2009 Formula Drift Mopar Dodge Challenger - Click above for a hi-res gallery from SEMA 2008

As our man Drew Phillips found out first hand, between Tanner Foust's NASCAR V8-powered Scion tC and Rhys Millen's Hyundai Genesis Coupe, there was plenty of exciting new machinery on power-sliding display at this past weekend's Formula Drift season opener in Long Beach. Unfortunately, the new Dodge Challenger wasn't one of them.

Dodge's aftermarket tuning division Mopar unveiled the 2009 Challenger way back at last year's SEMA show, but its driver, Sam Hubinette, had to start the season in last year's Viper (poor guy.) And according to reports, he'll have to slide that snake at the next round too, as the 800+ hp Challenger, slated to be the most powerful car in the championship, won't be ready until the third round of the season, allowing it to compete in the final five after missing the first two of the seven-race season. Hubinette doesn't seem to mind, though, crediting Chrysler with standing by the team during these tumultuous times altogether, even while Mopar goes playing in the sand. In the meantime, drift fans will have to look longingly at the gallery of live shots of the Mopar Challenger in our gallery below.

[Source: Motor Authority]

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