Not everyone who is at the track is a born and bred car geek with fuel in their veins. It’s a large amount of the people you will meet, but there are plenty of converts as well…those who couldn’t be bothered to see a car as any more than a tool or worse, an appliance and who didn’t quite understand what the sickness was truly about. Ever have a friend tell you a sad story involving the spouse who doesn’t get the hobby which, in turn, causes friction whenever the track opens and cruise nights start to flourish? Well, here’s a story for everyone that believes that situation is a black hole with no fix in sight. This is the story of one guy who decided to go ahead and introduce his lady to his drug of choice.
Andy and Jennifer Wagner have been together for thirteen years. Andy has been a gearhead through and through (he’s the guy I bought the drag radials for Angry Grandpa from) and would spend his weekends at Maryland International Raceway, enjoying the scene. Jen, however, did not share that vision. She had grown up watching an uncle run stockers on dirt rings, but to her, cars were a waste of money: payments, upkeep, registration and all of the standard BS that went along with them was bad enough, so why in the hell would you spend extra money on tires, broken parts, fuel for trips to racetracks half the country away and more?
It literally happened by accident: while driving Jen’s Dodge Caliber home in 2015, some guy rear-ended Andy in the little crossover, wiping it out. With the Caliber dead, car shopping had to happen, so they went perusing the dealership. Jen was looking at vehicles like the Dodge Journey and Dodge Dart. Andy had a sick feeling looking at either one of those cars, so he showed her a Dodge Charger. The price was higher than Jen wanted to pay and she wasn’t having it, so Andy made the call: he brought home this 2015 Charger R/T, a fully-loaded example. That didn’t go over well…in fact, it was an instant “no” simply on price. But then she drove the R/T and loved it. She went back to the dealership to drive a V6 model, hoping to get a better price, and realized that would be a mistake, so the R/T got a permanent home.
Now, most guys would’ve called that a win and left well enough alone at that point, but Andy went further, telling Jen about his fun with the Modern Street Hemi Shootout series. How accepting they were. How they would love to have a new racer in the group. Again, Jen wasn’t too sure about everything, but in September, she ran the Charger at Virginia Motorsports Park, with little more than a Corsa cat-back exhaust and a box tune in the car. Her next run was at ATCO, and by then the Charger not only was on drag radials, it was on the bottle as well. Since then, the pair have hit just about every MSHS event, Charger ready to rock, Jen ready to run and Andy’s car hauler packed to the brim full of nitrous tanks and spare parts, just in case someone frags something while running.
The Charger is a bit further from stock as it sat at ChallengerFest 8 last month. The 5.7L has SRT headers, JBA catless mid-pipes and the Corsa cat-back, a Billet Technology catch can, Legmaker true cold-air feed, 180 degree thermostat and it’s party piece, a Nitrous Express plate kit with a Max 4 controller, installed by Mike Galiano at EMP New York. A Mopar SRT suspension package, and Scat Pack bumpers front and rear round out the parts, and a black-painted roof round out the visuals.
On the bottle, the Charger has a best of 11.83 and off the bottle is an easy mid-twelve car. If it weren’t for the stickers and Weld Wheels, this could simply be a clean driver. But it’s truly the race car in the family, Jen at the wheel kicking ass and Andy in the pits, making sure that the Charger, and the wife, are happy.