Late Model HEMI on a Diet – Losing Weight to Go Faster
Part 1

If you read this magazine, odds are you like to go fast. If you like to go to the drag street in your street car and run down the ¼ mile on test and tune/grudge race days at your local track, or if you compete in bracket racing in your street strip car, you probably wouldn’t mind being a little bit quicker.

There are two ways to go faster, add more horsepower and make the car lighter. Horsepower is sexy and fun, we all love big HP numbers. However, horsepower, especially big horsepower, costs money. Sometimes lots of money. On the other hand, losing weight from your car can include a lot of things you can do for free. If you don’t want to push your motor any harder than you are, then losing weight is your only path to faster time slips.

There is a secondary benefit to making your car lighter, durability. A lighter car is easier to launch and easier on its parts. A lighter car puts less stress on the transmission, converter, driveshaft, axles, etc. Lighter is better when it comes to speed.

We’re on a major journey with the MoparMax Maulin’ Magnum right now. We started racing our 2007 Dodge Magnum SRT8 in 2011 in almost pure factory condition. All we had done was add a cat-back exhaust for a nicer sound, a cold air intake for maybe a couple of more ponies and picked up some cheap 17” Cobra R replica wheels (which bolt onto LX/LC platform cars) and put Mickey Thompson drag radials on them. We had fun, Senior Editor, Alex Rogeo won her first race in this car with a 13.48 dial-in.

First race in early 2011 in the MoparMax Maulin’ Magnum. No decals on the car, a few camp chairs and a table. Car is full factory weight and runs 13.48.

When we first started racing, we put the race tires, a jack and a cooler into the Magnum and headed to the track. Over time we started bringing more stuff to the races and eventually had to take two cars to hold it all. To save money on fuel, we put a hitch on the Magnum and started renting a little 5x8 foot U-Haul trailer every race weekend. We filled (and I mean FILLED) that little trailer eventually and spent a lot of money on trailer rental. So we ended up buying a 6x12 trailer from our friends, father and son team John and Jon Irving and filling that up.

As the Magnum evolved into an ever more serious race car, migrating from the mid-13s to the mid-12s and then into the mid-11s, towing a loaded trailer began to add too much stress to the Magnum’s parts. We broke some parts in 2013 just trying to get to the races towing a trailer in what had become a high 10-second race car. The time had come to get a truck and trailer and take the Magnum off the street.