UPDATED – Highway to Hell(cat): Owner wrecks 707-hp Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat one hour after buying it

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(Photo courtesy Facebook via MotorAuthority.com)

UPDATE 3 (Dec. 24): We refrained from identifying the driver of the first Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat to be wrecked — mainly because we didn’t want to embarrass him. Honestly, we really do feel bad for him and what happened. But the Colorado State Patrol recently released a report on the Dec. 19 mishap that totaled the $60,000 hot rod, including identifying the driver, so we felt obligated, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, to tell “the rest of the story.” Here it is:

Colorado State Patrol statement: “The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat driver, 34-year-old Lance Utley of Winter Park, CO, was traveling northbound on Riverdale Rd. The driver lost control to the right, then overcorrected and lost control to the left, and struck a tree head on. There were two additional occupants in the vehicle. The driver was charged with careless driving. Drugs or alcohol were not involved. There was no mention of excessive speeding. All three occupants were unhurt.”

To date, Utley has not commented to the media about his mishap. Really, Lance, we do feel bad for you.

UPDATE 2 (Dec. 22): According to TFLCar.com, the crash occurred in Brighton, Colorado, a town of about 35,000, near the South Platte River in Adams County, just northeast of Denver.

When MotorSportsTalk contacted the Brighton Police late Sunday afternoon, they had no details of the wreck.

The road, according to the TFLCar.com report, is a twisting and winding two-lane road in a semi-rural area that includes crests and dips. The speed limit is posted 40 mph. Police are investigating, but the weather and road conditions were reportedly clear at the time and it’s not known if speed was a factor or not.

Here’s part of TFLCar.com’s report: “The skid marks at the scene of the accident show that the driver was traveling north. As the car crested the blind hill, the road drops down to the right, and the Hellcat may have been in a slight drift. The road is very narrow, but in good condition, well marked, and with a posted 40 MPH speed limit sign. The car started to drift toward the right ditch after the speed limit sign. The driver tried to correct, but the resulting over-correction sent the car across the lane and into a large cottonwood (tree). Thankfully, there was no oncoming traffic at this moment.”

To add insult to injury, the report claims the wrecked car was the FIRST such Challenger SRT Hellcat sold in Colorado. There has been no identification of who was driving the vehicle.

Click here for the story from TFLCar.com, including additional photos of the scene and the wrecked car.

UPDATE 1 (Dec. 22):  According to AutoEvolution.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association just released a report this past week on the crash-worthiness of the base model version of the Challenger (about $40,000 cheaper than the Hellcat, but built on the same platform). The result: a 4-star, top-of-the-line safety rating. We bet the Hellcat owner in question is sure glad about that now.

INITIAL STORY FOLLOWS:

You knew it was bound to happen, sooner or later.

We just didn’t think it would be THAT soon.

When Dodge announced the $60,000 Challenger SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat earlier this year – with 707 horsepower motors that make them the most powerful stock muscle cars on the streets of America today – it was almost inevitable what might happen when someone would push one to … and past … its limits.

Unfortunately, a motorist in Colorado found that lesson out the hard way, according to a great story on MotorAuthority.com.

The Challenger, which has a reported top speed of 204 mph, has only been in dealer showrooms for about a month.

This is where the story gets, as Arte Johnson used to say on the 1960s TV show “Laugh In,” “Veerrrryyyy interesting.”

So, apparently an unnamed individual walks into a dealer’s showroom, signs on the dotted line and drives off with a brand new, bright neon lime green Challenger Hellcat.

The proud new owner’s beautiful car lasted about an hour, according to MotorAuthority’s Viknesh Vijayenthiran, whose work we always enjoy.

Check out Viknesh’s original story at MotorAuthority.com.

Details about the identity of the owner or where exactly the crash occurred in the Mile-High state are sketchy.

But the above picture tells 1,000 words.

No, make that 10,000 words — and half of those are probably the owner cussing himself out.

From what MotorAuthority.com surmised, the driver lost control, “skidded off the road near a bend and crashed head-on into a tree.”

