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Demke Races to Phoenix Regional Final Round

CHANDLER, Ariz. (March 4) – Maddern Racing driver Chris Demke added another final round appearance to his national championship title defense last weekend at the NHRA West Region event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. The 2015 Winternationals champion qualified No. 1 and laid down the quickest passes in the first two eliminations rounds before an engine failure stopped him in the final round. Maddern Racing also wrapped up their planned two-race schedule with the experimental “X” car driven by Ray Martin.

“Qualifying went well. We ran a 5.30 out of the box, which was a great baseline. Ray and the X car were right behind me so we were one and two after the first round of qualifying. The crew hopped up my car and once we got a good run on the X car we experimented with some stuff. While the experiment didn't help the performance on the second run, we did learn a good bit of knowledge on a particular area of the tune-up. With Joey (Severance) ripping off a 5.28, I knew I would need a good run to beat that. We ended up one and four, which meant Ray and I would face each other in the semis if we both won first round,” Demke noted.

A Maddern Racing match-up in the semifinals wasn't meant to be, as Martin bowed out in his race against Johnny Ahten. Demke made up for it, though, beating Ahten with a 5.275, a step up from the 5.305 he ran first round.
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Two-Car Maddern Racing Team Rolls on to Phoenix Regional

CHANDLER, Ariz. (February 26, 2015) – For the second year in a row, Top Alcohol Dragster's Chris Demke rolls into the Phoenix NHRA regional event as the winner of the recent NHRA Winternationals. Though opening the 2015 season with a win provides a confidence boost, Demke and his Maddern Racing team won't let it get to their heads this weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

“I would say I'm optimistically cautious,” Demke said. “While Pomona, the end result was great, how the weekend went certainly wasn't perfect. We had some growing pains running both cars. Last year, while we started out the year with a win at Pomona, things started going downhill at Phoenix. We want to make sure we keep all of our ducks in a row and our performance levels where they should be. We spent the last couple weeks preparing the Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products champ car for Phoenix and going over the X car to see what went wrong. We've got a good idea of what failed and we've taken the steps to correct it.”

Demke speaks of the engine problem and consequential supercharger backfire on the team's experimental 'X' car driven by Ray Martin in the semifinal at the Winternationals. With a full weekend of data and experience on the X car crew, coming from Clint Thompson's TA/FC team, Maddern Racing can look ahead to better numbers at Phoenix.

“Had... [Read More]

PEAK Team Repeats Gainesville Regional Win

Alligators and palm trees must be Duane Shields’ good luck charm since he won another race in Gainesville, Florida for the fourth straight time! This time the win came at the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series regional event which he also won last season. This race was a blockbuster for Top Alcohol fans as the full field produced an incredible 5.17 ET by Richard Bourke. “Any time someone lays down a 5.17 you know the track conditions are excellent and it sets the stage for a premier event to win,” said Duane, who qualified second with a 5.25 at 272 MPH. “On the first qualifying run we wanted to make a good pass and get safely in the show. Once we did that we turned it up to see how quick we could go without smoking the tires,” Duane explained.

In round one, Duane faced Top Alcohol Dragster legend Tom Conway who was driving John Finke’s new car. “The first round was a wild card. John Finke brought out a new car and we knew that Tom Conway can really tune a dragster so we really didn’t know what to expect,” Duane said. It turned out that the PEAK team had little to worry about as Duane was first out of the gate and then Conway shook the tires while Duane posted a respectable 5.35 at 268 MPH to take an easy win.

In the semi finals, Duane faced another great driver, Rich McPhillips. Again, Duane was out first with a .042 to McPhillip’s 0.058 and just like in... [Read More]

Record 5.41 Pass Could Be Just the Beginning for Glassby

Just over a week ago Craig Glassby recorded the quickest ever Top Alcohol Funny Car pass in the world, beating US Top Alcohol legend Frank Manzo’s 5.411 by 1000th of a second in the semi finals of the 44th Westernationals at Perth Motorplex.

