Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Demon Is Hot on the Drag Strip

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

This Demon Is Hot on the Drag Strip

Article excerpt

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon: Mr. Driver's Seat meets the drag strip.

Price: $84,995. (I think that's with the passenger seat. You don't have to have that.)

Marketer's pitch: Scrreeeee!!!

Conventional wisdom: Scrreeeee!!!

Reality: Scrreeeee!!!

Like herding (Hell)cats: The Dodge Challenger is not just one model, but 15. That will keep the old marketing department busy writing copy.

But the top cat, even mightier than the Hellcat, is the 2018 Dodge Demon SRT. Forget everything you might remember about the 1970s Duster-based Demon, with its big round butt and its 225 cubic inches whining its way through the suburbs.

This baby boasts 840 horsepower in the right trim. That's 84 percent of 1,000, mind you. It's the world's fastest production car for 0-60 (2.3 seconds) and the quarter-mile (9.65 seconds), Dodge says.

At home on the drag strip, the Demon SRT remains street legal. Is this really a good idea?

Strip time: FiatChrysler, risking life, limb and vehicles, put journalists behind the wheel of several models - after an hour of instruction or so - and let us torture them on the track.

The morning silence was torn asunder early at Atco Dragway in the Pinelands of New Jersey, with the sound of squealing tires being prepped for a run down the track. Donning my head sleeve and helmet, I looked like a nerdy astronaut getting ready for liftoff as I slipped into the passenger seat for my first instructional lap.

Drag Racing 101: Finally, it's my turn. First, we get the tires ready by taking the Demon through the burnout box, removing rubber and glue built up from earlier runs. Launching a car on a drag strip is more than just flooring the gas pedal. Of the three methods, I chose TransBrake - only because I'd blanked on my other choices when behind the wheel.

The instructor walked me through the steps and we lined up awaiting the Christmas tree that signaled red, yellow and green.

Ready? I'd raced Lexuses on the track last year, through slaloms and on an oval at speeds of up to 140 mph. …

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