Very few of the 3,300 Dodge Challenger SRT Demons have been delivered so far; in many cases, owners are receiving their cars at a time when every dragstrip within reasonable driving distance is closed for the season. Fortunately, a few new Demon owners live in areas where the track is open; and this past weekend, one of them was became the first private owner to pilot the 840-horsepower Challenger into the 9-second range.

Ron Silva’s Demon

Before getting into the detail on the first privately-owned 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon to break into the 9s, here is a quick look at the car.

This particular Demon is owned by Ron Silva, an experienced Mopar drag racer. He recently received his Demon Crate with the skinny front wheels, the race gas PCM and the rest of the vital go-fast bits. After having the computer for the 840-horsepower tune installed, Silva headed to the track to see what he could do.

In addition to the race gas PCM and the lightweight front wheels/tires, Silva’s car was fitted with different drag radial tires. The Demon comes with Nitto drag radials made specifically for this 840hp Challenger, but to save those for the street, Silva installed a set of Mickey Thompson 305/45R18 ET Street R drag radials. For these runs, this Demon had only the driver’s seat, with all of the tools and components of the Demon Crate track kit removed, and a mix of 100-octane pump gas and MS109 race gas. Although the Demon’s 840hp tune only requires 100 octane gas, adding the MS109 helps to make sure that the octane rating is where it needs to be for premium performance.

Breaking into the 9s

Ron Silva had made a handful of trips to his local 8 th mile track, but this past weekend, he made the drive to Auto Club Famoso Raceway for some quarter mile action. During the course of the day, he made some 10-second runs in the 808-horsepower mode, but in the 840hp setting, he was able to crack into the high 9s with a 9.972 at 136.18 miles per hour. With some more practice, he eventually cut that time down to a 9.94 a 136.47mph with a 60-foot time of 1.419.

You can watch that 9.94 run in the video below.

Lots of Room for Improvement

We are highlighting this first 9-second Demon quarter mile run in the real world because, before yesterday, a great many people online were insisting that a 9-second run wasn’t possible without perfect conditions. While the air in January in California is good, these runs were made in positive Density Altitude, yet Silva still got into the 9s on his first trip to the track with the full race-ready configuration.

More importantly, Ron Silva broke into the 9s with his Demon without the use of the TransBrake. As other owners have learned, the TransBrake is a tricky gadget, so he was making some runs while just using the brake pedal to hold the car at the line, launching around 1,000 rpm. Launching with the TransBrake allows the Demon to leave the line with much more initial torque, making traction tougher but improving the numbers at the finish line. The SRT engineers set the 9.65 record while using all of the  Demon’s gadgets; while Ron Silva isn’t in the mid-9s yet, he has gotten into the 9s without those gadgets.

This is after so many naysayers insisted that we wouldn’t see stock Demons in the 9s, and with only a few racing around the country, we already have one within three tenths of a second of the Dodge number.

Finally, in addition to running in the 9s without the TransBrake, Ron Silva was able to get the front wheels off of the ground while using the foot-brake method. The same cynics often claimed that wheelies weren’t possible, either, but Silva pulled the wheels up without the added launch force of the TransBrake. The video below shows the wheels-up launch in slow motion.

Once Ron Silva gets some seat time in his 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, he is sure to get further into the 9s – especially once he begins using all of the Mopar monster’s track gadgets.