When we pulled into World Wide Technology Raceway this past summer, one of the first competitors and cars we saw was Doc Baker of DMX Demon Motorsports and his 1971 Dodge Demon with a badass 500 cid billet Hemi engine sticking out of the engine bay. Doc unloaded the car from his trailer and was kind enough to give us a few minutes to tell us the details of his drag car.
“When I got the car, it was a bracket car that had been turned into an Outlaw 10.5 car,” Baker told us. “When I got it, of course, it wasn’t to my liking, so I cut the chassis up and redid it to work for the direction I wanted to go in for the car. The engine in it had to be a Hemi. I’ve run a Hemi since the mid-‘90s. Running a blower has also always been my thing since the mid-‘90s.”
Doc has been a racing staple for a long time, and has recently been doing more Street Outlaw events and No Prep events, but he’s always been a racer who does it his own way.
“When I said I would run that setup in Small Tire, no one was doing it,” Baker says. “No one thought I’d ever get that to work, especially on the street and in No Prep. However, I’d rather go slow and go my own route than follow the normal trend.”
For that reason, Doc has a big, mechanical lung on top of the 500 cubic-inch Hemi, which Doc said he got as a bare block and bare heads.
“I have two local companies to me do the machine work on the bore and the line hone, etc.,” he says. “Those shops are AR-1 Performance Engines in Little Rock, AR and Kuntz & Co. in Arkadelphia, AR. From there, I assembled the engine myself. The block comes from a guy named Brandon Snider. If you’re familiar with the Pro Mod world, you likely know that name. He had blown it up and sent it back to Noonan to have the block done. I found out it was there, and I wound up purchasing it from Snider through Noonan. The block had been wounded, but it’s in my price range when you buy wounded parts. The nice thing about being the tool and die maker that I am is I’ve got skills. If something is destroyed, I can usually bring it back.”
Similar to the block, Doc found the heads in a shop in Tennessee called Andy’s Performance. According to Baker, the heads were pretty nice, but they needed new valves and new springs and a touched up valve job.
“I searched for this head because it was the combustion chamber and runner volume that I wanted,” he says.
For the Hemi’s rotating assembly, Doc runs a Bryant billet crank, but he admits there are better cranks for his engine than the one he’s currently running.
“It’s wrong for the job because it’s a 4.500” stroke crank, so I have lots of torque to get rid of for the small tire,” Baker says. “Being an ex-Top Fuel part, it’s a little easier and cheaper to come by, so I went with a 4.500” crank for that reason.”
Diamond did a custom billet piston for Doc because he wanted a little bit different compression ratio than most, and he’s always run a BME aluminum rod, so he stuck with that combo here as well due to having good luck with those rods.
When it comes to fuel for his Hemi-powered 1971 Dodge Demon, Doc runs methanol.
“I call it cleaning solvent because it usually doesn’t come out of a drum, but rather a big tank,” he says. “AA methanol is AA methanol – no matter where you get it. Methanol is easier for a billet block, especially with a 15-20 minute turn around on the street. It helps keep the engine cool, so you don’t have an overheating problem.
“I also run a dry sump oiling system. The dry sump helps me keep the oil out from underneath the tires, and I have a diaper on that system as well.”
Baker’s goal for ETs out on the track were to run as fast as he could go, whatever that may be.
“It may be a 7.0 or it may be a 4.0,” he admits. “My goal is to always have a running car to put back in the trailer.”
Those faster ETs are courtesy of about 3,200 horsepower on tap with his supercharged billet Hemi, but Doc said he typically can’t put all that to the tire.
“You won’t see that on day one,” he says. “Realistically, 2,000 horsepower is going to be about the max, and you’re only going to see that right at the end of the track where I can put the timing back in it.”
Doc competes with his Dodge Demon across the country and in a multitude of race classes. Essentially, if Doc can win some money racing, he’s willing to give a class a try.
“If there was a 26-inch tire class that paid money, I’d be right in the middle of it, and I’d run on all surfaces,” he says.
Engine of the Week is sponsored by PennGrade Motor Oil, Elring – Das Original and NPW Companies. If you have an engine you’d like to highlight in this series, please email Engine Builder Editor Greg Jones at [email protected]