There was once a car so powerful and so aggressive that the officials determined it would be an unfair advantage on the NASCAR track. This car to many, was more than a car. In fact, it was a dominant powerhouse on four wheels and designed to own competition through every turn and straightaway at Daytona. It was the Dodge Charger Daytona, and enthusiasts remember those days.
If 1969 was before your time, then you might not know the details behind the NASCAR ban and how the Dodge Charger Daytona became the most loved rebel of its time.
Designed and named expressly for the Daytona 500
Dodge assembled its best and brightest minds when it set out to produce a car that would dominate at the Daytona 500. The Charger Daytona was born, and its namesake reminded the competition that it was coming to do one thing — win Daytona.
The very first race this supercar entered was the Talladega 500, and it owned the track. The Dodge Charger Daytona proved it wasn’t all talk and continued to cross first on race days.
What made the Dodge Charger Daytona such a powerhouse
This beast earned the status of the infamous “aero” cars. It was a two-door model with a sheet metal cowl over the front grille and a 23-inch tall tail to reduce drag. Dodge configured two engines, including 426 HEMI V8 and the 440 Magnum V8.
Handling and braking were already a part of the Charger platform. But for this racing dominant variation, Dodge included a rear stabilizer wing, fender-mounted cooling scoops for braking, and a cap over the rear window.
Breaking records before ultimately getting banned
This monster supercar wasn’t just winning races; it was growing a fan base and breaking records, as well. With each win, Dodge Charger Daytona fans transitioned into full-fledged enthusiasts.
And, at one Talladega race, when the Daytona broke the speed record and clocked 200 miles per hour, the racing officials began to notice, too.
Why officials said, ‘no more’ to the Dodge Charger Daytona
Dodge and Plymouth were both mopping up with the competition. Dodge, with its Charger Daytona and Plymouth with its Superbird, were being hailed as the “aero-warriors” of NASCAR.
The Charger 500 was owning the short-tracks during those dominant 1969 and 1970 years for Dodge. It was all that success that caught the attention of the NASCAR officials, who promptly enforced new guidelines and regulations that essentially banned each of these models from future racing events. The vehicles had proven to just be too good, and too difficult to beat.
A fan-boosting rebellious reputation
Being too good at the game to even play may have impacted the Charger Daytona’s ability to race with NASCAR, but it certainly didn’t stifle the car’s popularity. It became a symbol of rebellion and a hot commodity for car collectors.
Not many were built in ’69, so finding one out there today is a rare and lucrative find. Today, Vin Diesel’s ride in his Fast and Furious Six role, reminds us just how performance-driven this beast really is.
The 2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat is available today, with its Widebody Daytona Edition, if you have the $114,000 to buy one. This anniversary throwback design pays homage to the classic, record-breaking model of 1969.
Dodge continues to push the boundaries, with the Charger model and others. There might be a little ‘coloring outside the lines’ mentality in all of us. Even if you’re not an enthusiast, you can perhaps appreciate the historical relevance of the Dodge Charger Daytona, and its ability to be too good at winning to compete.