Thankfully, the report said, no one was seriously injured.

(Well, at least that proves how crash-worthy the new Hellcats are, right?)

source:  Facebook/Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
What a 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat looks like in its non-crashed form.

The same can’t be said about the car, which is apparently a total loss. Like Humpty Dumpty, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men – and probably the best mechanics and body shops in the biz – can’t put Humpty Hellcat back together again.

Considering a Hellcat has just about 40 less horsepower than a 2015 Sprint Cup ride (under NASCAR’s new horsepower reduction rules), it goes without saying that it’s powerful.

In fact, you need TWO keys to operate a Hellcat, either the Challenger or Charger version.

The first key is to allow you to use the first 500 horsepower in the motor.

The second key activates all 707 horses.

MotorAuthority.com said of the Hellcat’s power:

“We’ve driven the new Challenger SRT Hellcat and found that it delivers performance that will leave even those used to powerful cars awestruck, so this sad sight serves as an important reminder for buyers of such cars to always factor in their own skills and consider whether the cost of a performance driving course should be included in their price estimations.”

We couldn’t have said it better.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Hunter and Jett Lawrence walk a delicate balance between winning races and favoring the fans

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ANAHEIM, California – Hunter and Jett Lawrence are two of the most popular riders on the Monster Energy Supercross circuit, with fan bases that established and grew immediately when they came to America to ride for HRC Honda. Connecting with those fans came naturally for the charming Australian brothers, but it has not come without cost.

“It’s cool they’re there and it’s one of the things we try to do is give the fan that interaction,” Hunter told NBC Sports during Supercross Media Sessions ahead of the 2023 season. “It’s why we do ride days, meet-and-greets, press conferences  – all that stuff, because it’s exciting for them. We are trying to bridge the gap so they get personal interaction. Because that’s all they’re after. It’s all about getting that fan to think, ‘I know that guy. I didn’t meet him, but I get him. I get his humor.’ ”

There is no artifice in either brother. Their fan appeal is directly attributable to who they are at their core. And it’s that very genuineness that has throngs of fans standing outside their hauler, waiting for just a moment of their time.

“It’s about being yourself – talking to people,” Hunter said. “It’s not like I turn it on or turn it off; it’s just about being yourself. This is who we are, this is who you get and this is how it will be. You can’t portray something you’re not. If you keep saying you’re an orange, but apples keep popping out, it’s only a matter of time [until they figure it out].”

The key word is ‘throngs’, however. One person wanting just a few moments of time is incidental. Dozens are an entirely different matter.

“It’s tough in Supercross because it’s such a long day,” Hunter said. “The recovery side of it’s tough to do everything. We get stuck outside the grid; we can’t be there for like 10 minutes. We’re stuck there for like an hour. It gets overwhelming at times.

“You feel bad because you want to sign everything, but you’re still here for a job. Every race day is like that. We do the best we can, but there are so many people who wait out front. They’re screaming for you. Even when we’re coming off the sessions, they’re already yelling before you put your bike on the stands. You don’t even get time to take you helmet off.”

It can be a double-edged sword. Personality is only one part of the equation. A much bigger part of the brothers’ fan appeal comes because of their success. Hunter finished second in the last two Supercross 250 West title battles and third in the past two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championships.

Jett won the last three titles he competed for, including last year’s 250 East Supercross Championship and the last two Motocross contests.

“I think they expect me to have nothing else to do on a Saturday and that I have unlimited energy,” Jett said. “But, I’m trying to recover for the next race.”

It’s a matter of timing. Jett has gained a reputation last year for handing out hundreds of donuts before the races during Red Bull fan appreciation sessions. And after the race, once the business at hand has been settled, Jett is equally available to the fans.

“After the race it’s fine; I’ll stay behind.” Jett said. “My job is done on the racing side of things, but until that last moto is done, my main thing is dirt bikes. The fans come along with it. The fans are part of the job, but main job at hand is the racing side of things. After the race, I’ll stay there for an hour or so. It’s a lot calmer.”