Westcott's team up to win fourth U.S. National Hemi Challenge

The Westcott family, of Parma, Mich., pulled off another victory tonight in the Mopar® NHRA HEMI® Challenge at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Charlie Wescott, Sr., did it this time, in his 1968 Hemi Barracuda, besting David Barton, of Robesonia, Pa. Westcott needed an emergency engine swap between the semi-finals and the final round to get the win. He got that done thanks to his Son and his fellow Hemi Challenge competitors. This was a great example of camraderie that drag racers demonstrate when the situation arises.

Westcott Senior's Hemi dropped a valve on the bye run that put him into the finals. His son's engine had suffered a similar fate a round earlier putting the odds on favorite out of the race.
"I figured there was nothing we could do but go home," Westcott Sr. said, "but my son is a workaholic." Westcott Junior reclaimed a Mopar 426 Hemi engine he had just delivered to fellow SS/AH John Raines, of Santa Paula, Calif., and then moved Dad's Barracuda to another Super Stock racer's, Californian Jim DeFrank, well-equipped trailer to do a between round engine swap.Unlike Pro cars the SS/AH Hemi cars aren't designed to accomodate between round engine changes so what the Westcotts and their friends were attempting wasn't going to be easy.

With the help of many HEMI Challenge racers, the swap was completed in just ninety minutes, just in time to send the 'Cuda and 66 year old Charlie Westcott Sr to the starting line with a chance to win his first U.S. National win. The other finalist rival Hemi engine builder and racer David Barton was waiting in his Barracuda to take a bye run.

The race was decided at the leave when Charlie Westcott delivered his best reaction time of the race a stellar .013. Davin Barton's .049 RT put him way behind at the start and he simply didn't have the car to catch Westcott's Cuda. Although Barton had put a 8.55 on the board earlier that day he didn't come close to that in the finals. Wescott Sr, matched to the Hemi Challenge title with an 8.626 second run at 156.15 mph. Barton trailed with an 8.802 elapsed time and a speed of 152.87 mph.

Westcott Senior took home $10,000 for the victory, his first at the U.S. Nationals. and braging rights in the highly competitive SS/AH ranks. His son Charlie, Jr., has won three out of the last four Mopar Hemi Challenges in Indianapolis. Today's win makes it four out of the last five for the Westcotts.

"Jason Line came up to me after I won and said, ‘You give me something to look forward to when I get old,'" said the 66-year-old Westoctt, Sr. Line is a veteran Pro Stock champion.

Twenty-one 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracudas participated in the Mopar Hemi Challenge this year. Entrants were from thirteen states across the U.S., ranging from New Jersey to California and from Minnesota to Louisiana.