NHRA Champ Leah Pritchett’s Demon-bashing Mopar Rocks!

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Drag Pak Challenger has been punishing the strip a full decade before the SRT Demon’s modern-day comeback.  

It was a huge deal when Dodge released the Demon. After all, it’s a street-legal road car that can run 10-second quarter-miles straight from the factory. But Dodge builds an even faster Challenger. In fact, it’s a lot faster – like seven-second quarter-mile faster. And if you’re a professional driver like Leah Pritchett you’re very familiar with it. Say hello to the Challenger Drag Pak.

Okay, you may have already heard of the Drag Pak; after all, it’s been around since 2009. But it’s pretty different than a stock Challenger. For starters, it has a live rear axle. It also has an automatic transmission sourced from GM. It also has a 10-point roll cage, different instrumentation, and an added control panel. So may know of the Drag Pak, but you probably don’t know the Drag Pak. Luckily, Leah spent some time with the maniacs at Hoonigan and poured over everything you need to know.

Leah Pritchett's 2009 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

What a champion looks like

For starters, Leah won the NHRA Super Stock world championship in this very car, so if a Drag Pak can be made even more special, this one is. “This is our opportunity to show you guys an in-depth version of this blue-and-red Drag Pak that you’ve been seeing all year,” she says to viewers. In short, she doesn’t disappoint.

For starters, she goes over what makes a Drag Pak so special. But what’s most astonishing about her car is that while it looks like a 2018 Challenger, it’s actually the first Drag Pak to ever come from Dodge. That’s right, the 2018 championship-winning car is actually a decade old. Side windows are plexiglass, Mickey Thompson pizza cutters are up front, and MT 9-inch wheels keep the wheelie bars company out back.

Leah Pritchett's 2009 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

As for power, this Challenger is making anywhere between 1,100-1,300 horsepower depending on condition and race. With Pritchett at the wheel, this car can weigh no more than 3,675 pounds.

Speaking of behind the wheel, inside doesn’t look much different than a standard 2009 Challenger with a roll cage welded in. There’s the same four-spoke steering wheel, the same main gauge cluster, and even the same electrically-adjustable steering column. But that’s where the similarities end. There’s a built-in push-to-talk radio, a giant AutoMeter tachometer, and a rack of switches that control fuel, ignition, fan, water, intercooler, and two-step lighting.

Leah Pritchett and her 2009 Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.

Then Leah goes through a step-by-step process of how to handle the Challenger at the strip. From the line-up to crossing the line, she makes it sound easy. But the most important thing: “The win light. Did the win light come on? This year it came on a lot. Hopefully next year it will come on even more.”

Under the stock SRT Challenger hood lies a massive carbon fiber intake that feeds a 2.9-liter Whipple supercharger bolted to a bored and stroked Hemi. If you were wondering where all that extra power comes from look no further.

We also get a good look at the underside and suspension, but for that, you’ll have to hear Pritchett explain it. The Challenger has been around for a long time. To hear Leah pour over her car we can see why. If it still looks this good, sounds this good, and still dominates at the drag strip, why bother changing?

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James Derek Sapienza has worked as a writer and editor in the world of automotive journalism since 2015.

He has a BS in History at SUNY Brockport, with a focus on American popular culture. A fan of the classics with a special interest in German cars, he is a proud owner of a 1991 W124 Mercedes. He is a frequent contributor to Mustang Forums, MBWorld, 5Series, Rennlist, and more.

James can be reached at [email protected]

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