Craig Douglas Drives and Drags His Challenger SRT® Hellcat Redeye Widebody to 3rd at Sick Summer

Hot Rod Drag Week was the first event series that required competitors to drive their race vehicles from track to track rather than hauling them, but after Tom Bailey spent a few years dominating those events, he introduced his own lineup of Drive and Drag events – starting with Sick Week in 2022 and expanding with Sick Summer and Death Week starting in 2023. Bailey’s “Sick” events draw huge numbers of high-performance vehicles that have been built to tear down the drag strip and then immediately drive hundreds of miles to the next track to race the next day.

One of the competitors for Sick Summer 2024 was Craig Douglas, who drove his 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT® Hellcat Redeye Widebody to a third place finish in the Heavy Metal class, making him the highest-placing Dodge driver in any class in this year’s event. His five-track average of 9.5518 at 142.666 miles per hour also made him the quickest/fastest modern Dodge driver in the field and the second-quickest Dodge overall. The quickest Dodge was a 1969 Dart that scored a 9.4682 at 146.998 to finish fifth in the Pro Street class, and Douglas pointed out that had he known how close he was to being the quickest Dodge in the huge field, he would have turned it up a little more.

“When I got to Byron, the new combination only had 46 street miles on it with no dyno/track time. The plan was survival for this race as I entered in a faster class than I usually run in. Had I known that I was that close to the fastest Mopar®, I would have put more to it as there’s at least .5 left on the table with the blower only and probably another .4-.5 with the Nitrous. I was trying to be conservative on the track to make it through the week to finish without a catastrophic failure,” said Douglas. “I had a lifter ticking at me and was unsure if it was was going to stay with me all week. It did, obviously, but was very angry at the end of the week.”

One of the reasons that I reached out to Craig Douglas for more information on his Sick Summer adventures was that pictures of his Dodge Challenger pulling a small trailer popped up in a few Mopar groups. Folks who are not familiar with Drive and Drag events couldn’t make sense of why the silver muscle car was pulling a trailer, but that is actually very common with events of this type. Since the competitors are not allowed to travel with support vehicles, they have to carry everything that they could possibly need for a week of racing around the country with them. In most cases, rather than try to make everything fit in or on the roof of the vehicle, competitors pull a small trailer full of supplies.

With that in mind, one of my key questions to Douglas pertained to what goes in that trailer.

“On this trip, I brought spare coils, MAP sensors, extra blower belts, a camshaft position sensor, cooler for ice (for the intercooler) and drinking water, jack, jack stands, tons of tools, relays, wire, fuses, connectors, clamps, tape, Permatex, Loctite, spare lug nuts, bolts and nuts, street wheels/tires and spare fuel. You try to bring things that are hard to get and/or have failed in the past and kept you from completing the 5-day race/drive.”

Some people may argue that all of those items could be jammed into the trunk and backseat Tetris-style, but in 2022, Douglas carried everything in the car and the excess weight led to a torn axle boot, effectively ending his campaign that year. Adding the trailer hitch and pulling the small trailer is simply a more convenient way to transport everything without a second vehicle. Also, his hitch receiver doubles as a parachute mount at the track.

Next, Douglas explained the schedule for Sick Week 2024.

“On Sunday, you are at the track getting teched in and checked in with your stickers, car number. Then there’s a test and tune session in the afternoon to shake out any problems that might come up on race day, on Monday. It’s literally 5 races straight with driving the car from track with no support vehicle or car hauler,” said Douglas. “Typically, you leave the hotel around 6AM, drive to the track, switch the car over from street to race mode and make passes until you are satisfied with your timeslip. Then you turn it into the officials with the pictures of your checkpoints on social media to switch over the car to street mode to drive to the next track. My longest drive this week was from Tri-State to GLD. It took us 7 hours due to an intercooler pump relay failure and traffic. The routes that are made are not direct, nor the fastest route. The checkpoints and roads are always scenic back roads that are like a washboard and everyone is required to travel the same path.”

The pictures of checkpoints that he mentioned are also a key aspect of the Drive and Drag experience. Competitors don’t map out the shortest or most convenient route from track to track. The event organizers set the path from track to track by requiring every competitor to get pictures of their vehicle in front of various landmarks, totaling 746 miles of driving for Douglas.

“Yes, the checkpoints are part of the rules, but also part of the fun. You have to take a picture of your car in front of the checkpoints and post them on a social media with the #Sickweek #Sickthemag #Sicksummer tags. It’s tradition to do trailer burnouts at these stops, but it’s also a chance to meet other fans/racers, grab something to eat/drink, stretch your legs or fix your broken car! There’s typically locals here waiting to see all of the cars and meet some drivers/take pictures.”

