Under the bonnet is a 440 Six Pack outfit, which was released as a regular across-the-board engine option in the same model year that the redesigned 'Cuda arrived on the scene. Unlike the Hemi, it was pretty close to stock, although it was rebuilt before Sonny bought it. He added a set of 1.6-ratio roller rockers. There are no headers, but the car has a 2 1/2-inch Flowmaster exhaust system behind the manifolds. Like Dave's, there are no options on this car-it has manual steering and manual brakes, and the Shaker, of course, eliminated A/C as an option.
An A-833 four-speed outfit and a Trak Pak 3.54:1 Dana 60 rear sit behind the engine, and Sonny had a set of slightly narrower BFGoodrich street tires, ones that weren't drag radials either. One other advantage Sonny had in going up against the Hemi car was spending Sunday morning hot-lapping the car down Rockingham's quarter-mile. So he was ready for the tree, he knew what rpm to leave at, and he could also have a minor psychological advantage as the result. Nonetheless, he was realistic before the cars matched up.
"I think with standard street tires, I would have had a good chance," Sonny said. "He's got the 4.10 rear and that Hemi would have been the equalizer. I could have beat him out of the hole because of tirespin. Now, with his drag radials, I don't know; we'll just have to see."
Friends for several years, the two men are part of the Port City Mopar Club, a 50-member group of Mopar fans based out of Wilmington, North Carolina. The grudge began simple enough-they were showing other club members how to race at a local eighth-mile event, which ended with one win to each man. When Dave decided the Hemi was going to be fully restored, he wanted one last lap. Sonny agreed it would be a good chance for them to race each other, and here they were getting ready to do just that on the final day of the Mopars at the Rock event.
High Noon at Rockingham
With Sunday's activities formally announced, the church service completed, and the competitors in place, on the last note of the national anthem, the two '70 'Cudas fired. Dave took the left lane, which was ironic since Sonny had made a majority of his passes in that lane. Both cars rolled around the bleach box to keep the threaded tires dry and began doing dry hops in the rubbery groove. The tires on Sonny's car spun hard from dumping the clutch, while Dave's Hemi would come up on the converter and break loose as well. The two Plymouths eased into the staging beams.
At the green, Sonny's practice paid off-he took a 0.626 light to Dave's 0.824 (based on a 0.500 full tree). At 60 feet, the Six Pack was still ahead 0.140 (2.168 to 2.316 for the Hemi, which was grappling for traction). At the eighth-mile, however, the Hemi's big ports began to breathe in earnest, and the time difference was now 8.912 to 9.057 (a difference of 0.145), but the miles per hour were 79.29 on the Hemi to 76.20 for the 440. At 1,000 feet, the times were still in Sonny's favor (11.638 to 11.700), but the Hemi made its charge in the last 200 feet. The Compulink timers stopped and the scoreboards flashed on. Sonny's Six Pack won 13.893 to Dave's exact 13.893. Dave also took the mph honors with a 103.25 to a 100.31 top end for the wedge, but the starting line proves to be the equalizing factor with the wedge going home the winner.
Sonny shows Dave what he intends...
Sonny shows Dave what he intends to do in the race later that morning...
"No, it ain't settled!" said Dave with a smile after the race was over. "I'll have to think on what I want to do now."
"I wouldn't mind doing it once again," agreed Sonny. "I want to see that black car in my rearview mirror, not beside me, though! I knew if I didn't get him off the line, I was already beat. Ha ha ha!"
Asked about his thoughts as the Six Pack kept the lead with traps coming, Dave's only reply was, "I wished I'd had a little farther to go!"It's undecided whether the duo will meet for a final time next year. On this Sunday, however, the Six Pack took home the glory.