Plymouth Road Runner vs Chrysler 300C SRT-8 at the track

plymouth road runner
time slip - plymouth roadrunner and chrysler 300C srt-8 racingIt was October 29, 2005 at the Mopar Eastern Classic at Maryland International Raceway. The event drew classic Mopar muscle cars from all over the East Coast. There were Hemi cars, Cudas, Road Runners, Dusters, Chargers, Super Bees, Neon SRT-4s, Ram Trucks, big blocks and small blocks. There was even a very fast late 1960s Pontiac Firebird with big block Mopar power.

One car that was drawing lots of attention was a brand spanking new, 425 HP, Chrysler 300C SRT-8. The black 300C SRT-8 had been blistering the track with solid high twelves all afternoon. That got everyone's attention.

In the second round of Trophy Class racing, a 1969 Road Runner, 440 6-barrel was matched up with the new SRT-8. A classic race was shaping up, old school brute power vs. modern technology and Hemi muscle. The Road Runner dialed in at 11.80 and the SRT-8 dialed-in at 12.78. The SRT-8’s dial-in would give him almost a full second head start on the quicker Road Runner.

On green, the SRT-8 jumped out quickly and was tearing down the track. For the first half of the race, the Plymouth struggled to catch the surprisingly quick Chrysler. At the 8th mile mark, the big block started to come into its own and closed the gap.

The Road Runner caught and edged in front of the SRT-8 with about 20 yards to spare for the win. The SRT-8 actually ran faster than his dial-in with a 12.759 @ 105.61. The Road Runner was on the brakes with a 11.802 @ 113.73 and nearly broke out as well. In bracket racing, if you go quicker than your dial-in, you automatically lose.

In retrospect, the SRT-8 has nothing to be ashamed of in losing to the old Road Runner. Bracket racing is all about handicapping and being consistent. It has little to do with who is actually quicker. If it was “heads up” racing where both cars started at the same time, in current form the old Road Runner would beat the SRT-8. But consider the facts:

The Road Runner was modified with headers, Edelbrock heads, and the Mopar Purple Shaft .484 lift cam, 440 cubic inches of 10:1 1969 RB, and of course, triple two-barrel Holleys. While this is a very mild street combination, it is not stock. Primarily a street car, the Road Runner is no slouch and does see limited track time. It has run a best of 11.79 at 114, through full exhaust.

300C SRT-8 racing

If both cars were stock (this Road Runner began life as a 383 4 speed car with air conditioning) and both were on street tires, the SRT-8 (with traction control) would have easily blown the doors off the old bird. A stock 383 Road Runner is a solid 14 second car. What is even more amazing is the fact that, according to the owner, the SRT-8 comes in at a portly 4500 lbs, almost 600 pounds more than the Road Runner (a not so svelte 3900lbs itself).

It's hard not to be impressed with any car that runs 12s. The fastest muscle cars of all time, 426 Hemis, 440 6 packs, 454 LS6 Chevelles, 428 Cobra Jets, 455 Buicks, and GTO Judges, were all mid to low 13 second cars at best. The "average" stock 383 Road Runner, Z-28, SS 396 Chevelle, GTXs, 400 GTO, 340 Dusters and Demons Boss 302 etc... ran high 13s to high 14s. Sure, everyone knows that Max Wedges and factory light weights were very capable of mid-low 12s, and we've all heard plenty of Hemi "urban legends" of amazing quarter mile times but, these were the exceptions. The fact is, the SRT-8 would have smoked just about every stock muscle car that came out of Detroit in the 1960s and 1970s.

Ma Mopar got this one right. Time slips don't lie.

1969 plymouth roadrunner

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