The Glassby team would be forgiven for shouting their achievement from the rooftops but instead they are quick to point out that they don't compare their achievement to Manzo's, as ANDRA rules allow for a higher blower overdrive.

“Manzo's time has stood as a benchmark and a target for alcohol racers since 2011, and passing that mark was our first step towards hopefully quicker times that we feel are possible under the Aussie rules,” said Glassby.

The Westernationals were just Glassby’s third national Top Alcohol ANDRA Drag Racing Series event resulting in his third runner up in as many attempts, going down to 16-time Top Alcohol champion Gary Phillips in the final.

By no means new to Drag Racing, Glassby’s rise from Group Two AA/FC competitor to Group One world record holder in just a few short seasons with veteran Crew Chief Greg Gower by his side is no less impressive.

“My crew are all friends of mine,” explains Glassby. “They are carpenters, sheet metal workers, chippies, they are all friends of mine and we've worked together for a long time.”

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One11 Ink and Ahten Make Memorable Winternationals Debut

Pomona, CA – Right out of the box, Johnny Ahten and his new sponsor One11 Ink gave fellow racers and fans a reason to watch. The new look Stump Puller designed and wrapped by One11 Ink showcased what the Valencia, CA company can do, and then it was Ahten’s turn to shine as he uncapped a 5.295/264.39 pass during the first qualifying session Thursday afternoon. The Pomona show and go was on at the drags.

“It was great to get back in the car, and back to running twenties,” said Ahten. “On top of running well, the reaction from the public on the wrap was fantastic. The guys from One11 Ink knocked it out of the park, and we look forward to a few new looks this year.”

Thursday’s stout numbers put Ahten in the number two position going into Friday’s session. The morning qualifying run was over early when the car lost traction at the hit. Saturday morning‘s qualifying session provided a chance for Johnny to practice his pedaling skills as he had to navigate through some shake. A 5.403/265.59 pass was the result. Johnny would go into eliminations in the number four position and face Duane Shields in round one.

Saturday afternoon’s round one match up with Duane Shields started off with Johnny getting off the line first, but down track the Stump Puller began to lose fire in a few cylinders. Shield’s 5.269/271.84 proved to be too strong for... [Read More]

PEAK Team Has a Solid Weekend in Pomona But Loses in Quarterfinals

POMONA, Calif. - Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team were looking to repeat the winning formula at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals which they had found on their last trip to Pomona in November. But sadly they came up a little short on this trip. Overall, it was a good weekend for the PEAK team which ended in a very close race in the quarterfinals on Sunday. “It was a good start to the season but we ended up on the losing end of the tightest race of the weekend,” Duane mentioned.

At the start of qualifying on Thursday, Duane ripped off a 5.41 at 257 MPH right out of the box to qualify in the 6th position. But the PEAK Dragster eventually dropped to 13th by the conclusion of qualifying. This would match him up in the first round with local firefighter, Johnny Ahten, who qualified 4th with a 5.29.

As the start of eliminations rolled around on Saturday afternoon, the fans were about to see a showdown between two of the quickest A/Fuel Dragsters from the Southwest. When the lights came down, both cars left the starting line at nearly the same time with Ahten getting a slight advantage with a .040 to Duane’s .048. Duane quickly took over the lead as Ahten dropped some cylinders down track. At the finish line it was clearly a PEAK victory as Duane stopped the clock with a sizzling 5.26 at 271 MPH to Ahten’s 5.38... [Read More]

Demke Picks Up Fourth Winternationals Win

POMONA, Calif. (February 10) – For the fourth time in his career, Maddern Racing driver Chris Demke started the new season with a Circle K NHRA Winternationals victory last weekend. Demke and team worked through the challenges of their own car and a new team car to claim the California native's 16th Top Alcohol Dragster national event win.

In addition to Demke's championship car, Maddern Racing was fielding an experimental car with driver Ray Martin and car chief Kirk Kuhns. The results of the two cars surpassed most everyone's expectations as both cars advanced to the semifinals before Demke went on to win the race.

