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Hellcat Challenger with Drag Radials Runs Easy 10s

by Patrick Rall on

Since Dodge announced that the 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat was capable of 10 second quarter mile times with nothing but sticky drag radial tires, there have been some skeptics. These ’Net know-it-alls insisted that these times are only capable in perfect conditions with lots of practice by an experienced driver, but with drag strips opening up for the 2015 around the country, we are getting more and more reports of the new Hellcat Challenger laying down amazing stock times with drivers who haven’t had the time to do any practicing.

Today, we bring you a look at a Hellcat Challenger owner making his first few runs down the quarter mile at Pittsburgh Raceway Park in Pennsylvania – with stunning results.

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The black Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat shown here is owned by Ricci Cavallaro. He has custom reflective Hellcat graphics on the side that look black from some angles and silver from others, shown by the two images on this page showing his car from two slightly different angles.

This past weekend, Cavallaro took his stock Hellcat Challenger with the 8-speed automatic transmission and a set of Nitto drag radial tires to Pittsburgh Raceway Park for the first time. Having spent a few weeks driving this beast on the street, he wanted to see how it would do on the drag strip. Ricci isn’t a professional racer and while he does have 18 years of experience racing his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, this was his very first time at the track with his 707 hp Mopar muscle car.

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The conditions were cool and clear this past weekend in Western Pennsylvania, a good day to make his first runs in the Hellcat Challenger. For those unfamiliar with Pittsburgh Raceway Park, I spent about a decade racing there myself, and they pride themselves on having one of the stickiest, best-prepped starting lines in the tristate area, so if you are going to get good traction, there is a good chance that it is going to happen at PRP.

For his first run down the track, Ricci Cavallaro left his Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat in normal automatic shift mode and he let the car do the thinking while he focused on getting away from the starting line. He did not use Launch Control, and the car was set to track mode. His 707hp Challenger pulled a 1.67 60 foot time on his first ever run and that turned into an incredible first time of 10.97 at 129.1 miles per hour. Again, this is from a factory stock car with street legal rear tires.

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On his second run, Ricci was able to get the Hellcat Challenger out of the hole a bit quicker, pulling a 1.63 60 foot time in route to a 10.93 run at 127mph. Again, on this run the car was in track mode and it was shifting by itself, around 5,900rpm. Finally, on the last of his three runs, Cavallaro managed another 10.97 run with a trap speed of 129.65mph – marking his best speed of the day.

These runs were all made with a Density Altitude in the range of 2200-2400, so conditions were good, but not perfect. If adjusted for a perfect DA, the second run would correct to 10.82.

While speaking with Ricci Cavallaro about his impressive first drag strip outing with the 2015 Challenger SRT Hellcat, I asked him if he thought that the beast had more to offer. He does believe that he will be able to get quicker by playing with the different suspension settings and adjusting the shift points. Also, I would expect that as Ricci gets more experience getting away from the line, his short times were improve and that will lead to even quicker quarter mile times.

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The videos below show each of Cavallaro’s three runs at Pittsburgh Raceway Park, followed by an in-car shot giving us a first-person perspective of the 707hp beast storming down the track. They all serve as clear proof that the Hellcat Challenger is a legitimate real-world 10-second car with just a good set of tires, making it one of the quickest American production cars on the quarter mile, ever. We have seen a few questionable drivers serve as a blemish on the Hellcat’s record, but Ricci Cavallaro is proof that a well driven Hellcat Challenger with good tires will run 10s all day long.

Run #1

Run #2

Run #3

In-Car View

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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