Those of us who love cars can’t get enough of driving them. From commuting to work or road tripping to ripping down a drag strip or carving up the twisties, we love seat time. For Chris Cervenka, SEO Content Manager at CJ Pony Parts, the road he was determined to conquer is the storied Tail of the Dragon, a stretch of road along the North Carolina-Tennessee border that features 318 turns in only 11 miles.
There was one more attraction I wanted to cross off the bucket list. — Chris Cervenka, CJ Pony Parts
Obviously not afraid to put some miles on his 2015 Mustang GT project car, Chris arranged to take a detour to the Dragon en route to a getaway weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. Since the road has long been on his driving bucket list, an hour detour on the way to Music City was well worth the effort and he was kind enough to share his experience with us.
“This road is most widely known by motorcyclists for its tight, banked turns where you’re really able to lean into each corner. In recent years, many auto enthusiasts have also traveled this road for the same kind of thrill,” Chris explained. “After hearing such great things about this twisty 11-mile stretch of US-129, I had to make arrangements to tackle it myself.”
Taming The Dragon
Before he tamed the Dragon, Chris smartly put in the time giving his car a once-over to ensure the Mustang’s systems were all fully functional and ready to run. He also checked the torque on the lug nuts and the fasteners on all the suspension components — which include CJPP lowering springs, a Steeda front sway bar, and a Steeda rear sway bar — to ensure a loose bolt wouldn’t cause any issues on the six-hour ride on the Dragon, which began on October 12 at 6:30 a.m.
…As I continued to drive deeper into the Dragon, it got more and more exhilarating. — Chris Cervenka, CJ Pony Parts
As you can see in the video above, the storied road definitely lived up to its reputation and Chris truly bonded with his pony car while carving up the corners.
“After driving the route for the first time, I felt a bit more confident in my abilities with the road,” Chris said. “The video only does an adequate job showing the curvature of this road and how much of a bank these turns actually have. We were able to pull over 1 g both left and right for the return run — impressive, right?”
Chris’ GT is equipped with the Performance Pack and augmented with the aforementioned suspension upgrades along with a Borla cat-back exhaust and a set of Continental Extreme Contact DW rubber the car proved itself with reliable braking and consistent traction. Even though Chris wasn’t driving all out on public roads, he still pushed his car to learn more about it and the road.
“For anyone who is on the border of whether or not to make the trip out to the Tail of the Dragon, don’t be! The claims are true,” Chris enthused. “This stretch of US-129 is no joke and the absolute most fun I’ve ever had behind the wheel (on a public road).”
And after taming the Dragon, Chris even popped in to the gift shop for some celebratory swag and snapped some photos with the famed dragon statue to commemorate the occasion — and who could blame him.