1976 Dodge Dart Sport E-Gas
Competition #3037

With frustrations growing in the Flack/Comstock camp, around NHRA constantly forcing the RAMCHARGERS Duster in more difficult classes, due to it's dominance, Ted and Howard began to think of other options. Across town, Tom Cunningham, employed at Direct Connection, and part of the Mancini Racing Team was also ready to make a change.

Tom had picked up a 1971 Dodge Demon former Pro Stock car and converted it to run as a Gasser. In an effort to keep the car in the updated look, Tom secured all the front and rear body components to convert the Demon to 1976 Dart Sport styling. The car was painted in their iconic yellow and orange colors and raced under the Mancini banner until a deal was struck between Cunningham & Franks and Flack & Comstock to trade cars. The Duster went to Mancini and was painted yellow and orange, and the Demon in Dart clothing was sent to Paul Hatton to repeat his magic, just like he did on the Duster before it.

The new face of the RAMCHARGERS would be their first ever entry into the E-Gas class of racing. With it would be a whole new line of rules and options. No longer constricted by the air-tight rules of Super Stock, the RAMCHARGERS team had some leniency to build a car with some of the latest and greatest options in the hot rod world. With Ted being part of Chrysler's performance and racing departments, he was not only involved in the development of some new, ground-breaking performance parts, but he was also able to get his hands on them, test them, and then make adjustments with real-world racing data. Kind of exactly like the original RAMCHARGERS members did, some 15-20 years previous.

One of the products Flack was helping develop, along with Butch Elkins of Diamond Racing, was the W2 Cylinder Head for the Small Block engines. W2 heads were first used in the Trans Am in the early 70's and later in NASCAR. The W2 cylinder heads would make their mark as the premier cylinder head option for small block Mopar engines, for the next 30+ years. And that's exactly what sat on top of the engine that powered the new Dart gasser. The engine would also be a bit of a trick piece as well. Flack and Comstock used a multitude of Crank/Rod variations with different stroke lengths. With the most successful in the Dart being 288 cubic inch and 298 cubic inch versions. The 298 version was built by Diamond Racing for Cunningham, when he still had the Dart. Custom camshafts and a Tunnel Ram intake with a pair of Holley Dominator Carbs made for a potent little small block. Especially with Flack shifting the 5-speed manual transmission at an incredible 9500 rpm!!

After witnessing the unfortunate, and heartbreaking crash of Don Carlton at Milan Dragway, Ted upgraded the Dart with additional bars in the Roll Cage, to better hold the seat in place. He also installed the first window net used in NHRA. A special hood was made that extended it all the way to the windshield, as the cowl of the car had been removed to clear the engine, which had been set all the way back as far as it could go. With all that power, huge slicks, tremendous balance and weight transfer, and a very lightweight package, the front end did not want to stay down. Suspension adjustments were constantly made to try to keep it down. Right up to the point of practically locking the front end with almost zero extension on the front shocks. You can see in many photos of the Dart launching, that the front wheels remain tucked up inside the fender wells, and do not fall down like most cars do. This was all in effort to try to keep it on the ground.

As 1978 was nearing its completion, the RAMCHARGERS Team made the journey to the biggest event of the year. The NHRA US Nationals. Flack and the team set out in E-Gas in a field of 15 other very competitive cars. Every one of them a Chevrolet. And each of them laughing at the lone Dodge in the field. And when the tire-smoke cleared and the last win-light came on... it was a RAMCHARGERS WIN! Ted Flack chopped down the field of Chevys in the mighty Dart and secured the Wally for the E/Gas Class at the US Nationals!

The Dart was a great race car and Ted Flack had quite a bit of success driving it. Just that US Nationals Wally alone, is monumental. And with the development of the Small Block engines and W2 head program, Flack was ready to move the RAMCHARGERS Race Team to the next level. Howard and Ted were in the discussion stages of what was to be the successor to the Dart for 1979, probably a Hardy Arrow. Even more important than success at the track, however, the Dart served to develop a host of performance and racing products. Not only for the Flack & Comstock RAMCHARGERS team, but for all performance enthusiasts and racers alike. One of which was a very famous driver who would go on to be known as one of the best of all time.

At the end of the 1978 season, there was news coming out of Chrysler. First, the good news... the Plymouth division was magically able to sway Bob Glidden away from Ford to run a new Plymouth Arrow for 1979 Pro Stock! This was quite exciting, as Glidden was the reigning 1978 Pro Stock Champion. And Chrysler didn't really have a very competitive team in Pro Stock, having not seen a single event win since Ronnie Sox won Gainesville in 1973. More than 5 years without even one event win was simply not acceptable. Glidden was brought in to change that. Then the bad news... Due to a dismal American Economy and depleted car sales, Chrysler was forced to make drastic financial cuts to try to stay afloat as a whole. Amongst those cuts, would be the cancellation of sponsorship to any drag racer not named Bob Glidden.

With that axe coming down, Flack pulled out of racing. Though he did drive an Engineering Test Car for a few years following the 1978 season, it turns out that his US Nationals victory pass would be his last in Drag Racing Competition. Though it seems unfortunate to have such a great driver have his racing career cut short, due to politics, Ted Flack did manage to go out on top - the absolute top, with a win at the US Nat's. Most drivers can only dream of that. Ted continued his career at Chrysler in their racing division with a very notable spot on his resume. Ted Flack was named Manager of the Engine Development team to return Chrysler back into NASCAR for the 2001 season. The 358 cubic inch engine they created sat on the Pole at the very first race it entered at Daytona. They would eventually win NASCAR World Championships in the Truck Series in 2004 and 2005, and also in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2012.

So, when the plug was pulled by Chrysler, the RAMCHARGERS Racing Team was put to an end. Dean Nicopolis continued on racing his Cuda in SS/DA. But the Dart and the Flack/Comstock team were done. The program and all its parts were broken up. The best engine, a 298 cubic inch version, went to Paul Gentilozzi and campaigned in D/G.

Upon signing to run a Plymouth, Glidden was also granted access to all the new products and innovations that the Performance and Racing departments within Chrysler had developed. That being the engines, heads, and data obtained by Flack & Comstock with this very RAMCHARGERS Dart. All of that gold managed to find its way under the hood of that Glidden Pro Stock Arrow for the 1979 season. Which would see him on a run with arguably the most dominate season of drag racing ever. The 1979 NHRA season would have Glidden's Arrow qualify #1 at more than half of the races for the year. As well as kicking off the season with an impressive including 4 National Event wins in a row. Not losing a single round until a Red-Light loss in June to Randy Humphrey's Volare in Round 2 at Denver. Glidden would go on to win 9 out of 11 events in 79, capping off an NHRA Pro Stock world championship.

Upon stepping out of drag racing, the Dart was sold to a local Michigan racer who would modify it as a Bracket-Car. The last time it was seen was in the early 80's, being painted black. It has since slipped into obscurity and remains a mystery.



If you have any information, photos, stories, or know the whereabouts of this 1976 Dodge Dart please contact us below.

© Copyright Ramchargers 2024 - Powered by Abadata Computer Corp.



© Copyright Ramchargers 2024 - Powered by Abadata Computer Corp.