After being introduced to race cars and racing as a baby — yes, a baby — in 1969 through his father’s supercharged Hemi-powered 1933 Willys, Paul Noakes developed an attraction to all things fast.

His family knew that and understood that, so they weren’t surprised when he asked at the age of eighteen in 1988 if he could use his dad’s 1972 Challenger-bodied Funny Car to run a series of 7.50 passes to earn a competition license.

He continued to race in that car at various tracks near his home in Ontario, before purchasing a Probe-bodied Funny Car five years later to race in the United Drag Racers Association.

“We were fairly successful in the Probe, winning many United Drag Racers Association races and match races, and we were doing well at IHRA races while running a limited schedule with the series,” said Noakes. “Along the way, Summit Motorsports Park has always been a favorite track to race at, and we all know (Summit Motorsports Park president) Bill Bader, Jr. is the best announcer in the world. My being Canadian and driving a Ford made it easier for him to pick on me when he was announcing. He would say to the fans ‘You don’t want a Canadian to take home the money, do you?’ and ‘You don’t want a Ford-bodied car to win, do you?,’ and it would always get the fans riled up.”

Noakes was relishing racing both cars, but in 1994, a fire that started in the engine bay of the Probe-bodied Funny Car during a race put it out of commission for three weeks. When he was done rebuilding it, he took it — along with the Challenger-bodied Funny Car — to a race in St. Thomas Raceway in Ontario, but ran into trouble again when the chute didn’t deploy on the Challenger-bodied Funny Car at 187 mph, and he had nowhere to go but into a group of trees. Miraculously, he walked away from the Challenger-bodied Funny Car with no injuries, but instead of calling it a day, he climbed back into the Probe-bodied Funny Car.

“My family was telling me not to get back into a race car at the...
TOPEKA, Kans. (May 17, 2016) – Former Top Alcohol Dragster world champion Chris Demke and his Maddern Racing team are more than ready to dust off the cobwebs after over a month off since their last race. The SoCal team is making the tow out to Heartland Park Topeka for the NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 20-22, a race where Demke has been to the finals four times in his career.

“I have been to the final round and lost at Topeka more times than I want to talk about. The fact that the track wasn’t on the schedule at the beginning of the season had our team bummed. We usually go to this race but we’ve never been able to win the national event. For as many times as we’ve been here, I would’ve expected that record to be better. We’re excited to have at least one more chance to win a national event Wally at Topeka,” Demke said.

The Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products team’s strategy isn’t complicated. They’re just going to keep doing what they’ve been doing. It seems to be working, as Demke has been to the final round at the last two of his three races in 2016.

“We’ll just try to continue the momentum,” Demke admitted. “The team is itching to get back to the track. Our last race was the Vegas regional, which was postponed due to rain. We were scheduled to go to Houston but pulled out because of what looked to be bad weather. Topeka was the next race on the list so that’s where we’re headed.

“We’ve laid down some incredible numbers this season, we’re just lacking consistency. With Jerry Maddern setting the strategy and Kevin Watson implementing the tactics, I think it’s just up to me to drive the car to the finish line. I think everything is lining up for us.”

Competing with Demke for the Kansas Nationals Wally will be a full field of strong competitors, including local legend Randy Meyer, who stepped out of the driver’s seat this season to tune his daughter, Megan, to a win and two runner-up finishes in her rookie season.

“I’ve been keeping track of the entry list.”...
BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Canadian-based NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Scott McVey is set to kick off his 2016 season with an updated chassis during this weekend’s NHRA North Central Region opener at the famed Lucas Oil Raceway just outside Indianapolis. McVey did an in-house front half and other updates to his chassis in hopes of building on career-best numbers at the end of his 2015 campaign.

McVey, from Ile des Chenes, Man., wheeled his Will Hanna tuned Monte Carlo to personal best elapsed time (5.54 seconds) and speed (265.22 mph) at his last outing at the AAA Texas Fall Nationals just outside of Dallas last October. New personal bests were a common theme for him in 2015, as he reset those marks several times over the course of the season and hopes to continue that theme this season.

