Don Emry's (done) 2005 Dodge Magnum RT AWD

Learn more about the Dodge Magnum at

My Modifications

Mods for Performance - Intake, Engine and Exhaust

Exterior - Grill, Chin Spoiler, Splash Guards and Bumper Pad

Interior - Auto Headlight Switch, Padded Armrests, Console Cover

Toy Magnums

Drag Racing the Magnum

Other Interesting pictures

Test of air intake temperatures

Side View

Side View

Front 3/4 view

Front 3/4 view

Rear 3/4 View

Front 3/4 View

Rear View

Rear View

Front View

New Front View with Mopar Chrome Grill

Front View

Old Front View

Brilliant Black

Brilliant Black Metal Flake

Liftgate Open

Lift gate open

AWD Standard Wheel

AWD Standard Wheel

Under the hood

Under the hood,when it was stock


Why yes! It has a Hemi!! Still does, but this was stock.


Roof Rack and Sunroof. Roof Rack may go (gone now)


Roof Rack is gone!

Modifications to my 2005 Dodge Magnum RT AWD


RSide view Tips

6.1 Coil Packs and Valve Covers

RSide view Tips

BT Coil Pack Cover

RSide view Tips

BT Coil Pack Cover

Intake Manifold

Painted Intake Manifold and Catch Can

LMI Intake


Throttle Body

Ported Throttle Body.

RSide view Tips

FRI Heads with JBA headers.

Not shown:

FRI Sidewinder Cam

JBA High Flow cats

Enhanced Transmssion upgrade

Enhanced Torque Convertor upgrade

RSide view Tips

Switch Pod with Air/Fuel Gauge, MDS Indicator, Fan Override Switch, Shift Light,ESP Disable Switch and Ultra Gauge.

RSide view Tips

Mopar/Borla Exhaust tips from the side

Rear Exhaust

Mopar/Borla Exhaust tips from the rear


Mopar/Borla Resonators


Mopar/Borla mufflers


Mopar/Borla connection to the convertors


Yes, it's a Mopar part



Front Splash

Chrome Grille From Mopar

Front Splash

Mopar Chin Spoiler, painted to match

Front Splash

Mopar Front Splash Guard, painted to match

Rear Splash

Mopar Rear Splash Guard, painted to match


Mopar Bumper Pad



Automatic Headlight Switch from the 300C


Front Armrest Pad (


Rear Armrest Pad (


Leather Console Cover (


Toy Magnums

Over the years, I have accumulated all of the various sizes of toy Magnums that have appeared on the market. Fortunately, all of those sizes came in Black to match my car.

They came in 1/72, 1/64, 1/43, 1/32, 1/24, 1/18, 1/16, 1/10 and 1/6. The three largest sizes are all Radio Controlled.

My pile of toy Magnums

Drag Racing the Magnum

My first try on the drag strip occured in May of 2006 at the Napierville, Quebec track. I ran again later that year in Reynolds, Ga. These runs occured before I had added the performance modifications to the Magnum in May of 2007. I did a little bit of running in 2007, 2008 and 2009. However, at that time, I was focused on getting the best ET's and entered the bracket races just because I was there. I did have some successes though in the bracket races.

In the spring of 2010, I decided that I would not try to make the Magnum faster. Instead, I would concentrate on bracket racing. That concentration paid off with a lot of trophies in 2010 and continues today.

To date, I have raced the Magnum on 24 different tracks around the country. With over 4,600 passes on those dragstrips, the Magnum has proven to be a solid performer.

Atco, NJ


Reynolds, GA


Bristol, TN


Salem, OH


Music City, Nashville, TN


Virginia Motorsports Park


Atlanta Motorsports Park


Middle Georgia Raceway, Byron GA.


Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, PA


LX & Beyond - 2008


LX & Beyond - 2010


Tennessee State Champion


Southern Super Heavyweight Shootout - Atlanta


One of many at Music City


Shindig Car Show


Partial Trophy collection



I have raced on these dragstrips

1. Napierville Dragway, Napierville, Quebec, Canada
2. St. Thomas Raceway Park, Sparta, Ontario, Canada
3. Beech Bend Raceway, Bowling Green, KY
4. Silver Dollar Raceway, Reynolds, GA
5. Atlanta Dragway, Commerce, GA
6. Music City Raceway, Goodletsville, TN
7. Clarksville Speedway, Clarksville, TN
8. Knoxville Dragstrip, Maynardville, TN
9. Bristol Dragway, Bristol, TN
10. Memphis International Raceway, Millington, TN
11. US 43 Dragway, Ethridge, TN
12. I-40 Dragway, Crossville, TN
13. Middle Tennessee Dragway, Buffalo Valley, TN
14. National Trail Raceway, Hebron, OH
15. Quaker City Drag Strip, Salem, OH
16. Tri-State Dragway, Hamilton, OH
17. Shadyside Dragway, Shelby NC
18. Virginia Motorsports Park, Petersburg, VA
19. Atco Dragway, Atco, NJ
20. Sacramento Raceway, Sacramento, CA
21. Alabama International Dragway, Steele, AL
22. Lucas Oil Raceway, Clermont, IN
23. Toronto Motorsports Park, Cayuga, Ontario, Canada
24. Rockingham Dragway, Rockingham, NC
25. Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, PA

Best Time Slips


5000 Runs on the Drag Strip



Thoughts on Bracket Racing


During the winter of 2009, I was pondering what I wanted to do with my Magnum for the coming year. Since I had lost the ET lead for our class, resuming that battle would require some expensive parts and risk breakage. So, I decided to concentrate on bracket racing and forego attempting to lower my ET's any further. In addition, I can run in the hot summer weather and still have some fun because everyone else is running slow also.

That decision has provided some decent success in bracket racing since then. I only won brackets twice in 2009, but I have become a consistent winner since. Based on the positive feedback I have received, I want share my thoughts on winning with a Magnum, Charger, 300C or Challenger. Of course, many of these tips work just as well for many other brands.

I am assuming that the reader is familiar with the principles of bracket racing, so I am focusing on strategies and techniques that increase your chances of winning. Now, I won't claim to be the final authority so you may offer your suggestions and we can all win more.


Keys to winning


1.     You will win or lose at the tree

2.     Consistency, not speed, wins

3.     You won't lose with a fast dial in

4.     Luck plays a part


The Staging Lanes

The race really starts in the staging lanes. To develop consistency, you must develop consistent habits in the staging lanes. The biggest hobgoblin we LX'rs must contend with is heat. Therefore, you must strive to reach the head of the staging lane at a consistent temperature.

Coolant temperature is part of the equation, but not the whole story. You should run a low temp thermostat, 180 or 170 is fine, and you need to run both of your fans to get that temperature down between runs. I use the original “Jim Turner” mod that allows me to run both fans at any time the motor is running and with the motor off, if I choose to do so. There are other fan mods that will work as well, but I would certainly recommend one with a control switch and that allows both fans to run.

The next issue is the general underhood temperature. The hotter the engine compartment, the slower your run, but by how much? Don't guess, just get the temperature under the hood down. When I was running a short ram intake, I did the obvious, opened the hood and left it open. I opened my hood as soon as practical after a run and left it open until I was at the head of the staging lane. Yes, I moved the car with the hood open. On the 23 different tracks I have raced, I have never been called on this.

Now that I am using an intake that pulls air from the fender area, I leave the hood closed and keep the fans running as long as I can, at least 15 minutes. When my battery voltage drops to 12 volts on the EVIC, then I open the hood. Just moving the car in the staging lanes charges the battery enough to run for a longer time.

Don't run the engine unless you are moving the car. Idling raises the coolant temperature and the underhood temperature. I leave the EVIC on the screen that shows the coolant temp and the battery voltage. If the voltage is above 12V, the car will always start. Don't worry about the battery. To further minimize moving the car, I always try to be the first car in the line or as least as close to the head of the line as I can. can.

From the Staging Lane to the Tree

Consistency and well formed habits are essential as you get ready to stage. You need a checklist to make sure you have done everything you planned to do. Is ESP off, in the right gear, helmet on, seat belts fastened, windows up, etc. Follow the same sequence every time so that you do not have to think about it. You need to focus on a launch and not these other details.

Here is some good information on burnouts and staging.  Of course, I don't do burnouts (can't), but most of you will need to.

However, keep in mind that the above discussion is geared toward getting the best ET's and not for the most consistent ET's. You want consistency and not a banzai run every pass. I found that my launch RPM's and techniques can either be optimized for ET's or RT's and you will likely find the same for your car also. Experiment during the test runs each time to find that sweet spot.

Even more important than consistent runs is your RT. It is the general consensus that a deep stage gives better RT's than a shallow stage, but keep in mind that the difference is only a few inches. In bracket racing, RT is king. You will win or lose at the line and so will your opponent, perhaps on as much as 75% or more of your runs.

