Dodge is proud to say that its new 840-horsepower, 9.65-second Demon drag car has been “banned” by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). But what does that mean exactly? Basically, if you want to run the Demon to its maximum potential at an NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, you need a special license and extra safety equipment.
If you want to run the Demon to its maximum potential at an NHRA-sanctioned drag strip, you need a special license and extra safety equipment.
Safety is critical at any track, so the NHRA for a long time had set a limit on how quick “stock” cars could run at quarter-mile tracks. Until 2012, that number was an 11.5-second pass, a number that had been in place for decades. It's based on the idea that a crash in a car any quicker than that would be too dangerous without additional safety gear. In 2012, however, as factory road cars became quicker and quicker, the NHRA revised that cut-off point to a 9.99-second pass or a 135-mile-per-hour trap speed. The rule applies to any non-convertible factory-issued street car sold in 2008 or later.
With 840 horsepower and a gaggle of tech to help it launch, the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon surpasses both numbers by running 9.65 at 140 mph.
To go that fast at the drag drip, you’ll need extra safety equipment and an NHRA Competition License. The former at least includes a helmet, fire suit, and roll cage – and possibly more safety equipment, like driveshaft loops and a driver's window net, depending on what NHRA techs think when they evaluate the Demon. Getting a Competition License is no small feat, either, requiring drivers to take steps like making multiple supervised passes to get sign-off that they’re qualified to drive a car that quickly.
Show up unlicensed in a stock Dodge Demon at your local test-and-tune and run quicker than 9.99 seconds, and you’re likely to get thrown out for the rest of the evening.
Show up unlicensed in a stock Dodge Demon at your local test-and-tune and run quicker than 9.99 seconds, and you’re likely to get thrown out for the rest of the evening. Show up in a Demon with an NHRA license and the appropriate safety gear, and you should be good to run all night long.
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Banned, then, is perhaps the wrong word; you can run the Demon so long as you follow the rules. But the fact that this factory-stock car with a full warranty is too fast for the NHRA’s safety rules shows just what an incredible achievement the Demon is from Dodge engineers.