Dodge claimed the Demon was so fast it was banned from drag racing. Thankfully, that’s not exactly the truth.
Almost as impressive as the new Dodge Challenger SRT Demon is the marketing campaign that FCA launched ahead of its reveal, but it was the launch itself that followed through with a testosterone-fueled punch of facts about each of the red lines the Demon crosses. The car is allegedly such a bad boy that it’s been banned from drag racing by the NHRA, which is counterintuitive to the the Demon's existence. However, as a letter from NHRA claims, that’s not exactly the case.
It’s not that Dodge is lying about the Demon’s ability, or its ban for that matter, it’s just that the 9.65-second at 140 mph quarter mile sprint means that it must be brought to the compliance standards of Section 4 of the NHRA rulebook. That’s the same punishment every car that surpasses a 9.99-second and 135 mph quarter mile run must endure. Section 4 compliant cars must be fitted with a roll cage and driven by drivers with a special competition license. So technically, yes, you can buy a Dodge Challenger Demon in road-going form straight from the dealership and race it at the drag strip as long as you’re not running it to full capacity.
Perhaps the NHRA will make exceptions for drivers that forgo the high-octane fuel and pinkie swear that they won’t use Drag Mode or Drag Mode Launch, but that has yet to be seen. The fact of the matter is that any serious drag racers are well within their rights to weld in a roll cage and use their competition licenses for a perfectly legal run at their local drag strips, it’s just that any amateur wishing to do the same will be given a firm no before the burnout even commences. And rightfully so. With the Demon coming fitted with an eight speed automatic transmission and no hopes for a manual from the factory, it’s not impossible to imagine a drag-strip first timer with decent reaction times mangling a Demon.
To prevent that, and the loss of life, all the NHRA has done is to make it harder for anyone who isn't a professional to hurt themselves. It's just a shame they can't do that to Mustang owners planning to frequent their local Cars and Coffee gathering.