“We finally got into the 5.50’s at the end of last year,” said McVey. “We had been knocking on the door for a while. The class has become so competitive over the last few years you really have to be able to run in the .50’s anywhere you go to have a chance. The 5.40’s are becoming more commonplace in the right conditions. Our goal this year is to run consistent .50’s and hopefully find the 5.40’s at some point this year.”

McVey hopes some fresh “pipe” and updates to the chassis design will help them achieve their goals.

“I started racing this car in 2000,” cited McVey. “We make five to eight races a year, and it takes a lot of travel to make those races from Canada. The car was originally built in 1990, so we figured it was time for a front half and some updates. I looked around at some options and decided to build a jig and do it myself. We made some good progress last year, so hopefully it doesn’t take us too long to figure out what the car wants after the changes.”

Hanna is looking forward to the chance to work with the updated chassis.

“We really struggled to run good front half numbers last year,” stated Hanna. “It’s always hard to know if the chassis is at...
Charlotte, N.C. - So far this year the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster has been running consistent and has mades some very impressive runs in the 5.20 zone. This weekend at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods was no exception as Duane Shields made a sizzling 5.27 at 275 MPH pass to take the number one qualify position in the first round of qualifying.

On the second qualifying stanza the car smoked the tires and the PEAK team dropped down to the third position going into eliminations. Because of some rain in the afternoon on Friday, the Top Alcohol Dragster class only received two qualifying rounds so the PEAK team was unable to get a third pass to see if they had the traction problem sorted out prior to eliminations.

In the first round, the PEAK team faced east coast veteran Richard Bourke. At the hit it was Bourke out first as Duane smoked the tires and had no choice but to lift and idle down track while Bourke made his best run of the weekend to take the win.

The good news for Duane and the PEAK team is they only have a few days to ponder the loss before they move on to Richmond, Virginia next weekend for an NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event. Duane would like to thank his sponsors PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their continued support in 2016.
CONCORD, NC. (April 26, 2016) – A/Fuel dragster rookie Megan Meyer and her family-based team continue to impress in their bid for the NHRA Lucas Oil Series Top Alcohol Dragster national championship. Meyer drove her Racers Evolved dragster to her first national event victory at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals last Sunday, marking just her second national event start.

Meyer, the daughter of 2003 world championship tuner Randy Meyer, qualified number two with a 5.252 ET at 278 MPH. Randy gave her a consistently quick and fast race car as the 22-year old driver marched through eliminations with elapsed times of 5.308, 5.281 twice, and 5.325, all at or approaching 280 mph. Meyer and final round opponent Josh Hart were close for the first half, but the Racers Evolved machine charged ahead for the Four-Wide Wally.

“It was so emotional. Going down the track, I saw his Josh’s nose disappear behind me by half track. I was cheering by the time I pulled the parachutes. It was everything that you dream of. It was a very emotional moment for me and for my parents. We were all crying. We were all so happy. It didn’t take us long to get this first win, but it’s been a long process. This is something we’ve been planning my entire life. It’s finally here and it’s exactly what I thought it would be,” Meyer said.

Meyer also received a reward for her offseason work behind the computer screen, as the NHRA presented Randy Meyer Racing with the Best Appearing Crew award. She also won Best Appearing Car at her first race last month.

“Winning that award was very rewarding. I had some help from Matt Levonas with the design. He helped design the car wrap and crew shirts. We worked together, then we had some help from Racers Evolved because the look came from their Megan Meyer Signature Series shirts. As a designer, it felt good to get those two awards at my first two races. My dad has won Best Appearing Crew before, but never Best Appearing Car, so that one was special for Randy...
DJ Cox and the Anderika Racing team are set to continue their 2016 season at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, NC this weekend as part of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods.

