Story continues below this advertisement
MoparMax’s project late model HEMI drag race car, the Maulin’ Magnum, has progressed—as seen in these pages—from a mid-13 second car in 2011 to a low-10 second car at the end of 2015. Back in 2011, Senior Editor Alex Rogeo won her first race in her first season of drag racing with a 13.48 second dial. Editor-Publisher, Richard Kratz’s job was both easier and harder back then. Easier because the Magnum was a street car with C.A.R.B. 50-state legal bolt-on parts that drove on the street daily making low maintenance demands on Richard as crew chief. Yet, it was harder as well because, like most modern late model cars, the car had multiple computers running the engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes, etc., and these computers are hell-bent on adapting and changing performance to maximize emissions and fuel efficiency. At the race track, Richard and Alex often felt like they were fighting the computers as well as the competition.
You, our loyal readers, have watched over the years as the car progressed and moved steadily along the street/strip spectrum from full street towards full race car. We have shared all of our lessons learned with you along the way and we really appreciate the emails and personal comments you make to us at events letting us know that you’ve learned things about hot rodding the modern HEMI from our efforts.
In 2011 a 13.48 pass was great for us with sixty foot times in excess of 2-seconds. In 2012 we beefed up the rearend and raced and wrote about installing a 50 horsepower shot of nitrous oxide, upgrading to more complex 150 HP nitrous oxide system and finally a six-pound boost Magnuson supercharger. By the end of the year low 12-second passes were the norm and on a cold day in November at Auto Club Fontana Dragway—after stripping out every bit of weight we could, as witnessed by the pile of seats, carpet and more in our pit area—we broke through the 11-second barrier to an out of nowhere 11.77 run.
Then 2013 saw a big leap forward for the car when Arrington Performance upgraded our engine from its stock block 6.L base to a forged anvil of a 6.4L based block. This stronger foundation let us turn up the wick on the blower with race gas in the tank and Alex’s very day at the track at Mopars at the Strip in March saw her pedaling and burning rubber to half-track on her way to her first 10-second time slip. Granted, she only barely dipped into the 10s with a 10.98 second pass, but it was 10 no less.
But 2013 was a tough journey for the car and the team. We had learned that you could add over 100 horsepower to a stock block 6.1L and hook consistently if you are prudent with your tune and your drivetrain upgrades. With the engine in the mid-500 crank horsepower range, with a beefed up factory NAG1 transmission, Driveshaft Shop axles and upgraded gearset we had a good handle on the car. When we made the jump with the new 6.4L engine into the mid-700 crank horsepower range we learned that just about nothing on a late model HEMI car will survive that power level with hooked up drag slicks on the car. We broke transmission, driveshafts, torque converters and finally even a rear suspension arm. The car either wanted to spin the tires at the hit or hookup and then go into uncontrolled tire shake. Lesson learned, there comes a point in power and traction where you have no choice but to get serious about moving forward on the spectrum towards the race car end.