• 2016

Big Win at the Big Go

Floridian Carl Weisinger’s car collection includes everything from 250 classic die cast replicas to an assortment of full-sized HEMI® engine-powered race cars. Unlike the 1:18 scale models, Weisinger isn’t content to leave the life-sized versions on display in his man cave. He’s having far too much fun taking them to the drag strip.

Weisinger seems to have a soft spot for the Mopar® Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, and that was made evident at the 2016 rendition of the most prestigious race on the NHRA tour, the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. There, Weisinger proudly watched as sportsman standout Jeff Taylor took over the seat of his 2015 Mopar Dodge Challenger Drag Pak, finely equipped with an all-aluminum 426, and wheeled it to an FS/C class runner-up where there were 11 cars vying for the coveted trophy.

“Jeff did a great job driving the car, lost by just three-hundredths in the final, and the car ran really well. This was a brand-new car in its first race, and we haven’t done anything yet to the engine,” said Weisinger, who has made modifications to the suspension, gear ratios and rearCarl_Challenger end. “We were pretty happy.”

Weisinger was even happier with the outcome of his own final in FSS/L class eliminations, where he scored the trophy in his 360 cu. in., 5.9L 2009 Drag Pak. The win at the venerable U.S. Nationals was most satisfying – and a bit familiar.

“We raced at Indy in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993, and I think we won class three out of those four years and set the national record,” said Weisinger, who was a long-time promoter at Orlando Speed World Dragway before his retirement. “I’ve never concentrated on winning the entire event as much as I have on setting national records and winning class. If they have a class run-off, that’s what I like – the heads-up stuff.”

Weisinger was part of a spectacular show in the class final, with notorious Keith Lynch and his 2009 Drag Pakxmastree-retouched in the other lane. Weisinger launched with a quick .018-second reaction time that gave him an immediate advantage over a .059, and the head start was lengthened when Lynch pulled the front wheels up in a massive wheel stand. Although Lynch set the wheels down neatly and was headed toward the finish line in full charge, it was Weisinger with the win light on a 9.827-second pass at 131.31 mph to 9.840, 134.26.

“Keith is a two-time world champ in Super Stock, and he’s been around awhile,” said Weisinger, who observed Lynch at a race in Bowling Green, Kentucky, earlier in the season and was impressed with how fast his Challenger was. “Going into that round in Indy, we had both done all the tricks we could think of: icing down the engine, putting in thin oil, taking some oil out. We were doing everything we could to gain an advantage. If he hadn’t done that wheel stand, I don’t know if the outcome of the race would have been any different, but near the finish line, he was starting to catch me. If we would have gone another 200 feet, he probably would have won.”

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