Epling Garage Hellcat Challenger Resets Record Again: Track Time Tuesday

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First Hellcat in the 8s is aiming for the 7s, with a father and son team campaigning this legendary Challenger.

This week’s Track Time Tuesday comes to us from the YouTube channel of Leon Epling and it features the Epling Garage 007 Dodge Challenger. If you pay any attention to modern Mopar track records, the Epling name should be familiar, as the father, son and grandson team of Leon, Jason and Logan have worked together to hold the title of the world’s quickest Hellcat-powered car for years. The 007 Challenger was the first in the eight-second range and now they are shooting for 7s while continuing to hold their title by running quicker and quicker times.

While recently running at a Modern Street Hemi Shootout event at Rockingham, the Epling Hellcat smashed the record that they already held while getting within two-tenths of the seven-second range.

The Epling 007 Challenger

The Epling Garage car shown here started its life as a standard Hellcat Challenger with the six-speed manual transmission, but over the course of the past few years, it has been transformed into a street-legal race car.

Epling Hellcat Challenger Staged

Under the hood is a Hellcat Hemi that has been bored and stroked to 7.0 liters (or 426 cubic inches) fitted with a 4.9-liter Kenne Bell supercharger and a nitrous oxide system. This car makes well over a thousand horsepower at the wheels, and the power gets there by means of a Liberty manual transmission and Ram pro-stock-style clutch. The system is tuned by Tim Barth and the engine management system is provided by Holley, with Holley engineers playing a key role in the development of the management system. The Epling car is the first Hellcat car to run this system, so Epling, Barth and the Holley team worked together to make the system work with the supercharged Hemi.

Finally, this Challenger has a Strange rear differential and an adjustable suspension setup that allows the team to make use of all of that supercharger, nitrous-injected Hemi power. Of course, that is with the driving skill of Jason Epling, who knows how to use Hellcat power as well as anyone in the world.

Epling Hellcat Challenger Wheels Up

Record Run

In the video above, Jason Epling is piloting the 007 Hellcat Challenger on a fairly warm day during the Modern Street Hemi Shootout. Many of the past Hellcat record runs were made in cold air, with a density altitude that is well into the negative range, but at the MSHS event, the cars were running in DA around 1,500 feet. That didn’t stop the Epling car from making monster power and with the warmer air, traction was better than it is on cold days.

As a result, the Epling Challenger launched with the wheels way up in the air, but Jason stayed into the throttle, riding out the big wheelie and storming down the track faster than anyone in a Hellcat has ever stopped the times. The elapsed time was 8.15 seconds with a trap speed of 169 miles per hour, crushing their own previous record of 8.51 seconds at 159 miles per hour.

Epling Challenger Hellcat 8.15

Again, this car has a manual transmission, so Jason Epling is rowing through the gears while nearly breaking into the seven-second range, so crank up your speakers and enjoy.

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"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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