The new car smell was fresh, bits of protective interior wrapping still in place, and the window sticker was just removed when One Lap competitors Matt and Misty White rolled out of the dealership in Spring, Texas, in their brand-new 2018 Dodge Charger SRT® Hellcat. They had to continue their 3,600-mile journey of the One Lap of America that ran through 12 states while racing on eight tracks and road courses. They didn’t start this famous race in a HEMI®-powered Dodge, but they finished it in America’s only four-door muscle car with 707 horsepower on tap.
How the Whites ended up purchasing their Charger Hellcat is an interesting story, as it wasn’t part of the plan when they started out on this year’s One Lap. As fate would have it, the Whites began the race in their 1999 Corvette that Matt had spent months modifying, including the engine, suspension, brakes and other components that would improve the handling and overall performance of his sports car.
However, things began to unwind for the Vette at the second event of the One Lap, Autobahn Country Club. After the first time trial session, the Corvette was smoking as oil had come out of the dipstick tube and PCV system catch can, and covering the underneath of the car with a coating of hot lubricant. This was not good and posed a danger not only their car which handles street and race duties, but other competitors on the track.
Knowing that this could be catastrophic if not fixed immediately, the Whites left the track at 7 p.m. that night and went to an auto parts store to find O-rings and RTV, intent on fixing the oil leaks and blow-by with hopes of bandaging the problem just enough to get their wounded car through the remainder of the week-long One Lap event.
The next day event was held at Gateway International Motorsports Park, a 248-mile drive from Autobahn. After arriving at their hotel at 1:30 a.m., they worked on the car and made repairs. After a long and stressful day, they finally hit the sack at 3:00 a.m. At Gateway, they made one lap and discovered that the car still had issues, including a new leak in the coolant reservoir. The decision was made to take the Corvette back to their home. After speaking to the event organizer, Brock Yates Jr., he allowed the Whites to get reinstated in the One Lap with another car. Per the rules, if the original entry breaks down, a replacement car cannot take its place and compete for points and a class win. Entrants in this situation wishing to finish the One Lap get put in the “Exhibition” category. With that being said, the Whites went home, regrouped and picked up another car to meet up with the One Lappers in Cresson, Texas.
“Our first-world conundrum was deciding which car to finish One Lap of America with,” said Misty White. “At home, we had a 2016 Dodge Challenger Scat Pack, a 2016 Dodge Charger SRT® 392 and a 2004 Porsche 911. All three cars would require several hours of preparation to be ready for the remainder of the event. We decided we would take the Challenger with the Charger wheels and tires on it. Matt drove through the night on Monday and got us home around 10 a.m. Tuesday morning with the mind set that he would work until he dropped to be ready to leave at 5 a.m. Wednesday morning. But first, he wanted IHOP for breakfast, so we hopped in the Charger and off we went to get the IHOP in College Station, and you drive past multiple dealerships.”
Not sure what the inventory levels would be, or if they would even find the exact car they were looking for, off they went.
“As we passed the Dodge dealer, Matt turned to me and said, ‘You’re going to call me an idiot, but do you want to go look at Hellcats? We wouldn’t have to do anything to prep one.’ My answer was ‘Yes, and try to find one with the Alcantara interior and dark metallic gray paint’” This is what Misty’s Charger SRT 392 looked like and she loved it. “Within minutes, Matt found one in Spring, Texas. Keep in mind that we had gotten about six hours of sleep in the last three days, so this was a perfectly reasonable decision process at the time,” laughed Misty.
After breakfast, the Whites went to the dealer and bought a brand-new 2018 Charger SRT Hellcat right on the lot and made it home later that afternoon. They then got up the next morning around 5 a.m. and drove to Cresson, Texas, to compete in the One Lap exhibition class. They hooked up with the Dodge Durango SRT campaigned by David Carr from SRT Engineering and myself about helpful break-in tips and procedures. During the road course time-trials at the Texas MotorSports Ranch, many other One Lap competitors were very supportive of the Whites’ determination to complete the long, arduous event.
During the remainder of the trip, Matt and Misty put 3,100 miles on their factory-fresh Charger SRT Hellcat. On the racetrack, many fans were cheering as Matt put the big cat through it paces and ran 148 mph on the NOLA racecourse. During the last stop, the Tire Rack Skip Pad event in South Bend, Indiana, the Charger was a drifting favorite and once again drew applause from the fellow gear heads watching Matt have way too much fun.
“We started the week rough and it only got worse until we made the decision to change cars. This was an impulse buy, but I would do it again. This car is now my daily driver. I think I’m going to have to hide the keys from Matt. We’re both infatuated with this car,” said a very happy Misty.
Well played guys and congrats on never giving up!