First-generation Dakota Runs Mid-12s: Track Time Tuesday

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Modified Mopar pickup reminds us why we all fell in love with Dodge’s mid-sized truck.

This week’s Track Time Tuesday comes to us from the 1320 Races YouTube channel and it features a first generation Dodge Dakota making a run down the quarter mile of New England Dragway. If you removed the “drag pack” wheels and tires along with all of the decals, you might mistake it for an average mid-sized truck, but as the video below shows, this Dakota is anything but average.

The Machine

Unfortunately, there are no details included with the video, but a few aspects of this truck are obvious from the footage. We can see that this Dakota has fat tires out back wrapped in either drag radials or slicks along with skinny wheels and tires up front. It also appears that this truck has some sort of upgraded suspension, allowing it to make better use of the big power and sticky grip.

First Gen Dodge Dakota Burnout Box

As for the engine, we do not know what it under the hood, but it is definitely some variety of big V8. This Dakota could have come from the factory with a 5.2-liter V8 and that mill could be built to offer the power exercised, but it is just as likely that this Dodge pickup is fitted with some other late-model V8. There are plenty of big-power options with the 5.9-liter Magnum with stroker kits and forced induction, but that is all speculation.

What we don’t need to speculate about is the fact that this old mid-sized truck gets down the track in a hurry.

First Gen Dodge Dakota Mid Track

Big RPM Launch

The video begins with the first generation Dodge Dakota cleaning off the tires and inching up to the starting line. As the truck stages, we can hear the engine RPM roar and when the green light drops, the mid-sized pickup rips away from the starting line. With the roar of the healthy V8, the caged pickup pulls hard through the top end, stopping the timers with a 12.423 at 105.09 miles per hour.

Dodge Dakota Runs 12.42

Trucks like this early Dakota led the way for the boom in sport trucks that continued with the second generation Dodge mid-sized pickups, 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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