2013 Dodge Dart: Superbike Road Trip, Part Two
October 7, 2013
Our 2013 Dodge Dart and I showed up at our campsite just above turn 6 at Mazda Raceway around 12:30 in the afternoon. It was pretty easy spotting the Tangerine Scream-colored Focus ST amongst the RVs trailers and tents. I had my tent habitable in no time and we wandered the track for a few hours. It was a little unsettling to see how light the crowds were for a Saturday, I must admit, but it did make getting around a lot easier.
About halfway through a Harley race, we decided to head into town to hit up my favorite place, The Crown and Anchor pub. A few Boddingtons and a prime rib later, I was feeling pretty good. Kurt said he had problems starting a campfire the night before, so I readily admitted that I was a pyromaniac as a child. It was actually the only thing I was good at when I was briefly a Boy Scout. My search for a hand ax at the local Walgreen's turned up nothing, though. I'd just have to make due with a leatherman multitool.
My firebug skills proved useful as we had a good fire going within 10 minutes.
Race day went well, with no big surprises in the races we watched. We pretty much bolted from the track after the second Superbike race, beating the RVs off the premises by a sizable margin.
When we hit Highway 101, the distance to Los Angeles was 318 miles and I had 325 miles of range estimated. I figured I'd be able to make it without refueling. 45 minutes later, I had built up a 30-mile buffer zone, so I definitely would not be stopping. Then Kurt said he needed gas. I decided to follow him anyway. I was pretty tired and a Red Bull would be helpful at this point. And it was.
We rolled into L.A. right around 8:00 p.m., after about five hours of drive time. As with the trip up, I really didn't suffer much and there were no unpleasant surprises. I averaged 36.6 mpg, which is right in there with the EPA's 37-mpg estimate.
But considering that the base Focus ST and our as-tested price for the Dart are really close, choosing between the two is a no-brainer. I'd pick the fun Focus in a heartbeat, as it's better in every way.
Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 14,754 miles