• THE Authority In Hemi Performance
  • Free Shipping on Most Parts
  • Everything You Need For Your Build
Home » DT Racing Chronicles – Vol 4

DT Racing Chronicles – Vol 4

Dusterhoff Racing Chronicles: January 2024 Edition

Dusterhoff Racing’s Monthly Chronicle: January 2024

Unleashing Power with Brett Smith’s 3.8 Whipple Challenger Hellcat, Our DT997 Challenger Hellcat vs Demon 170 Showdown, and behind the scenes as we test at Bradenton Motorsports Park!

Volume No. 04

Welcome to the January edition of the Dusterhoff Racing Chronicles!!!

Welcome to the January 2024 edition of ‘The Dusterhoff Racing Chronicles’! As we dive into the exhilarating world of high-performance vehicles and cutting-edge tuning, this issue brings you an exclusive feature on Brett Smith’s powerhouse – the 3.8 Whipple-powered 2018 Challenger Hellcat. Additionally, buckle up for an exciting overview and comparison between our 2020 Challenger Hellcat and the all-new Demon 170. To top it off, join us in the ‘Shop Talk’ section as we recount our thrilling week of testing at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.

Get ready for an immersive journey into the heart of speed, power, and precision. The engines are roaring, and the race is on. Let’s hit the road with The Dusterhoff Racing Chronicles!

Happy Racing!

Dusterhoff Racing Team

Is Imitation the Sincerest Form of Flattery?:

How the Demon 170 Feels oddly similar to what we have been doing in the aftermarket for years

Finally getting my hands on our Demon 170 was an exciting moment. I couldn’t wait to dig into this car and learn from what the factory had done in its last iteration of this platform. There is always so much to learn from how they approach and solve problems, and I always enjoy learning from it. As I dug into the car, déjà vu hit. Something about this car reminded me of our 2020 car, and the further I dug almost everything did. When I built that car my goal was to go as fast as we could on as close to a stock car as possible. We were eventually able to go 8.76 at 154 with a 6.2 engine, stock heads, cam, 2.4 ihi, full exhaust, stock trans, etc…. The list goes on. Aside from having put an upgraded rod and piston in it, in preparation for future plans, it was a bolt-on car that would go a-to-b every time without breaking and consistently run 8.7-8.9. Was the factory watching? Has the factory been watching all of the aftermarket? It certainly feels like it.

The blue car was roughly 100 lbs lighter than the Demon 170 but that’s about where the dissimilarities end. It had a 3.09 gear, a 29.5 tall tire, and it made right at 22psi on a 2.64/ati/ported blower combo. All nearly identical specs to the demon 170. The similarities between the two cars, the more I think about it, are staggering and I think in a lot of ways that is what makes the 170 great. That was my favorite iteration of that car, and I often regret changing it from that point. It would go down the track every time, it never broke, it was drama-free, and it was just plain fun to race. Now imagine all of that with a factory warranty.

The one drawback we’re seeing already with the 170’s is the launch. They leave HARD. They have to, to run the number on a street-safe tune-up and at the weight they are. They need a sub 1.25 60 to click off an 8.99. Having done some tuning on one, it’s difficult to imagine we are going to make significant strides in ET, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t improvements to be made. The launch is breaking drive shafts already, and they are extremely difficult to get to launch consistently. All issues easily addressed when you’ve done this exact same thing before. Leaning into what we’ve done in the past that worked can help us to improve upon these cars and get them to be more fun to drive as well as more consistent at the track, which matters if you want to do more than just chase ET and actually win some races.

Curt Dusterhoff

Brett Smiths’ Go Mango Marvel:

Track-Ready Power Unleashed in his 2018 Challenger Hellcat

Brett Smith’s Journey to Speed: From Scat Pack to Hellcat

From his earliest memories, Brett Smith’s fascination with cars and the pursuit of speed has been a defining aspect of his passion. In 2015, he acquired a 2015 Scat Pack Charger, a car that quickly became a source of absolute love. Regular trips to the drag strip with his Dad and close friends, Simon and Al, who all happened to own Hellcats, fueled Brett’s desire for the iconic muscle car.

As the desire for a Hellcat intensified, life threw an unexpected curveball. News of expecting another baby prompted Brett and his wife to reassess their vehicle choices. The Scat, serving as Brett’s daily driver, was no longer suitable for their expanding family. A spontaneous decision at the dealer, where he was supposed to be purchasing a family car, resulted in Brett filling out an order sheet for a 2018 Hellcat Challenger. It’s safe to say Brett’s wife wasn’t initially thrilled with his decision making.

During the waiting period for his Challenger to be built, Simon became Brett’s automotive mentor, offering daily “to-do” lists that often began with a resolute directive: “don’t mess around, just call Curt and have him send you what you need.” Taking Simon’s advice to heart, a month before taking delivery of his Hellcat, Brett engaged Curt at Dusterhoff Racing. The shopping list included a Fore double fuel pump system, injectors, a 2.72 upper pulley, ATI lower pulley, and FI chiller spacers. Remarkably, the parts arrived before the car itself.

