By Patrick Rall
When Dodge released images of the new Challenger stock car a
few weeks ago, I referred to the Avenger previously used in NASCAR as
being “Ultra vanilla”. Evidently Ma Mopar took offense to my comment,
as on the opening day of the 2009 SEMA Show the indoor Mopar display
brought us the debut of the new Dodge Avenger pro stock body and this
new car is anything but vanilla.
The car was displayed in the
familiar Mopar team scheme with the giant blue M and blue/black/white
finish, proudly sporting Allen Johnson’s name on the sides of the car.
However, I spoke last night with a contact within the Chrysler
Corporation who told me that during the SEMA Show some other Mopar
drivers such as V. Gaines stopped by to check out the new Avenger
body. My contact told me that it based on the initial reaction from
the drivers, it looks like sometime during the 2010 season we will see
a full shift from the Dodge Stratus body that has been used for the
past 6 years to the new Avenger body. This is all based on things
going smoothly early on for the teams using the Dodge Avenger bodies,
and there was no time frame from my contact as to when we can expect to
see more teams using the new body.
In the meantime, I’m
forced to eat my words, as Mopar has shown just how un-vanilla the
Avenger can be but Dodge has proven that if they make a car a rear
wheel drive and add a Hemi, the car will do well for itself. It’s a
shame that they don’t give cars like the Avenger any balls in
production form but that is an entirely different discussion.
about Dodges production lineup aside, the new pro stock body looks
great and is supposed to be aerodynamic (and legal for competition) so
with the NASCAR end of the Mopar Racing teams struggling it looks like
the company is still making strides to stay competitive in the pro drag