In back, ride height is critical. "One time before I went to the track, I put the car on the scales and set it up, and found a ride height that I really wanted to go with," he recalls. "Once I got to the track, the car wouldn't do anything—it spun every time. I raised it up half an inch in the rear, which changed the rear geometry on the four-link by changing the instant center point a little bit. Once I did that, the car worked really good, and I liked the change." Unfortunately, another half inch didn't lead to any improvement. In fact, he says, the car handled worse than it originally did.
Based on the '11 Challenger, and finished in Stock and Super Stock Eliminator trim, the '1
Jason also says that shock tuning helps in getting the Drag Pak cars down the track, but there's not a lot else that can be done trackside. "You really have to get it almost spot-on before you even make a pass on the car," he says. "The front weight is so heavy, and the ride height is real sensitive as to what it needs. They're pretty tough to get down the track initially, but once you get 'em, they're not too bad."
Describing Jeff Teuton's run in Stock Eliminator at the MAC Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis last year as "not bad" is a huge understatement. After winning his A/Stock Automatic class, Jeff—a longtime Mopar racer—bested a field of 127 other doorslammers for the Stock Eliminator crown. "Yeah, we snuck up on 'em when they weren't looking, and I got ahead of 'em," he says.
That took a car that ran consistently. "It just worked good, back-to-back-to-back," Jeff adds. "All you've got to do is get in there and drive, but it's pretty steady.
Along with the chassis, they had their 6.1 Hemi dialed in. "We got the horsepower pulled down to where it wouldn't spin the tires, and we got the weight where it likes," he says. "It just ran rounds!"
With the information they gained, especially last season, the Griffith and Teuton Challengers, and other lightweight LYs, will be strong runners again in NHRA's Stock classes.
We really wish this paint scheme would've been picked up by someone. We like the throw-bac
Jeff says they'll have one of the '11 V-10–powered Challenger Drag Paks to race in 2012, along with their Hemi V-8–powered ones. "We're going to have the 360 in our blue car like we did this past year," Jeff says, "and we're going to have the red Challenger, which more than likely will either be a 6.1 or a 6.4. It'll probably alternate back between a five-speed and an automatic."
Meanwhile, Larry Griffith says he and Larry Pontnack will focus on NHRA's Division 5 at the tracks closest to their home base in Illinois.
What do they think of the Drag Pak cars in Auburn Hills? "We've been very happy with the program," says Dale Aldo, Mopar Motorsports' marketing manager. "The customers have taken the cars and done a fantastic job."
Yes, that's a V-10 in a Challenger Drag Pak. Yes, you'll see it on the strip in 2012.
Dale adds, "It's been a fun thing to see this, because these cars are the grandsons of the original '68 Hemi 'Cudas and Darts, and people have really embraced them. It's been a joy for everybody here at Mopar to be associated with them."
And it gives you a good reason to stay in your seat at the drags when the Stock cars roll up to the line!