9 Jul
Our correspondent takes on America's most notorious rally in Dodge's most notorious piece of American Muscle

One of our editors, Nicolas Stecher, ran the Bullrun Rally for AskMen last week in Dodge’s greatest muscle car, the Challenger SRT8 392. This is his story.

The madness started somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The 2012 Bullrun Live Rally had just left a lunch pit stop at Pioneer Meadows Golf Course, nestled high in the evergreens of Pioneer, CA, when Highway 88 was hit with an explosion of high-performance combustion that hadn’t been seen in the area since entrepreneur/adventurer Steve Fossett crashed his Bellanca Super Decathlon airplane into these mountains in 2007.

Upon leaving the Meadows, the clip of high-end exotic cars and modified street racers soared into the two-lane mountain pass and immediately floored their collective throttles, beginning a lunatic time warp across the asphalt roller coaster of dips and climbs that carve across this most beautiful region of America. And there I was, clutching the thick steering wheel of a 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392 — yes, the “Big Boy,” as Wiz Khalifa calls it in his “Black and Yellow” video. Only this SRT8 wasn’t black and yellow but rather the signature HEMI orange made famous by these certain Dukes over in Hazzard County.

My photographer Tom Fowlks and I had spent the last leg of the Bullrun driving utterly alone from San Francisco to Pioneer, somehow losing the entire pack of Bullrun cars, condemning us to six hours of solo cruising through rural townships. Sure the drive was gorgeous and the scenery unforgettable, but neither Tom nor I had signed up for scenic drives. We wanted action, and now we had more than we could handle.

The most salient element to driving the SRT8 is, quite simply, its namesake 392 cubic-inch engine. The transcendent 6.4L V8’s 470 lb-ft of torque is enough to send your neurons into an explosive fit. And its sound… Well, when you hear its full herd of horses (also 470, coincidentally) galloping through the Alcantara-wrapped interior of your Challenger, there’s not another place on Earth you’d rather be. The sound is deep, low and throaty. And although its melodious tones are smile-inducing, the pull of its full power when the throttle is depressed and you’re quick-shifting through its six-speed manual gearbox will have you seeing stars.

Visit AskMen to read “Running With the Bulls: Racing the Bullrun Rally In the Dodge Challenger SRT8 392” in its completeness…

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