Cox will compete with the NHRA Lucas Oil National Series in the Top Alcohol Funny Car portion of the event. The Charlotte race marks Cox first competition of the season in Anderika’s torque converter car after competing in his family-owned entry in a pair of Gainesville, FL races last month. Cox is excited for the first of two events at the zMax Dragway for the team this season.

“It’s a great racetrack. It’s one of my favourite places to go. It’s just a really nice facility,” Cox said.

The Anderika team faces a handful of challenges as they enter the event, but are taking them in stride. Cold and wet weather in the team’s home state of Pennsylvania has made it difficult for productive testing in recent weeks.

“We only got the car out one time. It was on a green racetrack and we really didn’t learn much. The conditions weren’t great, so we’re a little behind the eight ball,” explained a determined Cox.

As a result the team plans to use its four qualifying runs on Friday and Saturday to learn as much as possible about the car and the racetrack.

“We’re just trying to get a handle on the overall combination. We struggled a little bit at the end of last year, so we’re hoping to turn that around,” Cox said.

After advancing to the second-round in Gainesville, Cox is simplifying his approach to this weekend’s event in order to continue building momentum.

“We always want to win, but we’re just looking for a good showing. We try to take the approach that we just focus on the first qualifying run and on one run at a time instead of focusing on the race overall,” he said.

Follow DJ Cox’s 2016 season with the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series by Liking the Anderika Racing team on Facebook.

DJ Cox and Anderika Racing are proud to partner with the following corporate sponsors: Dixie...
After a very long weekend at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals, Johnny Ahten and the Island Renovations / Combust Filters team is anxious to get back to racing at this weekend’s Regional race at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The Ahten Racing truck and trailer pulled into the Vegas racetrack on Thursday afternoon in preparation for the National event. By Friday morning, it had already seemed like a week.

“We were chasing an ignition gremlin and it was a thrash just to get to the line for the first qualifying session, “said Johnny Ahten. We went back to a familiar combination and we thought we had the car sorted out. Our first and second qualifying passes proved us wrong on that one. As it turns out, we had a drivetrain issue that was preventing us from launching the car under power. By the third qualifying session on Saturday we had found the issue and laid down a decent pass. It was a long couple of days that made that full qualifying pass feel very satisfying.”

The Stump Puller’s third session 5.418/263.82 was good enough to qualify in the seventh spot. A first round match-up with Megan McKernan was slated for later on that day.

When the lights came down on round one, Johnny took a slight advantage and got the stripe first with a 5.543@261.72 over Megan McKernan's 5.627@262.28. It was not perfect, but after the mechanical challenges of the previous days, a win was welcome. This set up a Sunday morning round two with Garrett Bateman, who just happened to be the #1 qualifier.

In an epic battle that pitted the Clean Boost Oil teammates, Johnny Ahten drew first blood with the starting line advantage, but tire shake entered the skirmish. Bateman’s 5.347@268.97 took the win over the Stump Puller’s troubled 5.629@236.30.

“I slapped the pedal after the tire shake and tried to catch him but the damage was done.” added Ahten. “That run did produce our best short time of the weekend. I got out of it downtrack so that was why our mph was down. Overall...
LAS VEGAS (April 6, 2016) – Chris Demke is no stranger to racing defending NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster national champion Joey Severance. The two blown alcohol superstars have faced off countless times in one another’s recent championship battles, and already twice in final rounds this year. The most recent Demke-versus-Severance match race was the final round of the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last weekend.

Demke qualified his Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products dragster in the No. 2 position after laying down a 5.254 elapsed time, which was a career-best Las Vegas run for Demke. The run’s 272.45 MPH speed was also good for Top Speed of the event by the end of eliminations.

“That 5.25 was by far our career-best and goes along with what I expected for this tune-up based on how we performed at Phoenix in similar conditions. We were number one going into final qualifying until my Boost Performance Products teammate, Garrett Bateman, took it away from us,” Demke said of his qualifying effort.