You need to develop a launch technique that gives the best and most consistent RT's. So what is a good RT? In my experience, you won't lose very often with an RT less than .10  and you won't win much with a .20 or higher. Of course those .00x's will almost always win if you don't make any other mistakes. “Red Light and good night” as the saying goes.

Getting that low RT and not the Red Light takes practice, thought, concentration and focus. It ain't easy. This year, I have been the winner on 72 runs and have lost on 31 runs. Eleven times on a Red Light and 10 times for eating a sandwich at the line.

At the Tree

Before staging, I make sure I am aware of the dial in for my opponent. If he is faster, I just ignore him. If he is slower but less than .50, I still ignore him. The really slow guys are trickier and you could be running someone that is 3 or 4 seconds slower.

As I approach the staging lights, I try to forget or ignore everything but the lights. If possible, I prefer to stage last as that gives me less time to think before we go. I bring my RPM's up on the first amber and go on the third. Since I have launched over 1,900 times, my reaction on the third amber is pretty consistent. For me, the RT then becomes more dependent on the actual RPM's at launch. That is the bear! I want to launch at 2100 RPM's every time. I do that mostly by feel, sound and habit.

To help develop the feel, I installed a shift light set at 2100. I don't really watch the shift light so much as just being aware when it is on. The whole technique I think of as “becoming one with the lights”. I want to not think and not concentrate but just keep focused on the lights and let my experience react. It is not easy as my many Red Lights and slow RT's demonstrate, but if I can get in the “zone”, it works.

As I have progressed in learning how to launch with a low RT, I have discovered another variable that affects my RT's. This may not work for you, but for me, the distance of the seat from the firewall makes a difference. There is a "sweet spot" where moving the seat forward slows my RT's and moving back increases red lights. For me, this spot is with my left foot just touching the dead pedal area next to the door. If your reaction times are reasonably consistent, but .100 and greater, trying moving your seat back, not much just a bit. Play with the seat over many runs and find your sweet spot.

Those really slow guys, yeah they can be tough. Often they are beginners and will be slow on the lights and unsure of their dial in's. But there are always some at every track that run to win with a slow car and know how to get it done. So, I try to ignore them also and just use my regular technique. It just requires a lot of focus to wait for my first amber to bring the RPM's up.

Probably this seems a bit complicated and it is until you have done it enough that it does not require thinking about it. However, keep in mind that your opponent has to do the same thing and you really only have be better on that run than he will be, unless you Red Light. But if he Red Lights, you win no matter what you or he does after that. You should still make the run at full tilt just to verify your dial in though.

Dial in's, much ado about not much

Ok, you ran an xx.32, an xx.36, and an xx.40 in your test runs. What should you dial in? First thing to understand is that you are now splitting small, curly hairs, the time differences demonstrated are in HUNDRETHS of a second. The second thing is the objective is not hitting your dial on the nose, the objective is to not break out. If you didn't get your opponent at the lights, you are not likely to make it up at the finish line. So don't break out, leave that dishonor to your opponent.

First question to answer is what was the order?

  1. Ascending order, DA is increasing or the time interval between runs was short and you didn't get cooled down between runs.
  2. Descending order, DA was decreasing or you had a good cool down time.
  3. Mixed, your launch techniques changed or the time intervals varied.

I rarely have seen DA changes of several hundred feet during a session.  A 150 ft change in DA is worth about .01 in time, slower or faster.  By the way, a 15% change in humidity will have the same effect. So as the sun goes down, the DA will most likely decrease and the humidity will increase.

In my experience, the cool down time between runs is really the prime consideration. If you have a cool down of 40 minutes or more between runs, you will likely be at optimal temperature for that day. On the other side, 6 or 7 minutes between runs will likely slow you down in the range of .05 or so, compounding if you continue back to back runs, and decreasing as the cool down time increases.

So you need to compare the cool down interval between practice runs to see the affect on your car on that day. At my home track, I can usually get 6 or 7 test runs without trying hard. However, at some events, you can only get 2 runs, but you usually get a well cooled car between runs.

So how do we play the sample numbers above? First issue, how long until we run again? Look at the last run and the cool down time from the previous run. If you think the cool down time would let you match your best run or you know that you just launched poorly on the slower runs, assume you will do better. If you anticipate or get a much longer cool down than you have had before, your car will run faster so allow for it.

