Hotchkis Brings Autocrossing Back to the Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals

Mopar enthusiasts line up to test their skills at the Hotchkis Sport Suspension autocross.

The Carlisle All-Chrysler Nationals is one of the premier Mopar events in the country playing host to over 2,500 Mopars of every type (cars, trucks, classics, and late models) and more than 25,000 spectators during its three day run. As always, the very well organized show grouped the cars and trucks by year and extent of modification which offered a unique experience to the spectator as you walked through the history of Chrysler and saw examples of original, restored, and modified vehicles. After the immense success of the Hotchkis Autocross Ride-Alongs in 2012, Hotchkis Sport Suspension returned to the Carlisle Fairgrounds to once again to promote the sport of autocross, this year opening up participation to any show entrant that passed a simple tech inspection.

When the show opened on Friday, July 12, 2013 the line of cars awaiting tech inspection was filled with amazing and diverse cars that were just itching to head out on track. There was a first generation Dodge Charger that the owner had been actively autocrossing since 1983, a Chrysler TC with a set of DOT slicks, and a Plymouth Valiant Scamp that was still equipped with its factory slant-6, but had been fully decked-out with a Hotchkis TVS-kit, Wilwood Brakes, and some sticky tires. As the day wore on, even more Mopars made their way over to get tech’d and try their hand at navigating our cone race track. By the end of the first day we had a total of 25 different competitors who made over 180 runs. Show spectators also got in on the autocross action, enjoying rides in the Hotchkis Autocross Taxi as well as a late model Dodge Charger from Hotchkis drivers Kevin Wesley and Dan Weishaar.

Saturday started under cloudy skies and falling rain, but even that couldn’t hamper the autocross fun. Ride-alongs in the Autocross Taxi and Dodge Charger continued with a little added flair as the limited grip of the wet track encouraged the Hotchkis drivers to induce some tail-out action as they navigated through the cones. By the early afternoon the skies had cleared, the ground had dried, and it was time to kick the autocross competition into high gear. Drivers competed in six different classes including A-Body, B-Body, E-Body, Heavy (Trucks and C-Body cars), Modern Muscle, and Front Wheel Drive. The furious autocross action drew a huge crowd, packing the bleachers and lining the fence three deep.

The competition stayed very tight as the drivers gave it everything they and their cars had in hopes of taking home a trophy. When the dust settled and we tabulated the results, these six drivers emerged as the winners:

A-Body: Tom M. / 72 Scamp / 43.207

B-Body: Dave H. / 66 Charger / 42.134

E-Body: Brad R. / 70 Challenger / 50.162

Heavy: Gary V. / 79 Magnum / 44.183

Modern: Kevin H. / 08 Challenger / 42.453

FWD: Barry M. / 88 Aries / 40.169

After all of the autocross and car show action of the day was complete, it was time for the annual Mopar Hall of Fame Induction Dinner. Every year this event honors those people who were involved with making the Mopar brand what it is today. This year’s inductees included Buddy Baker, Arlen Vanke, Don Garlits, and Tom Hoover and it was quite an experience to be in the room with these legends.

By the time the show opened on Sunday, there was already a line of cars waiting to head out on track. Though the official competition had taken place the previous day, the truck enthusiasts and modern muscle enthusiasts started their only little friendly contest to see who could turn the best time of the day. As the show started winding down, the autocross actually saw a jump in new competitors as people decided to give this autocross thing a go before they loaded they headed home. At the end of the weekend we had over 45 participants and made in excess of 400 runs on the autocross course. We would like to extend our thanks to our awesome event partners at Falken Tire, Wilwood Brakes, and the B&M Automotive Group for helping make this event possible and, of course, to the folks at Carlisle Events for putting together such a spectacular event.