Demke dipped into the 5.2s again in the first round when he defeated A/Fuel rookie Jndia Erbacher, daughter of European Top Fuel champion Urs Erbacher, with a 5.293. Another twenty was likely in the second round, but Demke had to pedal out of tire shake to run 5.300 to beat Shawn Cowie’s 5.386. Tire shake plagued the Maddern Racing entry again in the semifinals, though Demke was unopposed.

“Because of the way the ladder shakes out for an eleven-car field, the number one qualifier gets the bye run into the second round, but the number two qualifier gets the bye run in the semifinals. You just have to earn it by winning the first two rounds. We were able to take advantage of that,” Demke noted.

That free semifinal run sent Demke into the final round to face his rival.

“It’s a familiar place; a final round against Joey Severance. He had lane choice and was running very consistently. We knew if we could run near our qualifying...
LAS VEGAS (March 31, 2016) – Like everyone else in the NHRA community, Top Alcohol Dragster pilot Chris Demke enters this weekend’s Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals with a heavy heart after the unexpected loss of friend and NHRA Chief Starter Mark Lyle earlier this week. Demke and his Maddern Racing team will race this weekend in Lyle’s memory.

“Lyle and our team go way back. We knew him back when he was the Division 6 starter. We hung out with him on and off the track. We were really excited when he was promoted to NHRA Chief Starter. He was one of the good guys. He did his job and he did it very well. You could always trust Mark to tell you what was going on. He would have the track properly prepared. He will be sadly missed. Such a tragedy and a surprise. Lyle was the man,” Demke said of his late friend.

Traditionally a track that gives the West Coast blown alcohol dragster team some trouble, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is where the Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products team will find themselves for the next two weekends. Despite his spotty past at The Strip, Demke feels confident this time around after qualifying No. 1 and reaching the final round at the Phoenix regional event last month.

“Las Vegas is one of the best facilities on the west coast. It’s not a track we usually do well at, but we have our moments. There are four races at this track per year – two nationals and two regionals – and we won the spring regional last April. It’s challenging, but it’s a great track surface. It’s at a moderate elevation so we need to adjust our tune-up. If our Phoenix tune-up transfers to Vegas then I have very high expectations as far as what we’re capable of.

“We did better than we expected [at Phoenix], but we can’t get cocky heading into this race. We need to maintain that process that we put together and carry that through to Las Vegas. We had some good luck at Phoenix, but a good part of the success was performance driven. We ran our team best at...
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (March 17, 2016) – Second generation A/Fuel Dragster pilot Megan Meyer will begin her 2016 NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster campaign this weekend at the NHRA east coast opener, the 47th Annual NHRA Gatornationals, March 18-20. Meyer will compete in a nitro-injected dragster owned and tuned by her father, 2007 and 2015 Gatornationals event champion Randy Meyer.

“I feel a little extra pressure and a little extra confidence,” Megan said. “We’re confident because we won it last year, but this is a new car and a new driver. This is my first national event so I’m a little nervous about that. It’s a bigger stage than a regional event. We had some great results with this car at Pomona, so I think we’re heading in the right direction.”

Gainesville Raceway is a special place for Megan, not just because of her father’s history, but because of her own as well. It’s where she earned her Super Comp and Top Alcohol Dragster licenses, but she’s never actually competed at the historic track.

“I participated in Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School with my Super Comp dragster when I was 16 years old, and it was a great learning experience to transition from junior dragster to Super Comp. Two years later I was back on the track getting my feet wet with our Top Alcohol Dragster. I remember that day very well because a few of the Top Fuel teams stayed to test, and I felt very privileged to be able to run behind them for the very first time. This experience helped put everything into perspective as to where I could take myself in this sport. I grew better as a driver each time we returned to Gainesville, and last year I made a huge stepping stone of running a 5.29 ET pass and had the help of Dave Hirata to sign off on my TAD licensing pass. So it is very fitting to have my first NHRA National race at the Gatornationals.”

The Gatornationals will be Meyer’s first of 18 events scheduled for her true “rookie” season. One of the aspects she’s most looking forward to is...