAR silenced the mighty 426 Hemi with rule changes
    "Cannot run an engine that is not available to the public"
  • This actually applied to 426 Hemi in B-bodies, not C-bodies
    But C-bodies were too large for the Hemi to be advantageous
  • Dodge and Plymouth racers sat out until mid-season when the rules were modified
  • David Pearson won 3 races late in the season
1966
  • Dodge offered the 426 Hemi as a production option
  • The 426 Hemi was allowed back into NASCAR races
  • Dodge won 17 races with David Pearson with 15 wins


DRAG STRIP
  • Larry Griffith
  • Dick Housey
  • Dick Landy
  • Gary Ostrich
  • Bill Shirley
  • Ronnie Sox
1958
  • Don "Big Daddy" Garlits breaks 170 mph with "Swamp Rat"
1964
  • Don "Big Daddy" Garlits breaks 200 mph with 7.78 sec @ 201.34 mph
1968
  • Gene Adams and Don Enriquez set a new Junior Fuel record at Orange County International Raceway running 7.84 (and 7.85) at 198.22 mph with a Hilborn-injected DeSoto Hemi
  • Gene Adams and Don Enriquez ran a 7.78 at 201.34 mph at Lions Drag Strip in Wilmington, CA in their Hilborn-injected DeSoto Hemi
  • Gene Adams and Don Enriquez set strip records for low ET and MPH in Irwindale, CA by running 7.70 at 197 mph in their Hilborn-injected DeSoto Hemi


SALT FLATS

1953
  • Dodge Hemi breaks 196 stock car records at Bonneville Salt Flats
1958
  • Chrysler 300D Hemi sets Class E record at Bonneville with 156.387 mph

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