Teen Pilots Manual Transmission Challenger Like a Pro

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Challenger Scat Pack runs the eighth-mile in the mid-7s with a middle-schooler at the wheel.

When most of us were 14 years old, we were dreaming of the day where we could drive legally, but 14-year old Brandon Melton is already a formidable driver at the drag strip. In this video from the Mopar By Melton YouTube page, the young man is piloting his dad’s Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack with a manual transmission like he has been racing for years.

Melton Challenger Scat Pack

The Melton Boys Challenger Scat Pack

The Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack is a fantastic package, built around the 392-cubic inch, 485-horsepower SRT Hemi V8. This particular Mopar muscle car packs even more power thanks to the addition of an aftermarket camshaft, long-tube headers, three-inch exhaust and a tune while a set of drag slicks helps put the power to the ground.

Lots of people could get in a Challenger Scat Pack with the lightning-quick eight-speed automatic transmission and run solid times, but this Dodge coupe is fitted with the six-speed manual transmission. The extra pedal requires the driver to have more talent in getting off of the starting line and through the gears, and when driven by the owner of this Scat Pack car – Lenny Melton – it is capable of running the eighth-mile in the 7.69-second range while the quarter-mile takes around 11.7 seconds.

14-Year Old at the Wheel

While Lenny Melton has run mid-7s and mid-11s with his Challenger Scat Pack, he isn’t behind the wheel in this video, Instead, his 14-year old son is at the wheel. The young man isn’t old enough to legally drive on public roads, but you don’t need to have a license to go racing – you just need skill.

In this case, the young man has the skill required to get this manually-shifted Challenger down the track in impressive fashion.

After cleaning off the tires, Milton rolls to the line and stages, bringing the engine speed up as the amber lights come down. When the green lights drop, he works the clutch well enough to get the Challenger away from the line in a hurry, but without smoking the tires.

As a result, the 14-year old is able to get the car down the eighth-mile track in just 7.8 seconds, just over a tenth of a second behind his far-more-experienced dad.

Interesting Future for This Challenger

Brandon Melton has a bright future of racing Mopars ahead of him, but this Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack has an interesting future as well. Right now, the drivetrain is out of the car as Lenny and his boys install a supercharged Hellcat Hemi. Needless to say, it will be running a whole lot quicker than 7s in the eighth-mile when the project is complete, and Lenny has told us that his 14-year old son will be one of the people to drive it. Of course, it will also be driven by Lenny and his older son, Austin.

In the meantime, watch the 14-year old rocket down the track in this 500-horsepower Challenger.

"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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