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The Epling Garage Hellcat Challenger is in the 7s!

by Patrick Rall on

Earlier today, the Epling Garage Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat became the first Hellcat car to break into the 7-second quarter mile range, with Jason Epling piloting the supercharged Mopar monster down the Kentucky Dragway in just 7.87 seconds at 176 miles per hour. Again, this marks the first time that any car powered by a Hellcat Hemi has run in the 7s and more importantly, this is the first Hellcat car with a metal body, factory chassis, Hellcat VIN and Hellcat-based engine to bring home a 7-second slip.

Best of all, this record run was made in the heat of the day, with density altitude over 2,500 feet and continued traction issues, so while this 7.87 is a stunning number, the Epling Garage 007 Challenger has a whole lot more left in the tank, so to speak.

Another Epling Family World Record

Last week, we brought you the news that the quarter mile world record for the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat had dropped to 8.05 and as has been the case with most of the Hellcat Challenger records in the past few years, it was set by the “007 car” of the Epling Garage racing family. Earlier this year, the Epling Challenger set the bar high with an 8.15, followed by the 8.05 last week and in speaking with Leon Epling (the eldest of the three generations involved in the team), he believed that there was a 7-second run in the car, especially in cool air.

However, the team didn’t want to wait for cooler autumn air to see if they could break into the 7s, making some adjustments to the engine tune, tweaking the suspension setup and removing the wheelie bars before heading to Kentucky Dragway early this morning. No “hard parts” have changed since the 8.05 run, so all of the engine, transmission, suspension and chassis components are unchanged from the previous record, but the adjustments to the engine and suspension tuning made the difference needed for the Epling Garage Challenger to become the first Hellcat car in the 7s.

The Record-Setting Machine

For those who are unfamiliar with the build of this incredible Dodge Challenger, it has a Hellcat VIN, the factory metal body panels, the factory chassis and a Hellcat-based engine block which has been massaged to 7.0-liters from 6.2. In addition to the enlarged engine volume, this car features a 4.9-liter Kenne Bell supercharger, Thitek cylinder heads sporting big valves a custom port job, Jesel rockers, a custom Comp Cam, a Holley EFI system, 1,700cc injectors, dual Magnaflow fuel pumps, a Snow Performance water injection system, a nitrous oxide system and a Q16 racing fuel engine tune that leads to somewhere in the area of 1,500 horsepower. For those wondering, the primary tuning work was done by Hellcat mastermind Tim Barth, while Jason Epling handles the fine tuning at the track with input from Barth.

All of those angry horses are sent to the 28-inch Mickey Thompson drag radials by means of a Liberty 5-speed manual transmission with a Ram triple-disc clutch and a Strange 9-inch rear differential, with help from adjustable Strange suspension components.

That’s right – this Hellcat Challenger is in the 7s and Jason Epling is still rowing through the gears on his own.

The Magic Number

As you can see in the video above, the Epling Garage Hellcat Challenger got a great launch, but when Jason shifted to second gear and the nitrous engaged, the back end kicked out as the tires started to spin. However, Jason Epling kept the hammer down and that led to a historic run. Even with the high DA and the traction issues, this run made the Epling Garage Hellcat Challenger the first Hellcat-powered car to run a 7-second quarter mile.

So, from Allpar and literally everyone in the Mopar community, we want to congratulate Leon, Jason and Logan from the Epling Garage racing family for becoming the first to put a Hellcat car in the 7s.

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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