Women of the Dodge Red Key Show Off Diabolical Hellcats

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Dodge Hellcat and Demon

Scores of female drivers and racers around North America love their Dodge Hellcats and Demons.

Back on May 1, the Detroit Free Press published a piece discussing the “secret red key” that unleashes the full power potential of the Dodge Challenger and Charger in SRT Hellcat trim as well as the mighty Demon. That piece was written by Phoebe Wall Howard, who mingled with a large community of Hellcat and Demon owners to get plenty of quotes from owners pertaining to using the red key or black key.

Howard spoke with a handful of Hellcat owners for her article and I was one of them, but she didn’t speak with any female Hellcat owners or drivers. She did, however, include a quote by one Hellcat owner that got female Hellcat owners a little fired up, stating that his wife “can’t handle all that horsepower” before following up with, “Daddy drives a hot rod and Momma drives a school bus,” referring to his wife’s Toyota Sequoia.

While I mentioned that my wife drives our Hellcat Challenger as much as I do, and other men interviewed by Howard mentioned that their wives drove their supercharged Mopar machines, the article might lead some people to believe that the red key world is an all-male affair, but that is not the case. There are dozens of women around the country who own, daily drive, and race a Hellcat Challenger, Hellcat Charger or Demon, and today, Dodge Forum brings you a look at just a small sampling of the “Women of the Red Key.”

Female Hellcat and Demon Owner Input

Rather than just offer up a large gallery of images of female-owned-and-operated Hellcats and Demons, I spoke with dozens of women whose supercharged Mopar is their own. In other words, this is not about women who occasionally drive their husband’s Hellcat or Demon, these are women who daily drive or regularly race a Hellcat or Demon. And all of them deserve respect in the modern Mopar community, as they have the same driving passion for Hemi-powered performance cars as the men.

Women of the Red Key

Hellcat Challenger

Melisa Arnold

  • Year & Model: 2018 Challenger Hellcat Widebody
  • What you do with it: daily driver, drag race, etc.? The Hellcat is my daily driver and I enjoy going drag racing with it.
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? I drove a 2015 Dodge Challenger 392.
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? There is no one thing about this car that makes it great! I love the power and acceleration, the sound of it when you crank it up, the fact that it actually looks like a muscle car, and the appreciation it gets from other people!

Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Amanda Rall

  • Year & Model: 2017 Challenger Hellcat
  • What you do with it? Daily driver
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? 2006 Dodge Ram 1500, 1972 Dodge Demon 340.
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? My favorite thing has to be the way it makes me feel when I’m behind the wheel. The thrilling feeling it provides when you hammer down, the sound it makes as you rapidly accelerate… it’s like a drug, and I cannot get enough. The Hellcat turns heads everywhere, there is no denying that. While I grow tired of men asking me how a little lady drives such a powerful muscle car, I understand why they are drawn to it. However, men aren’t the only ones who like power, speed, and being part of the brotherhood of muscle. Drive on ladies… for we are the sisterhood of speed!

Dodge Hellcat Charger Burnout

Jennifer Shipp Metcalf

  • Year & Model: I’ve actually had two Hellcats: first was a 2015 Silver Challenger Hellcat, while the second, current, and favorite is a 2016 Plum Crazy Purple Charger Hellcat.
  • What you do with it? I split my daily driving between my Hellcat Charger and my 2018 SRT 392 Durango. I live in Priceville Alabama, with my husband James, a.k.a. “Hubcap.” I give him all the credit for getting me interested in and having the nerve to actually try drag racing! He’s been in drag racing since he was a teenager (me only since I was 40), so I have all the confidence in the world because of his support! I do all the driving and he does all the research on mods. We like to go to the dragstrip for fun with our friends and race the Hellcat, usually at Huntsville or Jake’s in Moulton. Our best stock time was 6.87 @ 103 with a 1.54 60ft at the 1/8 mile track at Huntsville. We had the Charger tuned recently by Flat Out Hemi Performance (SRTMUSH and Josh). Among several modifications was a smaller 2.4 pulley and an E85 as well as 93 tune, along with a Demon transmission tune. Our first trip to the track afterwards, I ran a 6.33 @ 109 mph 1.43 60ft! Our next trip, I will be trying the E85 tune and hope to drop down a good bit more.
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? My car before my two Hellcats was a 2011 Sterling Grey Metallic Ford Mustang GT 5.0, automatic. We installed a Roush 2.3 TVS supercharger and a tune. I went 6.80 @ 109 mph with a 1.54 60ft in the 1/8 mile. I was hooked!
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? 1. Nice and comfortable. 2. Practical. Yes, practical! My 70-plus-year-old mom can get in and out easily and loves to ride in it. People can actually fit in the back seat and have rear air and heated seats! Who would’ve ever thought there would be a four-door car with 707 hp? (Now about 950 rwhp modified). 3. It is an eye catcher. People seem to be drawn to it and love to look at it. 4. It is soooo much fun to drive! My Hellcat Charger and Buick Grand National are by far my two most favorite cars that I’ve had, and I’ve been blessed to have had many fast and fun cars!

