Excerpt from chapter 3:
“Congratulations on your win. Don’t spend all night celebrating in the casino, you need to get some rest. Wheels up at 7 a.m.”
Yikes, that’s early. Well, one round at the tables couldn’t hurt, right? I take a quick shower and decide to make my way downstairs. When the elevator doors open, I see…
…two large men in Bondurant High Performance Driving School uniforms standing there with their arms crossed in sunglasses so dark I couldn’t even see their eyes.
“Where you headed?” says the one on the right.
“Yeah, where you headed?” says the other one on the left, almost as if it had been rehearsed.
“Ummm … to the tables,” I said rather lightly, as if I was about to do something wrong and got busted by the principal.
“Not tonight,” they both said in unison. “We saw that race earlier and were not impressed. Sure, you won, but that SRT® Hellcat Redeye had a lot more than what you used to get that win light, and while a win is a win, we expected to see gapplebees. Time for some real instruction on how to use ALL of those 797 horses. Come with us, you’re going for a ride.”
At this point, I wasn’t sure if I should scream like a 5-year-old who just had their ice cream eaten by a dog or latch on to the ankles of the casino security guard staring at me. When he nodded at me and said, “You’re in for the time of your life,” I knew I’d been set up.
As we walked through the casino, I was having flashbacks of the race and began doubting my abilities. We made it to the back entrance and when I stepped outside, there was an Octane Red Dodge Challenger SRT Demon decked out in Bondurant graphics sitting there growling. One of the brutes opened the passenger door and I peered in. “Get in and buckle up,” he ordered me. As I situated myself in the seat, I looked over and the driver was staring forward with no acknowledgement of me, or King and Kong. As I buckled up, I could hear the first brute laughing like the Joker and the other leaned in and whispered, “You all drive careful now, ya hear?” and then he also burst out laughing. I remembered that was what Joe Higgins, the old ’60s Dodge Safety Sheriff, used to say.
As soon as he slammed the door, the roar of that 840-horsepower engine muted all my senses. As the neons and LEDs flashed by, the whine of the supercharger and g-forces pushing me into the seat was an incredible experience.
That is how you launch a possessed 6.2L. Remember what Mr. Kuniskis said … the SRT Hellcat Redeye is an SRT Hellcat possessed by an SRT Demon.
In a flash, we were already pulling into the Bondurant compound. Now my senses were on overdrive and I could see the dragstrip next door all lit up, and a group of people standing like soldiers in front of the place.
The driver gets out, leans back in and says, “You haven’t seen nothing yet.”
Time to be schooled by the pros!
Just then, a Ram ProMaster® pulls up. The driver smiles and says, “We’re riding in style over to the drag strip. Let’s go, no time to waste. We have to get you back for at least a couple hours of sleep before 7 a.m.” The whole crew piles in.
As soon as the doors shut, the guy in the front passenger seat chimes in. “I’m Mike, the head instructor here at Bondurant, and I’ll be your drag racing teacher tonight. Are you ready to show the world what you’re made of?”
“Hell ya!” I yelled, and the whole van burst into the chant of “Hell ya! Hell ya! Hell ya!” The excitement was exuberating.
We got dropped off right behind the Christmas tree. The air was crisp by now and the lights shined off the shiny, black ¼-mile. I went to walk and one of my shoes came off when it stuck on the track. Mike chuckled, “Yeah, that’s what you call a well-prepped track right there!”
The night was a blur of run after run – first as a passenger, then as a driver. Warming up the tires using the line lock feature made it so simple. Staging, loading up that supercharger with a little boost, go on the last yellow. Each run gave me confidence and I logged every part of instruction in my memory banks for future use. These experts were more than willing to share their craft with those hungry for horsepower.
By the end of the training, I swear you could see daylight under those front skinnies. And low 10s were as common as the SRT Hellcats sitting in the parking lot. Once that 9 sec. slip popped up, training was over. Mike handed me the final slip with a big grin on his face and said, “You are ready, Red-Jedi Knight. May the g-force be with you. 7 a.m. is coming up quickly. We have to get you back for some shuteye, so you’ll be ready for your next journey in your SRT Hellcat Redeye.”
I could smell the burnt rubber on my clothes as I hopped back in the ProMaster. The cool seats felt like ice on my back and the van was empty except for the driver and me. I sat in silence, still in awe from what just happened. Like some kind of intergalactic cowboy, I had controlled 840 horsepower a ¼-mile at a time and was now ready to harness all 797 of the SRT Hellcat Redeye. Thanks to the Bondurant clan, I was prepared.
Bam! Bam! Bam! was the next thing I heard as someone was pounding on my hotel door. “6:00 a.m., sir! It’s your wake-up call!” someone yelled from the other side of the door.
Was it all just a dream? I thought to myself. No, couldn’t have been. My clothes were folded on the chair next to the bed and I don’t recall changing into the Dodge PJs I had on. Freaky!
I did have a sense of Dodge-Zen as I leapt out of bed as if I had done this before – a calmness that I was prepared for anything the SRT Hellcat Redeye would dish out. I threw on my clothes and as I walked out the door, I reached into my front pocket and found another new keychain with a tag that read … YOU’VE GOT THIS.
Out the door I went…
Author: Mike Lavens
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