850-Horsepower Dodge Challenger Wins Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge

By Tom Suddard
May 19, 2019 | #FastFriday, Ultimate Track Car Challenge

VIRGINIA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAYALTONVA. (May 19, 2019)—They came, they saw, they conquered. 54 of the country’s fastest track cars descended upon Virginia International Raceway May 17-18 for the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge at HyperFest Presented by Grassroots Motorsports. And after a full first day of fierce NASA Time Trials competition, a winner was crowned: Adam Romito and his wild, tube-framed Dodge Challenger posted a fast lap of 1:51.537 on VIR's full course, nearly two seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Dan Raver and his Superlite SL-C. 

This year’s UTCC field posted a median lap time barely over 2 minutes–nearly 15 seconds faster than the Spec Miata lap record at VIR. Even one of the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge's slowest entries–a Honda Odyssey minivan campaigned by Team Honda Manufacturing Alabama–was faster than most of the other cars seen on track during the massive HyperFest event weekend. You can see the official results here.

The UTCC action didn’t end Friday. For the first time ever, the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge Knockout Finals attacked the track during Saturday's peak spectator hours. Run under a modified NASA Time Trials rule set, the Knockout Finals pitted the 20 fastest cars from the UTCC–plus three staff picks–against each other in an all-out contest of speed. After each lap, the three slowest cars were black flagged and brought into pit lane. 

After a fierce session featuring a number of unexpected eliminations, the final lap featured five of the fastest track cars on the planet. However, only one could win: Reg Williams beat the rest of the Knockout Finals field in his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, running a final lap time of 1:56.2 despite the pressure of continuous eliminations–something not normally found in time trial competition. The Knockout Finals had spectators at the fences, eagerly awaiting the next lap of competition as an enthusiastic announcer gave turn-by-turn commentary from around the track. When Dan Raver’s Superlite SL-C, one of the top qualifiers, spun out, a gasp was heard. 

The Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge is presented by Tire Rack and Grassroots Motorsports in association with KoniLucas Oil ProductsWilwood Disc BrakesFCP Euro, and ChillOut Systems. NASA Mid Atlantic manages the on-track action. Trophies come from SPA TechniqueBimmerWorldMach V Motorsports, and AMT Motorsport.

Full coverage of the event and every one of its participants will be published in the October issue of Grassroots Motorsports magazine. You can subscribe right here.

About Grassroots Motorsports:

Built for the true sports car enthusiast, Grassroots Motorsports has one mission: Be your personal guide to the sports car world. 

Whether its online, in print, or in person, the car nerds at Grassroots Motorsports take you behind the scenes and show you how to make your car better. Along the way, they'll give you a taste of everything else this hobby has to offer, from 1000-horsepower track monsters to cool street cars built in driveways. They also maintain a collection of staff-built project cars, because hands-on technical articles aren't typed behind a desk: They're scribbled down in the garage. 

About the Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge:

The Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge, Grassroots Motorsports' annual no-holds-barred track competition, simply seeks the fastest machines on four wheels. The rules are brief: Car and driver must just pass a NASA safety inspection. Period. Run any tire and any suspension type, add seven turbos plus two superchargers, and re-engineer the chassis to your heart’s content. Concentrate on speed, not excuses. The Tire Rack Ultimate Track Car Challenge Presented by Grassroots Motorsports comes to Virginia International Raceway each May, happening in the center of NASA’s HyperFest weekend.

Who’s welcome? Everyone, pretty much. New, old, factory-bought and home-built. Wings are cool. So are box flares, giant intercoolers and sequential shifters. This is also a great chance for shops to show off their work–or settle a grudge with another outfit. Awards go deep into the field, too, meaning lots of hardware to hand out. Pro cars are invited, too. What's faster: an IMSA car or a Trans Am titan? Let's find out. Just want to watch? No problem. HyperFest puts the spectator first, offering ride-alongs, hands-on activities and more. See the cars up close and talk to the people behind them.  

About HyperFest

HyperFest, run by NASA Mid Atlantic, is known as an "Automotive Amusement Park," and serves as the destination for those who want to be immersed in one of the country's premier automotive lifestyle events. With activities taking place on asphalt, dirt, mud, grass and air, car lovers from all disciplines find their passion at HyperFest. From camping with friends and family, riding with world-class professional drifters, or enjoying music from a variety of artists, HyperFest offers numerous activities to enjoy on and off the track. HyperFest presented by Grassroots Motorsports is the largest automotive event on the East Coast, and 2019 marked the 18th anniversary of the event.

About NASA:

The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) was formed in 1991 to deliver high-quality motorsports events to enthusiasts at major racing venues throughout the nation. NASA has created programs that allow owners of both race cars and high-performance, street-driven vehicles to enjoy their machines’ full capabilities in a safe and controlled environment.

About Virginia International Raceway:

Virginia International Raceway is hidden away in the hills of Alton, Virginia, straddling the border of Virginia and North Carolina. Since its reopening in 1998, VIR has grown to be one of the finest tracks in the nation. The beautiful 17-turn, 3.27-mile course offers complicated curves and elevation changes for the ultimate driving experience.


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