Dodge Charger - April Moll

April Moll

  • Year & Model: I have the privilege of driving a 2016 White Charger Hellcat EVERY day!
  • What you do with it? See above.
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? I previously owned a Jeep Wrangler, which I also loved….and will own again one day!
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? The horsepower and its sleek muscle style! My husband and I also own a 2016 PCP Hellcat Challenger, “Joker.” That car is a six-speed manual, which I love! Something about downshifting and hearing that pop, especially when I have the cutouts open, is just awesome! I drive this car to any long distance car shows, and occasionally around town. Then on rare occasions, I drive our 2018 Billet Silver Challenger Demon. I absolutely love the demonic red interior. And wow, what a fun car to drive!

Hellcat Challenger - Lori Elizabeth Dafoe

Lori Elizabeth Dafoe

  • Year & Model: 2019 Challenger Hellcat Redeye
  • What you do with it? Sometimes driver. Living in the Pacific Northwest there’s a bit too much rain to make it a daily driver. I guess you could call it an “anytime the sun’s out driver.”
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? I have a 2002 Mustang GT and a 2012 Fusion.
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? I love the sound it makes when it first starts up. Nothing like the feel and sound of that rumble!

Charger - Cindy McCord

Cindy McCord

  • Year & Model: I drive a 2015 Charger Hellcat that is build number 116. Her name is “Bad Kitty.”
  • What you do with it? I do not daily her. I do drag race. I have 15,500 miles on her. The car is stock except for drag radials.
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? My previous car was a 2012 SRT Challenger. That is the car I learned to drag race on.
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? My favorite thing about my Hellcat Charger is that you can go fast and do so in comfort. Looks good and runs fast.

Leanne Mayberry

Leanne Mayberry

  • Year & Model: 2016 Challenger Hellcat
  • What you do with it? She is a daily driver, but I work from home. (laughs) And I drag race in the Modern Street Semi Shootout Series in the Hellcat (10.0 Index class).
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? Ford F-150, for my one-horse life, that I then traded for a Nissan Diesel Titan to haul my more than 700 horses.
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? I bought this car without even so much as a test drive. I had driven the Hellcat Charger a couple times. I knew the minute I saw her on the lot that I had to make her mine…the combination of the Plum Crazy Purple and the carbon fiber stripes and the brass monkey wheels…all love at first site. This car is my smile-maker. We say in my house, it is the smiles per gallon that you get with this car. No matter what the day brings, just hop in, take a drive, you can’t help but smile.

Two Blue Challengers - Staci Cassano

Staci Cassano

  • Year & Model: 2018 Challenger Hellcat Widebody
  • What you do with it? Daily driver — with the red key (even if it’s only in Eco mode, because one button changes her attitude in a second if needed).
  • What did you drive before your Hellcat/Demon? 2012 BMW Activehybrid 7 series.
  • Favorite thing about your Hellcat/Demon? That I picked every option on this car and she was built for me: the sunroof, the color of the calipers that accent the blue, the 18-speaker stereo system. But mostly it’s that my mom sadly passed away just a month before I could bring this car home, and she also had a Challenger growing up, and I felt her connection and spirit touch me as I drove home from the dealership talking to her.

Women of the Dodge Red Key Show Off Diabolical Hellcats continued…


"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

Rall can be contacted at [email protected]

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