With approximately 600 miles under its belt and a few exhilarating passes down the strip, Brett’s Hellcat underwent a transformation in his one-car garage. The new components, carefully selected with Curt’s expertise, were seamlessly integrated. Curt’s guidance ensured that Brett’s Hellcat was primed and ready for track action that very weekend. The initiation into the world of track racing occurred in 2019, with Brett clocking an impressive 9.71 @141 MPH.

Following the success of the initial setup, Brett reached out to Curt at Dusterhoff Racing to embark on a new chapter of enhancements. Collaborating closely, they meticulously spec’d out the details of the new setup, putting together a comprehensive plan for the build. From selecting performance components to fine-tuning every detail, the partnership with Dusterhoff Racing marked a pivotal moment in Brett’s journey.

Mods That Transform:


  • Gen 6 3.8L Whipple
  • ATI 10% Lower Balancer
  • CP Carrillo Rods
  • Ross Pistons 11.1:1
  • Gen3 Performance Head/Main Studs
  • ThiTek heads
  • Fore triple pump return style system
  • FIC 1440 CC Injectors
  • AJ’s Engine Diaper kit
  • Mighty mouse crankcase breather
  • BMR motor mounts
  • 2% crank over balance – for added power.


  • Stock Trans with a custom tune.


  • Dusterhoff Demon springs
  • Dusterhoff 15in rear conversion with AAD rear rms
  • BMR Lock Out rear cradle
  • Stock 2.62 rear gear
  • Stock Axles
  • TBA Diff Brace
  • DSS one Piece Shaft


  • 15’ Weld S71 Beadlock with a 275/60/15 Mickey Thompson Radial Pro.
  • Alumastars for the front with Stock front brakes.


  • 8.50 NHRA Certified Cage built by JP at JP race cars
  • Includes chute/window net

Gearing Up for the 8-Second Milestone: Sick Week 2024

Subsequent revisions and favorable weather conditions led to a remarkable 9.21@150. A friendly competition brewed with Brett’s buddy Simon, who was pushing his red eye to its limits. Both of them had their sights set on breaking into the coveted 8-second range. A determined call to Curt solidified a strategic game plan.

Remarkably, with no trailer in tow, Brett’s first set-up endured a whopping 4,400 miles—commuting during the week and racing on the weekends. Despite the power surge from over 100 passes, Brett’s Hellcat retained its street-friendly demeanor. As Sick Week 2024 approaches, Brett stands at the precipice of his inaugural track run with the new setup.

The prospect of achieving the long-awaited 8-second milestone is undeniably thrilling. However, amidst the excitement, a tinge of melancholy sets in, knowing that his friend Simon won’t be there to share in the celebration or competition. Unfortunately, Simon, a staple in the Gen 3 Hemi community, passed away before he could see Brett achieve his goal. His journey to the elusive 8.xx is poised on the edge of accomplishment and reflection.

Shop Talk:

Testing and Triumph’s at Bradenton Motorsports Park

The team finally descended upon Bradenton Motorsports Park in Bradenton, Florida, for a week of rigorous testing. Despite early battles with rain and traction issues, the crew’s persistence paid off as we seized the opportunity to put the Demon 170 and Brian Moore’s 17 Charger Hellcat to the test.

The Demon 170 presented a unique challenge, requiring the team to invest time in unlocking consistent launch power. After overcoming initial hurdles, the Demon delivered five impressive 8-second passes on Saturday. The pinnacle was reached with a remarkable 8.92 at 152 mph, showcasing the team’s mastery over launch intricacies, evident in the Demon’s 1.27 60-foot time.

Brian Moore’s 17 Charger Hellcat faced similar hurdles, dealing with the complexities of managing power and weight on an IRS car equipped with a 275 tire. With strategic coilover adjustments and tuning tweaks, the team successfully navigated these challenges. Slowly reintroducing power into the equation, Brian’s Hellcat triumphed with a best run of 8.22 at an impressive 165 mph, all achieved in nearly 2000 DA.

However, aspirations to break into the 8.0 or even 7.9x territory on Saturday were met with mechanical challenges. While these hurdles prevented the desired attempt, they serve as a testament to the unpredictable nature of high-performance racing. Undeterred, the team remains resolute in their pursuit, ready to address and fix the issues to get Brian’s car into that elusive 7.9x territory.

As we reflect on the week’s testing and triumphs, our commitment to addressing mechanical challenges and fine-tuning setups remains unwavering. The quest for improved ET continues, and with each obstacle faced, the team not only grows more resilient and determined, but also gains more knowledge on how to best mitigate some of the most common issues that will afflict all of our customers. Stay tuned as they gear up to conquer future challenges and push the boundaries of speed and performance.