So long, Avenger: Dodge Dart to make highly-anticipated NHRA Pro Stock debut at this weekend’s Gatornationals

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After back-to-back Pro Stock championships in 2012 and 2013, a Mopar-record 27 national event wins and 28 No. 1 qualifying positions, the Dodge Avenger is on its way out in the NHRA Pro Stock class.

Two of the class’s top teams, five-time and defending PS champ Jeg Coughlin Jr. and former PS champ Allen Johnson will debut brand new HEMI-powered 2014 Dodge Darts in this weekend’s Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.

While Dodge as a company dropped out of NASCAR after the 2012 season, the company and its Mopar brand is still very strong in the two-lane blacktop series, with several Charger R/Ts in Funny Car and Dodge Challengers in the Sportsman class.

With the Dart, Chrysler Group LLC worked hand-in-hand with Johnson, Coughlin and other Pro Stock drivers to develop a state-of-the-art ride that promises to be as competitive – if not more so – than the four-door Avenger, which became one of the most competitive rides on the NHRA PS circuit during its tenure.

While Johnson and Coughlin will debut their new cars this weekend, other drivers will join the Dart club in the coming races, including Vieri Gaines (also known as V. Gaines), who is closing in on the completion of his new ride.

“We are very excited to launch the Dodge Dart, and along with our Mopar fans, to see what Allen (Johnson) and Jeg (Coughlin Jr.) can accomplish with this new vehicle as they vie for a third championship in the high-performance and ultra-competitive Pro Stock division,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “The new Dart is a testament of how Mopar uses the motorsports program as a technological proving ground with Chrysler’s own leading-edge technology and production processes. We have great expectations for its on-track success.”

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Alonso would be ‘very happy’ to finish F1 career with McLaren

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Fernando Alonso says he would be “very happy” to see out his Formula 1 career with McLaren after signing a new multi-year contract with the British team, announced on Thursday.

Alonso, 36, ended speculation about his future by agreeing a new deal with McLaren, hopeful of returning to the front of the field next year when the team swaps Honda power for Renault engines.

Alonso admitted to considering options outside of F1 before agreeing to stay at McLaren, and was thought to only be chasing a one-year extension in order to be in a position to snap up a more attractive seat in the volatile 2019 market.

However, Alonso confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the deal with McLaren stretched beyond the end of next year, adding he would be content to see out his time in the sport with the team.

“I never talk about contracts, but one thing I can say is it is a long-term partnership,” Alonso said.

“I am very happy to finish my career at McLaren. So I don’t think it is going to be only one year.”

Alonso also revealed he had options with teams high up the field in F1 for 2018 just a couple of months ago, but was always leaning to staying at McLaren despite not scoring a podium with the team in almost three years.

“There were some other options in F1. In the summer there were still some options at the top teams, but my desire was to stay with McLaren,” Alonso said.

“But at that time they were in conversation with different engine suppliers, so I had to give them time to sort out their situation.

“Then McLaren opted for a Renault engine which delayed my decision, because I had to understand what Renault’s plans were for next years.

“But when I had everything on the table, everything was pretty clear.”