So the magic number is .05 faster than you best run or your last run, which ever is faster. Remember we are playing with hundredths of a second here so don't try to cut it too close, seriously. Option 2 above is most typical so we would go with xx.27.

So you are thinking “I haven't run that fast today”. You haven't run that fast yet, but more importantly, you can't win if you breakout, don't take the chance. Now you are thinking “That 2 or 3 or 5 hundredths might be the difference in the race!”   Not very likely! Remember, the other guy has to dial in and not break out too. He is going to be over by 2 or 3 or 5 or more also or he is going to breakout and you win. 

So the difference in winning is back at the light.  You run 5 hundredths over, he runs 3 or 4 hundredths over his time and the winner will be the guy with the better light. Think about this way. You run a .07 light and he runs a 1.1 light. Will he be 6 hundredths closer on his dial in? Not unless you make a big mistake. In reality, you only have to have a 2 hundredths better light, whether it was a .01 or a 2.24.

So you win and go to the next round. Review your winning run. If you were 4 or 5 hundredths over then you look at how much cool down you will have for the next race. In most cases, you can just leave it alone. However, if the cool down is going to be short, as is common in the last couple of rounds in the bracket, you could raise the dial in by 2 or 3 hundredths. If the cool down is going to be long, you can probably lower it 2 or 3. Don't make big changes, they will bite you.  Remember, the objective is to win the race, not to hit the number.  Let the other guy make the mistakes.

There is one special situation that you will encounter.  You have everything all planned and know you have the right dial in for the situation, you have a good spot in the lanes and you are pumped and ready. Then a Mustang or Camaro oils down the track and it takes an hour to clean the mess up.  Think!  You now have an hour more of cool down time than you expected and your car is going to be faster! Take advantage of that while everyone else is jaw jacking and drinking soda pop. Bump your dial in down by another 5 hundredths.  Smile quietly when your opponent fails to change his.

At the finish line

You feel like you have done everything right and the finish line is coming up. Do you just let it run out or do you back off. Remember, the objective is to win the race. You don't need to set any records and there is little glory in just running the number.

Let it run out if you are trailing, the other guy may be breaking out. If you are leading and the other car is more than a second faster on the dial in, keep the pedal to the medal. If he fly's by you at the finish, maybe he will break out.  It happens a lot.

If the other car is slower or less than a second faster and you are leading by a car length or so, you have him beat. Let out of the gas. Don't take the chance on a breakout. You want to cross the line first, but a foot or 50 feet is still a win.  Think about this way. If the opponent is dialed in near your speed or is slower, he is not going to have a burst of speed in the last 100 feet.  However, those cars that are really faster than you are still accelerating hard right to the finish. Make them break out.

If you backed off, compare your interval times to your other runs. Were you running faster or slower on the interval times.   Slower?  Adjust your dial in. Faster? Aren't you glad you backed off and are now going to the next round?

Another situation you will encounter is the “sand bagger”.  In my experience, these are slow older cars with very skilled drivers. They can hit their brakes and still run just over their number.  Watch the other competitors run and see what they do at the finish line. So how do you beat a “sand bagger”, the same way you beat everybody else, blow him off at the starting line. If your light is better, he can't make up for that at the finish.

Go for it

You can do everything very well and still lose or you can screw up and still win. You are racing another guy that can get lucky or screw up worse than you did. We can't all be the fastest in our class and have a “football”, but all of us can run and win in bracket racing. Try it and get hooked. If you have any suggestions or questions post away. We can all learn how to be more consistent winners.


Testing the intake air temperature

The Magnum comes with a CAI (Cold Air Induction) system. I was curious as to how well it works so I did some testing with a thermometer. The following pictures show the results. The probe was placed in the "elbow" of the intake, in the front of the engine. The stock intake system was used and the stock air filter was left in place.The interpretation of this data is up to the observer.


The thermometer used for the test.



Ready to begin the test.



Three miles at about 45 MPH



Lowest recorded temp.


9 miles

9 miles in and fully warmed up.



Heat beginning to build in traffic.



After 10 miles on the highway at 70mph



Bump it up to 80


90 mph

Let's try 90 mph



Stopped to begin idle test



Stopped at idle for about five minutes.


high point

Going again, heat has really built up.


After 9 miles

After 9 miles at 30 to 40. Warmed up outside too.


Just finished 70

Just after a 6 mile run at 70 mph.



Back in stop and go traffic. 54 miles of testing.


Contact Me

for more information

Or call for Don Emry at (615) 541-0195