When Douglas got to each track, he and his crew member/navigator Reggie would unhook the trailer and replace the hitch with his parachute, remove everything from the car that was packed in there for the road drive and switch to his track tune – which varies depending on whether or not E85 is available along the drive route. Of course, there are also smaller tuning and tire pressure changes made at the track, depending on conditions. He then puts on his safety gear and hits the track, but some competitors make many more changes between the street and track portions of the event.


“Some people switch over fuel systems, tunes, shocks, tires and tunes. I have even seen a team swap over different blowers between tracks for street driving vs. racing!”

Some of you might look at the pictures of Craig Douglas’ Challenger and assume that he is lightly modified to run in the 9.40s, but this car was built to go a whole lot faster and when Douglas got tired of breaking drivetrain parts, he dialed it back to how it sits today.

“I went 9.13@151 with the stock 2.7 IHI blower with some bolt-ons. Injectors, pulleys and E85. I then decided to put a 422 (4.0 stroke X 4.100 Bore) with the 3.0 Whipple and Nitrous Outlet blower plates on it. It made 1278 RWHP on the blower only and 1460 RWHP and 1327 lb-ft of torque on a 200 shot on the dyno (only time the nitrous system has been used). I’d like to credit Tim Barth for these performances as he was tuning this car since it was new.

“Last year, it went 8.81@161 on the blower only, but broke 3 driveshafts, obliterated 3 transmissions, broke 2 rear ends, caught the parachute and rear valance on fire from the hot transmission fluid under, etc., throughout the season. The car is just too heavy for that kind of power. Every time it came apart it was above 160 MPH! So, I decided to put it back to the stock displacement with some drop-in rods/pistons topped it with the 3.0 Whipple and NO blower plates that I have still not used.

“The car is a stock suspension car with all AAD arms, DSS axles and driveshaft on board. Transmission is handled by a MAX effort HP90 built by Jon Sipple. It drinks the E85 through a Triple FORE system and a set of 1700 ID injectors. The car stops via TBM brakes all the way around.

“All of my cars are built in house at ASG Automotive and Bryce Kelly is the lead race tech at the shop. Bryce is a critical piece in the whole process and does a good job keeping these cars moving and safe! He’s not always happy with me when I drag a broken car back to the shop! Phill Schroll was doing the keyboard magic on this car and also does the tuning on my Drag and Drive 2017 ZL1 that has been 8.51@161.”

It should be noted that Douglas bought his Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody new and has put just under 6,000 miles on it since then. In addition to everything mentioned above, his Challenger has an 8.50 certified roll cage, leading to a track weight of 4,750 pounds (with the driver).

Also, while Craig Douglas was able to complete the grueling five-race event, he did run into a series of technical issues that could have ended his Sick Summer campaign early.

“I had brake failure (pedal went straight to the floor!) on a couple of passes, that I learned later was due to a failed caliper that was boiling the fluid. We located a new one from Doug Cook at Motion and swapped it out at the GLD track!

“We had a trailer/hitch failure and had to redo the receiver set up that had not been tested until this race/trip! Alex and Levi at Motion Race works helped us out on this revision to the set up so that we didn’t lose the trailer!

“There was an intercooler pump relay that decided to take the day off and retire! Some quick diagnosis in an O’Reilly parking lot and relay swap out (I brought one in my trailer!) and we were back on the road in about an hour with the IATs dropping back where they should be again.

“Of course, there was a major concern about the lifter all week as well.”

Douglas also shared some of the details on his past Drive and Drag experiences and his plans for later this year.

“I did my first Drag and Drive in 2016 (Hot Rod Drag Week) with my 2015 Hellcat Charger (no trailer) that finished the fastest car with a sealed hood and ended up 4th out of 115 cars in the highly competitive SME class. I ended up taking my ZL1 (no trailer) to Midwest Drags in 2019 and won 1st place with the Modern Muscle class and ended up runner-up in SME in the 2015 Hellcat Charger (no trailer) in 2021 at the Midwest Drags.

I am entered in Drag Week this year as well. I am in the process of finishing up my ‘70 Dart twin turbo fitted with the nasty 422 Hellcat engine that I took out of the Challenger. Hopefully I can debut it there! This is a 7-second build. Bryce wants to go on his first Drag and Drive event with me in the Dart as he has put countless hours in getting this car fitted for the Gen III HEMI.”

Finally, Craig Douglas shared his final thoughts on these types of events and credited his navigator, Reggie, and shop race tech, Bryce, for contributing to his Drive and Drag success.

“I would best describe these events by saying it’s a triathlon for you and the car! It’s supposed to be fun, but also challenging at the same time. I can confirm that they are WAY more challenging than anything!

“Reggie is my navigator/crew member, he works at the shop and has been on several Drag and Drives along with hundreds of track testing/races. Your navigator/crew is just as important as your car/setup as you are trusting your life in their hands!”

Congratulations to Craig Douglas on a great Sick Summer 2024 in his Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody; and on behalf of the Brotherhood of Muscle, we wish you good luck in your Drag Week campaign in your 1970 Dodge Dart.