Leah Pritchett and Speedkore set record for world’s quickest Dodge Demon
Hagerty was trackside at Great Lakes Dragaway when NHRA Top Fuel hotshoe Leah Pritchett rocketed to an 8.607-second elapsed time in the carbon-fiber-bodied Speedkore Demon to reset the record for quickest Dodge Demon in the world.
The Dodge Demon set the automotive community on its ear when news of its dragstrip-focused capability got out. The most violent barrage of the current horsepower war, the Demon’s 840-horsepower supercharged Hemi was a limited-production dragstrip beast that was capable of running deep into the nines on factory drag radials using race fuel and the equipment supplied in the optional $1 “Hellcrate.” Of course, factory power levels and equipment are only a starting point for the aftermarket, and both Speedkore and Gearhead Fabrications were ready to prove the Demon can be far faster.
The Demon wears body panels from Speedkore that replace every bit of metal outer skin with Speedkore’s autoclave-cured carbon fiber. The hood, fenders, deck lid, and quarter panels, as well as the door and roof skins are all made from the composite material. The panel swap sheds more than 200 pounds from the Demon, which was already trimmed up a bit at the factory. However, the addition of a roll cage and the twin turbochargers countered the weight loss—and let’s not forget, this is still a street car with a passenger seat, air conditioning, and street manners. Everything from the lower manifold down is factory Demon, including the cam.
Oh yeah, the turbos. Twin 66-mm billet turbochargers feed the 6.2-liter Hemi and help it produce 1230 horsepower as measured at the rear tires. Air enters the front-mounted turbos through new vents cut into the fascia, while the low, wide scoop in the hood is still functional. Rather than feeding the engine, it’s tasked with pulling in air to help cool the engine bay.
In the Demon’s factory state, the driveshaft is the weak link. It would be the first thing to go when added power meets a well-prepped track and sticky tires. The Demon now uses a beefy aluminum and carbon-fiber replacement driveshaft from Driveshaft Shop, which also supplied the half-shafts. Gearhead Fabrications modified the factory torque converter a bit but otherwise left the transmission and the rear differential alone. Other modifications include a fuel system capable of feeding the Hemi 117-octane One Ethanol E85 from ATI.
Mario Abascal from Gearhead Fabrications was on hand with Gearhead’s tuner Matt Kesatie, who tweaked the boost curve and the timing to help the Demon launch and to give the engine all of the power that the track was willing to take.
Racing conditions weren’t ideal for this record run. The air was cool and dense, but there was a constant wind that shifted between a straight-on headwind to a quartering crosswind, explaining the relatively low trap speed of 159 mph.
Mario thinks the headwind was only a minor setback but plans on heading back to the track to squeeze even more out of the car. Pritchett is ready when they do, singing Matt and Mario’s praises: “They’ve done a phenomenal job on our limited number of runs, really being able to control our ramp-in,” she said. “It stuck, it hooked, and we beat our own record by seventeen hundredths.”
Just like the record they set last year, the record-breaking run came on the third pass. Pritchett thinks the car has more in it. “We lost a little bit of mph,” she said of the trap speed. “That’s not everything that we have, but for today I think that’ll do.”
Bits and pieces of the Speedkore Demon are up to the task of delivering 1500 horsepower to the tires, but the question of what’s the weakest link in the drivetrain after all of the upgrades remains unanswered. Will the factory trans and differential allow the Demon to launch even harder if more power is applied? Speedkore and Gearhead Fabrications have a sister car to the Demon in the works that tackles some of those questions, so we’ll learn more at SEMA 2019.