Las Vegas Scat Pack Challenge

Mopars and Muscle Cars at The Strip Las Vegas Scat Pack Shootout

Last year we decided to head to Vegas on an untested setup. After fighting the car all weekend and trying to iron out the bugs, I vowed to never travel again with a new setup. Fast forward one year and what do I do? I head to Vegas with new ported heads, a new cam, and the new 15″ brake conversion… all untested.

For those of you not familiar with racing in Vegas, it’s rough. The heat in April is scorching, the elevation is way off from my home tracks, and the DA normally hovers around 1 million. This is the kind of track where you see Hellcats running 12’s, it’s no joke. To give you an example, last year my car ran a very best of 11.1 in Vegas. I brought it home and ran a 10.4 the next weekend in 3k+ DA. So when people say they’re running a half second slower in Vegas, they’re not exaggerating.

This year’s Mopars & Muscle Cars At The Strip was well attended and had a strong Mopar showing. I saw 5 Dodge Demons and countless Hellcats in attendance. As for the Scat Packs, there were plenty of them at the event, but not many of them wanted to play on the track. There were even a few in the Modern Hemi Challenge and Pony Car Wars, but they chose not to run in the Scat Pack Challenge. This class is a heads up event, so the fastest car takes home the win. I suppose several of the stock-ish cars would rather run a dial-in class, but we all know how racing goes, anything can happen and anyone can win. And with $1,250 in prizes for the winners, I was surprised to only see a handful cars in my class. And to top it all off, only two of us were driving Scat Packs, the others were 392 cars which were allowed to run with us this year.

I won’t talk much about the time trial runs over the weekend, as they weren’t very exciting. Lots of half track runs for us, getting data for the elevation change and then running back to the pits for tuning. I have to hand it to Troy Ding of Dings Racing for being there all weekend and throwing no less than a dozen tunes at the car to try and get it to behave. While we didn’t have enough time to get it perfect, we were able to get it somewhat close and at least get it down the track for the finals on Sunday.

Round one of eliminations was against my good friend and inaugural Scat Pack Challenger winner, David Boyer. His nitrous infused Charger Scat Pack was running a consistent 11.0-11.2 all weekend long. This was the first run where I decided to launch it a little harder than usual and see what the new 15″ tires could do. As the tires struggled to hold on, they began to shake and give the car a violent ride. The struggling off the line left me with nearly a 1.7 second 60 foot time, but once the car hooked back up, it blazed down the Hot Vegas track with its best time of the weekend, 10.444 @ 138.61 MPH. That’s more than 6 tenths faster than we ran last year. While I was celebrating in the shutdown area I noticed a pretty loud whine coming from the transmission. The violent launch did a number on the poor old 6 speed and I just had to cross my fingers and hope it could make it through the rest of the weekend.

The last car in the finals with me was a mean little Chrysler 300 with a Whipple Supercharger on top of a built 392. He had been running mid 10’s all weekend so I knew I had my work cut out for me. This race for $1,000 would surely come down to the reaction time, so we were both thinking the same thing, cut a damn good light and hold on. As we both pulled up to the water box, his straight piped monster came to life and rolled out of a huge smokey burnout. Meanwhile, I’m wondering why my line lock isn’t working. After about 30 seconds of struggling with it, I decide that it’s broken and did my best with a rolling 2nd gear burnout to heat up the tires. Needless to say, it wasn’t quite sufficient, but it was time to line up. Together we lit the staging bulbs, both drivers knowing that the light will determine the winner, and on the 3rd yellow we both give it hell. So, you’re probably wondering which one of us red lit? The answer is BOTH of us! In drag racing, the first is worst, and the Chrysler lit his red bulb a few thousands of a second before I did so I got the automatic win. However, while we were going down the track, neither of us knew that the race was already over. We were side by side until I hit third gear, or rather, until I tried to hit third gear. The transmission was definitely hurt and it wouldn’t let me shift gears. After ramming it into third gear I was able to reel him in, and as soon as I got to his door at around the 1,000 foot mark, he let off and I sailed through the traps. The other driver had apparently ran out of fuel, had some sputtering, and decided to let off. It was a great run and one of the very few times I’ve had a double red light, which goes to show you that we both knew that our cars were damn close in power and that we were in for a real drag race.

Thank you to Phil Painter and Mopar Muscle Magazine for putting this event on. And a huge thanks goes out to Whipple Superchargers, for not only sponsoring the car, but for also sponsoring this Scat Pack Challenge class. We’ll see you all next year and I’ll be coming to collect my third consecutive crystal trophy.

 

MATS Las Vegas Scat Pack

Mopars and Muscle Cars at The Strip Las Vegas

Scat Pack Challenge Shootout