Some may think the glory days of racing, and especially NASCAR, are long gone… but Arrington Performance is keeping history and heritage alive with the company’s line of Hemi-focused products.
In 1964, Dodge prepared to release a new engine with a hemispherical combustion chamber and two successful circle-track racers were given Hemi engines to race at the ’64 Daytona 500—Richard Petty and Buddy Arrington.
“Buddy had always run Dodge cars, and was working out of a gas station in Martinsville, Virginia, at that point,” explained Mike Copeland, CEO of Diversified Creations and Arrington’s current owner. “He decided to turn things into a business, and that’s what he did.”
Over the years, Arrington exhibited a unique ability to extract unparalleled performance from Hemi engines. His lifelong passion for Mopar machines drove him to continue developing his business and ultimately Arrington Engines became the premier race-engine technology company in its NASCAR niche.
Working with Dodge on NASCAR projects propelled Arrington to even greater success, and he never let good enough be good enough.
“He was heavily involved with Dodge,” shared Copeland. “In the late ‘90s, Dodge came back to NASCAR with their truck program and they hired Arrington to build the trucks and engines—they won a championship in ’04—and continued until Dodge parted with the series in 2012.”
Located in Martinsville since day one, Arrington eventually occupied a 100,000-square foot facility. It was there that the Dodge partnership truly took shape, but after the NASCAR business began to wane, there was a brief period were Arrington worked with Toyota on an engine-development program. Soon, the company refocused its efforts on the performance street, drag racing, and other markets.
“While that was going on, Pendergast Partners purchased Arrington and they’re the ones that really made the push toward bringing race technology to the street. You had your NASCAR camshaft developers and cylinder head designers all working on street engines,” elaborated Copeland, who purchased Arrington himself from Pendergast on January 1, 2018, with the support of his wife, Debbie.
Copeland spent his career as an engineer at General Motors before working as the Vice President of Lingenfelter Performance from 2011-2016, and didn’t want to run Arrington as an absentee owner. As such, the company moved to its new home in Brighton, Michigan, where vehicle dynos, engine dynos, and tons of other equipment enable Arrington’s 13 employees to build complete cars from the ground up.
Arrington won many Dodge Manufacturing Awards, as well as multiple Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturers Awards and Engine Builders Awards. The most demanding NASCAR drivers have turned to Arrington, including Penske, Petty, and Ganassi. Now, Copeland’s company is enjoying its success in the drag racing, street performance, and other markets.
Arrington is a proud partner of the NMCA and sponsors the Arrington Performance HEMI Quick 8 presented by Red Line Oil. The specialty shootout runs the top-eight finishers from the Dodge // Mopar HEMI Shootout in a heads-up race on Sunday with the winner walking away with $800 cash and an NMCA Victor award trophy.
“Dodge does a great job promoting the class and giving people free entry into the class, so we wanted to be a part of it and reward the racers for supporting the series,” stated Copeland, who is a drag racer himself and enjoys meeting participants and being involved in the sport at a grassroots level. “Now it takes running low 10s to be in the Quick 8, so we’re working on several cars over the winter for customers who want to be in Demon and Hellcat territory!”
With the rise in popularity of the Gen 3 Hemi engine, Arrington Performance, an industry pacesetter in Mopar-specifics parts sales, engine manufacturing and assembly including its own 392-448 cubic-inch crate engines, and complete builds for Chrysler and Dodge-HEMI powered vehicles available to customers worldwide, is committed developing the platform into the future.