Clint Bowyer loses engine while leading at Atlanta

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Clint Bowyer has lost the engine on his No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota Camry while leading tonight’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bowyer had warned his team over the radio that the motor on his car was “laying down” before it finally expired in a puff of smoke at Lap 192.

Bowyer’s powerplant is the third from Toyota Racing Development to have suffered issues this weekend at Atlanta. Both Denny Hamlin and Bowyer’s MWR teammate, Brian Vickers, had to change their own TRD engines leading up to tonight’s race.

“Everybody has engine issues, and we’re pushing hard for the Chase to try and win a championship,” Bowyer told ESPN in the Atlanta garages. “We were off a little bit – probably a sixth-to-10th place car –  and I told them I wanted to make some adjustments and go for a win.

“As soon as the track went into the night, we really gained some grip and the car took off. It was ours to lose and unfortunately, we found a way to lose. I’m going to have a beer.”

This is the second week in a row that Bowyer has had problems while leading. Last week at Bristol, he was at the point when he spun out on Lap 176 after contact with a lapped car; he would eventually finish 14th.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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