Gallery: Lucus Kirkpatrick’s Hellcat Charger Targets The 7 Second Club

The Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the quickest rear-drive sedan in the world, offering the very real ability to run in the 10s in near-stock form, with just a good drag radial tire. The supercharged Hemi provides loads of power in stock form, but as we have all seen, the engine responds very well to basic modifications.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort for one of the Hellcat Chargers to deliver upwards of a thousand horsepower. For most people, a full-sized sedan that will run well into the 9-second range is plenty. However, there are a handful of Charger owners in the modern Mopar racing community who are more interested in playing in the 7-second range.

One of those people is Lucus Kirkpatrick, who is the proud owner of the 2016 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat shown here. Prior to it landing in his fleet, it traveled an interesting path. This Charger Hellcat was purchased new by Dan Smith, who was responsible for the original build process.

With help from the modern Mopar masters at Demon Performance, Smith built this Charger to be a 7-second beast, but he sold the car to Zdung Ho before he could get into the 7s. Ho holds the current Charger Hellcat quarter mile record of 7.72 at 178.83 miles per hour with his own Hellcat sedan.

He added Smith’s car to his racing stable with plans of putting it into the 7s as well, running 8.20s shortly after acquiring the car. Before he was able to get the car into the 7s, he sold it to Kirkpatrick, who is the current owner of this supercharged super-sedan. 

Fortunately, Kirkpatrick shares the same vision as Dan Smith and Zdung Ho, so he has continued on the path of putting this heavyweight Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat into the 7-second quarter mile range. With the changes made over the past few months, all of the components are in place, so it is just a matter of finding a track that will hold the power.

When I spoke with Kirkpatrick about his Charger Hellcat, the first question was how he came to buy this car from Zdung Ho. “Z and I have been friends for some time and he puts up with me asking dumb, off-the-wall questions all of the time. So late one night I had told him that I kind of wanted a 7 second car and I was thinking about buying a Drag Pak, but they were so dang expensive. I knew a car could be built that ran faster than one for less than 200k.”, stated Kirkpatrick.

He continued, “We chatted about it for a little while and Z stated he had interest in selling one of his cars. That really piqued my interest and I thought about it most of the night, then I asked Z what he wanted for the car. He told me the price and I knew what it takes to build a similar car, due to having a 2016 Challenger (my first hellcat) that is built very similarly. So I jumped on it. I had the whole deal worked through my Dodge dealer (Sulphur Springs Dodge) so it was painless for everyone and I owe them a big thanks. The owner of the dealership actually wanted my Viper so it all worked out pretty well for me trading that car for Z’s.”

When Lucus Kirkpatrick purchased this car from Zdung Ho and hit the track, he immediately hit the track with solid success. Running in the mid-8s, Kirkpatrick got to the finals of the Heavyweight class at the T&E Street Car Takeover event, losing to Chris Bailey in the finals. For those who don’t know, Bailey campaigns one of the quickest 2018 Dodge Demons in the world and loosing to him in the finals was a great way to start racing this Hellcat Charger.

As mentioned above, Zdung Ho ran 8.207 at 170 with nitrous oxide and an 8.484 at 167 without nitrous before selling the car to Kirkpatrick. That configuration, originally put together by Dan Smith, started with a 426 cubic inch Gen III Hemi from The Kevin Mullins and Demon Performance.

The build included cylinder heads from ThiTek, a custom Demon Performance camshaft, a 4.5-liter Whipple supercharger and a 250-shot of nitrous oxide that was introduced through spray bars in the lower intake. The fuel system is comprised of a Fore dual pump setup and 2000cc injectors, with the entire system tuned by Zdung Ho to run on Ignite E90 racing fuel.

Conservatively speaking, this car was making around 1,500 horsepower, with all of that power being channeled towards the wheels by means of a Paramount Performance ZF 8-speed transmission, a Mark Williams driveshaft, a 9-inch Gforce rear axle with Wavetrac differential internals and Gforce Outlaw axles.

As for the body and interior, the body is all-original glass and metal with an added parachute. The interior is still complete and in the stock form.

Since getting the car and spending some time on the track, the car went under the knife for some off-season upgrades. This includes replacing the 4.5-liter Whipple with the new Gen 5 3.0-liter unit, adding Nitrous Outlet direct port injection plates with greater capacity and replacing the Wavetrac differential with a spool. As a result, this Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat will be making quite a bit more power and it should be able to comfortably put more power to the ground.

The trick now is for Kirkpatrick to find a track that will hold 1,700+ horsepower from a rear-drive car that weighs nearly 4,700 pounds. Helping with that effort is a set of RC Comp beadlock wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson M/T Pro drag radials measuring 315/60/15.

While Lucus Kirkpatrick has added power and improved some of the parts that face the most strain, he wants to keep this car as a fully intact, heavyweight racer.

“The plan is to keep drag racing in the Heavyweight and street classes. I enjoy those classes because the weight gives us a real challenge in keeping the car together and shows the difference between a car that is capable of going rounds and a car that can make a few hero passes then needs parts or attention.”, mentions Kirkpatrick.

“There’s always maintenance at this power level, but the car can hot lap with absolutely no issues. That’s what is the coolest feature about it. In my opinion, Demon Performance built one heck of a car for Dan for sure!”, exclaimed Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick’s ultimate goal is to have one of the fastest full-interior Hellcat cars in the world, but that means that he will always be working against the weight. Not only does the weight require more power to run big numbers, but the heavier the car, the more abuse there is on the drivetrain parts.

However, with the best of the best in terms of components and Zdung Ho in his corner, we have little doubt that Lucus Kirkpatrick will not be putting this Charger Hellcat in the 7s soon. In fact, he could do so later this month, when he heads to the Legion of Demons event in Texas.

Kirkpatrick closed with this, “2023 will bring great things with our team Behemoth Racing. Being retired now I want to enjoy traveling the country and racing with the best guys doing this, like Z and several others. I am fortunate and blessed to have the option to do that. Keep an eye on our fleet of cars we should have one Mopar in the 6s very soon!”

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Patrick Rall

Industry News Editor Patrick entered the Mopar world when he bought his 1983 Mirada back in 1994, installing a mild 340 a year later that would eventually be built up into the range of 500 horsepower. Today, Patrick daily drives a Hellcat Challenger, but he still has his 340-powered Mirada, as well as a 1972 Demon 340 and a Hemi Ram.

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