The Real Reason the Dodge Demon is Banned from the Drag Strip
Pure power isn't what's preventing the Demon from drag-racing, but rather safety requirements
It has been roughly one week since the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon was first officially revealed to the world at the New York International Auto Show. Among the many accomplishments that Dodge highlighted during the unveiling was the fact that the Demon could complete a quarter-mile in 9.65 seconds, the fastest quarter-mile time of any production model on the planet.
So fast, in fact, that Dodge stated that the Demon would not be welcomed at your local drag strip. Dodge’s official press release for the Dodge Demon even goes as far to say that the “Challenger SRT Demon is too fast for the drag strip – officially banned by NHRA.”
This all begs the question: Why make a drag-racing machine that is officially banned from drag-racing? Well, as it turns out, Dodge’s statements surrounding the Demon’s drag-racing status were more than a little misleading.
You see, you can in fact race the Dodge Demon competitively on the drag strip. However, you must first meet certain safety requirements in order to do so.
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In his official letter to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles regarding the Dodge Demon, Glen Gray, National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Vice President of Technical Operations, stated, “The car exceeded our limits of 9.99-seconds and 135 mph. Therefore, it must be brought into compliance with the rules and regulations found in Section 4 of the NHRA Rulebook.”
Chief among these additional safety requirements is a NHRA-certified roll cage. According to the NHRA, all vehicles that run a quarter-mile in under 10 seconds are required to include a roll cage before they can be raced on the strip.
While the Dodge Demon comes standard with a ton of nifty features, one thing it does not include is a roll cage. Installing such a cage will cost Demon drivers upwards of $1,000.
Dodge might have elected to omit the roll cage from the Demon’s standard list of features in order to allow drivers to add a passenger seat and back row more easily. Furthermore, a standard roll cage would have undoubtedly increased the weight and the price of the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon.
That’s not the only safety requirement Demon drivers will have to meet for them to take the performance vehicle from the street to the strip. The NHRA requires all drivers who race in a vehicle that runs a quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds to wear SFI-certified jackets, pants, and gloves, as well as a helmet.
Finally, drivers will need to hold an official NHRA Competition License before they can race the Demon across the drag strip.
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“It’s very exciting to see that the factories are building amazing new performance cars like the Dodge Demon, and we certainly encourage any new racers to come out and participate in our events,” Gray said. “Once the performance level reaches the nine-second zone, you’ve got a very serious race car on your hands, and it’s important that we have specific guidelines for these vehicles.”
If you were worried about not being able to race in the world’s most-anticipated drag-racing vehicle, then you can now exorcise those fears. All you need to do is add the right safety equipment before you hit the strip in the Dodge Demon.