“After having won a championship, I was confident in our guys. I was confident in our ability to put the car I was driving back together in championship form and come out swinging. We had the added challenge of bringing a second car into the mix, the X car. But we had a great bunch of guys working on that car. Ray Martin is an excellent driver and he's adapted to the car quickly. We had Kirk come in to serve as the car chief on that car and it was a pleasure to work with him. He's a great guy and I look forward to future opportunities with him,” Demke noted.

While Martin's car was off to a great start, qualifying sixth with a 5.311 ET, Demke's car was struggling. The championship car went into eliminations from the eight spot.... [Read More]

Ferre Looks to Ride the Wave of World Finals Success into 2015 Season

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (February 5)- Fresh off of a runner-up at the closing race of the 2014 season, Cameron Ferré has been itching to get back into the seat of Larry Miersch’s nitro injected A-Fuel dragster. This weekend Ferré will begin his second season competing in the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster class, piloting the Miersch-owned dragster, at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

“Racing at Auto Club Raceway has always held a soft place to my heart, I have been fortunate enough to stand in the winner’s circle here once before after bringing the Wally home in the Super Comp category at the 2012 NHRA Auto Club Finals. This is a home track race for Miersch and the team, it is very rare that we are able to have all of our friends and family out here cheering us one,” Ferré said.

Ferré, Miersch and team came so close to grabbing the Wally at the Auto Club Finals last year but fell short to Duane Shields in the final round. Team owner, Larry Miersch, stated, “We blew it up bad in the semis and fell short on parts. We are coming into the season with fresh parts and going to throw the same tune-up that we gave the car at the finals but hoping for the better result.”

Ferré is returning to competition this weekend with sponsor backing from Racepak Data Systems, Coldcock Whiskey, Popeye Energy,... [Read More]

Sanford Looks to Impress at Season-Opening Home Race

POMONA, Calif. (February 4) – Southern California native Ashley Sanford begins her third season in the NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster class this weekend at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway.

The excitement surrounding the season-opening race is present in Sanford's Gelish/Lucas Oil pit, but the Fullerton resident does have mixed feelings about racing at Pomona. Sanford was successful at several tracks across the country last year, but she has only qualified at her home track once in three attempts.

“It's kind of a bittersweet excitement only because for some reason we have not been able to figure out Pomona yet. I love it because it's my home track and I grew up coming to the races here but we have still not made a full pull on that track,” Sanford noted.

The former sand drag racer is confident that will change this weekend, adding, “Going into this I have a really good feeling about it. It's the season opener. It's going to be exciting no matter what and the adrenaline is going to be pumping.”

Sanford is returning with a loyal sponsor line-up, beginning with Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish and Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer.

“I'm super excited to say we still have Gelish and Morgan Taylor on board as our main sponsors. Very happy to say we have Lucas Oil returning on a bigger level. CP-Carrillo... [Read More]

Hunter Back at Pomona for Second Season with Synoil Racing TA/FC Team

POMONA, Calif. (February 4) – The annual return to sunny California for the Circle K NHRA Winternationals is always a special time for Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Greg Hunter. Not just because it's the first race of the season, but also because of the history of Auto Club Raceway at Pomona and the part it played in Hunter's racing career.

“Pomona to me is the birthplace of drag racing. It just has the great California drag racing vibe. When you go there you can feel it in the air. I just love it. If I could live near the race track I think I would, that's how much I love it there. Or maybe in between the race track and the beach,” Hunter jokes.

“The first national event I attended was the World Finals at Pomona 20 years ago. I came home and immediately decided I wanted to go racing so I started the following year. This is actually my 20th year racing.”

Hunter, now in his second year driving for Canadian drag racing legend Geoff Goodwin, scored his first regional event victory and reached a national event semifinal last year before suffering a couple tough breaks to finish the year. One of those tough losses was a wild first round pedalfest at the Finals at Pomona, so Hunter and the Synoil Energy Services/Exact Air team are looking for some redemption this weekend.

“We're feeling pretty confident.... [Read More]

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