Jimmie Johnson, wife Chandra welcome baby girl; Regan Smith to fill in today

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Congratulations are in order for five-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and his wife, Chandra, who welcomed their second child earlier this morning at a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to a statement from Hendrick Motorsports, the Johnsons’ new baby daughter weighed in at five pounds, 10 ounces, and was 19 inches long at birth.

“Big sister Genevieve Marie, 3, is said to be very proud of her new baby sister,” the statement said. “Mother and baby and are doing fine and are expected to remain in the hospital overnight.”

As for Five-Time, who has already clinched his berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he will miss today’s activities at Richmond International Raceway.

Filling in for him in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will be NASCAR Nationwide Series title contender Regan Smith. He will take part in today’s Cup practices and also qualify the No. 48 for tomorrow’s Federated Auto Parts 400.

Johnson will be back for tomorrow’s main event, but because Smith will qualify his car for him, he will have to start the race from the rear of the field.

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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