Everybody, including Dodge, needs to stop saying the Demon’s banned from the dragstrip by the NHRA, because it’s not.
It can be banned for a day because it’s too damn fast.
Let’s back up. Dodge built the hype around the 2018 Challenger SRT Demon to a boiling point, and with good reason. The car is mighty impressive.
With the most powerful V-8 in production car history, and the ability to pull 1.8 g in acceleration off the line, the only haters seem to be Tesla fanboys.
Dodge says the Demon’s capable of a 9.65 quarter mile at 140 mph, and that was certified by the NHRA.
So, why does Dodge claim the NHRA then banned it? Because anything that runs under the 10-second mark at 135 mph requires a lot more safety equipment than the Demon comes with stock.
NHRA Vice President-Technical Operations Glen Gray says, as outlined in Section 4 of the NHRA’s Rulebook, the required equipment includes, but is not limited to, a full certified roll cage (a four-point harness bar is available as an option, but that’s not a full roll cage) a window net, an aftermarket driver restraint system, a driveshaft loop, and a master cut-off switch.
Beyond all that–and there’s even more in the rulebook–the driver needs to hold an NHRA Competition License and wear “acceptable clothing.” This would mean a helmet, plus a jacket, pants, gloves, and neck collar or HANS device that are all SFI-certified.
2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon
All of this can be installed on a Demon and worn by its driver to make it fully compliant with NHRA rules for running under 10-second quarter miles.
Perhaps the most important thing to note here is that you actually have to run the quarter mile in under 10 seconds or top 135 mph for any of this to matter. Just because the car’s capable of it doesn’t matter; you also have to be capable of getting the car to make that run.
If you are just starting out in drag racing, don’t know how to properly set up the car, use the trans brake or other features, or you just hold back a little, as long as you stay at 10 seconds or above, and under 135 mph, you can run at the strip without any of the extra equipment listed.
No, the Demon’s not banned by the NHRA, but what it’s capable of in stock form (with or without optional equipment) could get you kicked out of the strip if you run it flat out, nail the launch, and don’t have the proper safety equipment.
Dodge saying the Demon is banned by the NHRA is a bunch of hype, but it’s good marketing.