The iconic RAMCHARGERS name is back at the track, and just like the days of old, it has returned to the winner’s circle. A GEN III Hemi powers the latest version of the RAMCHARGERS in a Dodge Challenger driven by AJ Berge.
The earliest RAMCHARGERS were a group of Chrysler engineers and employees who loved drag racing and, in 1958, started a car club that eventually drag raced “the High and Mighty” Plymouth in C/Altered with money from their own pockets.
In the ‘60s, the group focused on Super Stock Dodges, and the group garnered attention (and funding) from Chrysler executives. The club continued through the ‘60s and eventually transitioned to the 426 Hemi, altered wheelbase (AWB) A/FX cars, nitro-burning front engine dragsters, and funny cars.
The original RAMCHARGERS group splintered as members left Chrysler for more significant opportunities. The remaining members and new affiliates “stepped back” to help the Stock and Super Stock racers in 1967 because Chrysler wanted to focus on the cars it sold. Some eventually worked on the Mopar Pro Stock effort in the ‘70s. But, regardless of the class or the group members involved, the RAMCHARGERS were always competitive.
At the beginning of March, Hemituner Performance’s president AJ Berge announced he would fly the famous RAMCHARGERS colors on his 2021 Challenger for the 2023 season. In addition to wearing the RAMCHARGERS logos, Berge teamed up with Ray Barton Racing Engines to extract even more horsepower from his stout supercharged 354 cubic-inch Hemi.
To round out the sponsorship package, Berge will continue to have support from Revolution Paradox, a custom design and engineering company with no limits on making your automotive dreams a reality, and Security Dodge Chrysler. And, of course, Berge’s Challenger will have Hemituner Performance badging. The slogan at Hemituner Performance is “We are 100% Hemi 100% of the time. Our full-time focus is on you!”
Berge plans for 2023 consist of competing at all the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Factory Stock Showdown events and participating in all the National Muscle Car Association (NMCA) races. He will also provide tuning assistance for specific Drag Pak customers at the same races.
Right of the gate, Berge earned his first win of 2023 at the season-opening NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem race held at Orlando Speed World. Berge struggled to find traction during the Holley EFI Factory Super Cars (FSC) class qualifying, even missing one round of qualifying while working over the Charger to find the gremlin. Nevertheless, he managed a 13th qualifying spot (out of 16) with a 7.90 elapsed time (et).
When the first round was called, Berge lined up and coaxed the Challenger to a 7.67 win. Round two was slightly off pace at a 7.74, but it still turned on the win light. Moving to round three, Berge nailed a stout 7.62 at nearly 181 mph, which propelled him into the final. Berge proved he is no slouch at the Christmas tree by putting a holeshot 7.63 win over Ricky Hord’s quicker but losing 7.62 in his COPO Camaro—one race, one win.
Look for Berge and the RAMCHARGERS Challenger to continue to succeed through the 2023 season. When you visit an NHRA or NMCA event, follow the crowd to the pit stall that houses the beautiful candy-striped Challenger. It will be the only time you get a good look at it because it is merely a blur on the track.