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Slicks of Hope Brings Fast ETs To MoParty 2020 For A Great Cause

Author: Bradley Iger | 11/20/2020 < Back to Motor Life Home

“I’m originally from Detroit,” explains Tommy Barron, a firefighter in Boca Raton, Florida. “So ever since high school, I’ve always had an interest in performance and racing through auto shop and the projects I’ve worked on through the years.”


After stints with a ’54 Bel Air and various motorcycles, Barron picked up a ’68 GMC truck to use as a warmed-over daily driver and shifted his attention to his family. “That was it for a number of years,” he says. “I built that right before I left for the Army back in the early 2000s. Pretty standard stuff – 383ci stroker motor, TH400 trans, lowered suspension, that kind of thing. It was a daily driver, but I also ran it at Ubly Dragway in Michigan whenever I could – I drove it to college and to my job, and then I would swap out the tires and take it to the track.”


These days Thomas and his wife Carly both race in the Modern Street Hemi Shootout series with a 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320, a car that propelled Tommy to an 11.30-second quarter mile pass at 119.43 mph last year, setting stock-power world record for the car in turn. Carly would later lay down an 11.35 at 119.91 miles per hour at the same event, setting the quarter mile trap speed record for a stock, 392-powered Challenger – all with just the skinny front wheels from the Challenger SRT Demon serving as the sole deviation from factory-spec.


These days the Barrons run 17-inch Forgestar beadlock wheels and 305mm Mickey Thompson ET Street R rubber to more effectively put the 6.4-liter Hemi’s power to the pavement.


“We picked it up back in August of 2019,” Tommy recalls. “We considered a few different options – we looked at Hellcats, but I really wanted the most for my money. My cousin owns a Demon, so when they announced the 1320 would have these special components from the Demon, that definitely got my attention. It looked like a lot of bang for the buck – we were out the door for under $40K, and setting records with it two months later.”


But while the Scat Pack 1320 has certainly proven to be an effective package for the Barrons, their motivation to get out and mix it up with a Challenger goes much further than bragging rights.


“Peyton loved modern Challengers,” he tells us. “She’d see one going down the street and she’d be pointing at it, totally in love. So that was a big draw to it, too.”


After Peyton was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014, Tommy started working with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in an effort to help raise funds for pediatric cancer research. “Less than 4% of the federal cancer research budget is allocated to childhood cancers,” he notes. “So St. Baldrick’s is now the number one contributor, outside of the federal government, to childhood cancer research.”


Then, in 2018, St Baldrick’s and Barron set up a Hero Fund called Slicks of Hope. “It allows me to do car stuff – car shows, racing, and so on – and raise money for the parent foundation under my own fund,” he says. “We set that up while the Challenger was still in the works, knowing it was on the way. We did our first charity car show right before COVID-19 kicked off, back in early March, and we closed out our first year as a fund bringing in a little over $30,000.”


As Tommy noted, the Challenger 1320 is equipped with a number of features that were previously exclusive to the Challenger SRT Demon. That includes the TransBrake, which is activated by way of the steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.


Although Peyton passed away in 2017, Barron continues to focus his efforts on the fund in order to help other children. “Through the brainstorming of how I was going to do fundraising, I kept being reminded of the love that Peyton had for the fast stuff. And any time we were in a parking lot or at a dealership and she saw a Challenger, she had to go look at it and get a picture with it. And this is what we’ve always done for fun – test and tune on Friday nights. I figured that we’d get this car that I told Peyton and my older daughter Brooklyn we would eventually get, and go do fun stuff with it.”


And that’s what led the Barrons to make the 1000-mile trek up to Bowling Green for MoParty. “Carly and I both agreed that it’s the best event that we’ve been to thus far,” he says. “We originally heard about it because Larry Weiner from Mr. Norms told us about the event and asked if we could bring the car. We had originally planned to do Hot Rod Drag Week, which would have been on the same dates, but Drag Week was canceled. I already had leave from the fire department squared away, so it worked out perfectly. It was a great event – everything from Bowling Green, which is a beautiful area, to the track itself. And with it being a Mopar-only event, Carly got to check out some stuff she’s never seen before. There was something for everybody there. It was also a great experience with the people who ran the event – Steve Sparkman in particular. I misplaced the E12 socket that I needed in order to take my front seat out, and Steve said, ‘Get on the golf cart – let’s go find one.’ Throughout the weekend he was a huge help, and an all-around cool guy.”


The Barrons plan to return for the second annual Holley MoParty with the Challenger 1320 rocking a tune, longtube headers and E85 fuel. Tommy says they’re targeting a power goal of 500 rear-wheel horsepower.


Now back in Boca Raton, Tommy is already setting his sights on next year’s MoParty event. “The Challenger getting some modifications soon,” he says. “I just picked up a full sponsorship with HP Tuners, so we’re going to start with some basic tuning, E85, and longtube headers – 500 rear-wheel horsepower is the goal. And in the long term, I have a cam and ported heads sitting here, and we’re looking at possibly supercharging it with a forged bottom end and one of these new Whipple three-liters on it.”


In the meantime, one of his older projects is getting thoroughly revamped as well. “The old GMC is getting a Hemi swap,” he says. “And that will be for me to run, while the 1320 is going to be Carly’s car. We’re going to use Big Gas heads so we can run a Holley Hi-Ram and put on a crank-driven Vortech, or something along those lines. With events like Modern Street Hemi Shootout and MoParty, we of course need to have a Gen III Hemi in it to run it. So I figure that, instead of putting a turbo on the 4.8-liter LS that’s in it, I’d just Hemi swap it and make a lot of people angry – and a lot of other people happy.”

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