Oakland, Maryland, United States
NASCAR's Nationwide Series may have switched (in appearance anyway) to muscle cars, but American racing fans know that if they want to see real muscle cars on the street circuits, the only place to look is Trans Am. The all-American racing series is packed with Mustangs, Camaros and even Corvettes. The one thing it's been missing is the Dodge Challenger, but now SRT Motorsports has announced it's bringing its muscle car back where it belongs.
Rather than waiting until next year, the Miller Racing team is switching mid-season to the new Dodge Challenger SRT Trans Am racer you see here, just in time for this weekend's race at Mid-Ohio. And not just that - it's lined up a compelling pair of drivers to pilot it, as well.
The No. 11 car will be driven by Trans Am legend Tommy Kendall, a four-time series champion who's been off the grid since 2004. Backing him up in the No. 1 Challenger will be none other than Cameron Lawrence, the driver who has won five out of six races in the Chevy Camaro so far this season, losing out only once to American racing scion Adam Andretti.
Chrysler has announced that it is recalling over 25,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs from several markets over concerns about brake feel under hard braking. The affected models are from the 2012 and 2013 model years, although the actual dates of production aren't available. 18,700 are in the US, while 825 are in Canada, 530 are in Mexico and a further 5,200 outside of North America.
According to a statement, Chrysler was informed of the issue by a component supplier for the Ready Alert Braking system, which primes the brakes in anticipation of an emergency stop. A component in the system was restricting the flow of brake fluid too much.
As Chrysler is quick to point out, the way the brakes functioned was in compliance with regulations and there are no reported cases of drivers losing braking power. Instead, the issue rests with what Chrysler calls a pedal feel that "was not consistent with customer expectations." So it would seem Chrysler is being proactive and fixing a problem not because there's a legal issue at work, but simply because it doesn't feel the way the manufacturer wants it to. Well done.
Not too long ago, Chevrolet got itself into some trouble by throwing the SS badge on just about everything it produced, so I've always been a little hesitant about the seemingly excessive use of the R/T nameplate on Dodge vehicles. For the 2013 model year, every model in Dodge's lineup has an R/T trim level from Dart all the way up to the Durango. Although the R/T name used to signified models made for road and track, I doubt anyone would be delusional enough to assume the Durango - and some of the other models wearing this badge - are suited for any sort of track duty.
Still, when this 2013 Dodge Durango R/T rolled up for me to drive for the week, I couldn't help but take in its big, mean and imposing stance. Sure, if I had my choice of buying any of the Dodge R/T products, the Charger and Challenger would be my top picks for sure, but it's easy to say that the Durango would be a close third - far above the R/T versions of the Avenger, Journey and Grand Caravan.