After a historic rookie season behind the wheel of Frank Brandao’s 2010 Dodge Stratus, PDRA Pro Nitrous phenom Lizzy Musi plans to put the class on notice next season when she debuts a brand new 2015 Dodge Dart built by Jerry Bickel Race Cars.
Reflecting on the 2014 season, Musi’s accomplishments in Pro Nitrous, which included her breakthrough first win in July at the PDRA US Drags at Virginia Motorsports Park, the second-quickest elapsed time of the year (3.740) and the first pass over 200 MPH in the eighth-mile by a woman in doorslammer drag racing history, it would be easy to overlook the fact that she was competing in a five-year-old car that wasn’t even designed for Pro Nitrous racing.
“The Dodge Stratus she drove last year was built in 2009 and it’s a great car, as all Jerry Bickel cars are, and was the first car to win an NHRA Pro Mod race with EFI, but it was designed to run NHRA-legal Pro Mod. It was designed to run quarter-mile, with a clutch, at NHRA-legal weight,” said Pat Musi, Lizzy’s father, engine builder, and crew chief. “We spent last winter converting it over to run eighth-mile in Pro Nitrous, putting a new 903 EFI engine, torque converter, and everything else in it. You can’t help but be impressed with the way it performed, and we’re looking forward to the new car being even better.”
Encouraged by Lizzy’s success, car owner and longtime Mopar aficionado Frank Brandao gave the green light for Jerry Bickel Race Cars to begin construction of the 2015 Dodge Dart, which will be a one-of-a-kind piece in Pro Nitrous competition.
“The body is the same one as the current Dart Pro Stock cars, but of course it’s stretched to accommodate the 110-inch wheelbase and larger tires, and those Pro Stock cars don’t have a new 942 cubic inch EFI nitrous engine under the hood and zoomie headers out the side!” Lizzy Musi said. “I am so thrilled about this new car. It’s going to be lighter and more aerodynamic, and will be built around our setup from the start. It’s going to look awesome, too.”
That look will be provided by world-renowned painter Jeff Hoskins and his team. An artist in her own right, Musi collaborated with noted drag racing graphic artists Rod Burke and Mike Carpenter on the car’s paint scheme, with Burke delivering an ultra-detailed rendering of the Dart. Burke also provided a custom illustration of King Kong to adorn the side of “King Kong 6”, which is a continuation of the naming scheme for Brandao’s series of Mopar doorslammers.
“Pro Nitrous is such a competitive class; if you’re not moving forward you’re falling behind in this class,” Lizzy Musi said. “Even though we had a great year, we had to build this new car and go with an even bigger and better Musi engine to stay where we want to be, which is at the top of the class.
“2015 is going to be an amazing year, and I couldn’t do any of it without the support of Frank Brandao, Shaikh Mohammad and Drag965, Lucas Oil, Edelbrock, and my family and crew,” Musi concluded.
Rendering by Rod Burke / BurkeDesigns