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Johnny Ahten's Northwest Nationals Menu Plan

Kent, WA. – The entry list for this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways is a recipe for quick times and fast speeds in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. Johnny Ahten and the Island Renovations / Combust Filters Team have all the ingredients they need and a plan to serve it up proper. The last few races have proved that the Stump Puller is capable of running a number. Last year Ahten Racing qualified in the second position and look to fair well again this year.

“We are going to pick up where we left off at Woodburn,” said Ahten. “Our tune-up is strong and we ran fast and hard. I look at all the trees here and am amazed at the splendor. It is a beautiful track, but I am looking to see some majestic numbers on the scoreboard. We have a good handle on the car and all I have to do is concentrate on my craft,” added Ahten.

Ahten Racing is now stronger because of the support of long time sponsor Island Renovations. The Hawaiian home improvement company and owner/Ahten Racing partner Howard Katano have blessed the car and trailer with many new go-fast parts. Katano will be assisting crew chief Al Ahten this weekend along with Kevin Colvell and Chuck Costabile. Johnny Ahten will once again handle driving and clutch duties for the weekend.

The 2014 Northwest Nationals marks the one year anniversary of the debut of the new-look... [Read More]
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Sanford Enters Northwest Nationals with New Support from Morgan Taylor Nail Lacquer

SEATTLE (August 1) – After a few months away from the racetrack, 20-year old Ashley Sanford is more than ready to strap into her Gelish Nail Polish/Lucas Oil A/Fuel Dragster at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals, August 1-3. Refreshed with new parts, a spare motor, and motivation from promising performance at their last race, the SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas in March, Sanford and team head back into a consecutive stretch of racing.

“Keeping up with the results is pretty much the closest we've been to racing since Vegas,” Sanford said. “Ever since that race I was hoping the time between races would fly by and fortunately it did. What's great is now we're going to be busy. We have at least one race per month until the Finals in November.

“I haven't raced since March, but the team has stayed busy over the summer to prepare for these races. We tested at Bakersfield one weekend. While we didn't get the data that we were looking for, we did learn something and I received valuable seat time. I also want to thank my team for their hard work putting together our spare motor.”

The Northwest Nationals is the debut race for a new Ashley Sanford Racing sponsor, joining prominent supporters Gelish Soak-Off Gel Polish, Lucas Oil, and America's Best Value Inns on the pink and white... [Read More]
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Northwesterner Greg Hunter Chasing First Win at Northwest Nationals

SEATTLE (July 31) – Northwest native Greg Hunter will race at his home national event this weekend. Driving the Synoil Energy Services/ExactAir Top Alcohol Funny Car, Hunter is competing at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, August 1-3. Despite having four months off since their last national event, Greg and the Geoff Goodwin-led Synoil Racing team are excited to improve upon their performance and race for their first Wally together.

“Our last NHRA national event was the SummitRacing.com Nationals in March, where we reached the semifinals. Over July 4th weekend we ran a match race at the IHRA Rocky Mountain Nationals with John Evanchuk. A lot of our sponsors were in attendance and the car ran well. Since then I've been doing a lot of business stuff with work – that has been going very well – so it'll be nice to go out to Seattle and race again. It's been a while since we've been back at the track and back at an NHRA national event,” Hunter claimed.

Hunter, who resides in Wyoming, last raced at the Northwest Nationals in 2013 behind the wheel of a blown Top Alcohol Dragster. Seattle was the site of his first national event race with his own TAFC in 2004. Now he's back in a methanol-burning Funny Car, eager to push deep into eliminations in front of a home crowd.

“Seattle is one of... [Read More]
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Demke Returns to West Coast for Northwest Nationals

SEATTLE (July 31) – Maddern Racing driver Chris Demke returns to the west coast this weekend for the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways, August 1-3. He brings with him the Top Alcohol Dragster national points lead, as well as Wallys from recent wins at Billings, Chicago and Columbus. Momentum and a history of success at Seattle will fuel the California team as they race for national event win number three of the season.

“This is a continuation of that road trip. The car hasn't been back to the shop since it left for Topeka in May. Certainly these last few races have squared our shoulders and given our team a bit of a swagger, but I can't discount the competition that's going to be at Seattle. It's the same bunch of guys that we avoided by going to Columbus instead of Woodburn. Now we're going to face the facts that we have to race these guys. We're going to give it our best. It won't be easy but I think we have a good tune-up for Seattle,” Demke claimed.

Realizing the potential of the competition, Chris Demke knows that his team can't miss a step as the 2014 season reaches the tail end of the summer stretch.

“Everybody is patting me on the back for having the points lead. It's a great position to be in but the season is far from over. Our team can't let our guard down. We have to stay aggressive and keep... [Read More]
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Germain Perseveres in the Face of Adversity

If Dave Germain were most people, he would have quit a long time ago.

"We keep thinking we have it figured out, and we keep finding out we don't," says Germain, veteran driver of the Tigercat Top Alcohol Funny Car and a retired firefighter with the patience of Job. "You drive away from the race track Sunday and ask yourself, 'What the hell did we do wrong?' "

Germain has two DNQs and a first-round loss so far this year. Last year, it was four DNQs, a first-round loss, and a second-round loss. The year before that, it was two first-round losses and two DNQs, and the year before that, three first-round losses and a second-round loss. In 2010, he had two first-round losses and a DNQ, in '09 it was three first-round losses and two DNQs, and in '08 he DNQed in his only appearance. That's two round-wins in seven years. A lesser man would've given up.

"You get home from a race," Germain says, "and people will come up and ask you, 'Well, did you win?' The next race: 'Did you win this time?' Next race, same thing. Hell no I didn't win. It's kinda tough out there, you know?"

"I don't know how he's done it," says Eric Krume, Germain's partner on the car, who works about 18 hours a day at Krume Logging and in his "free time" serves as Germain's crew chief. "I don't know what keeps Dave going, but he's always smiling, always happy. I like to... [Read More]
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Ferre Set to Make Top Alcohol Dragster Debut

Cameron Ferre is looking forward to reaching another landmark in his racing career. At this weekend’s O’Reilly NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, the 29-year-old California State University Fullerton graduate will be competing in the Top Alcohol Dragster category for the first time.

Ferre has had success throughout his ascension up the world’s fastest-accelerating motorsport from the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League, where he was the 2002 Western Conference Finals champion, through the NHRA Lucas Oil categories in which he captured a victory at the 2012 Auto Club NHRA Finals in Super Comp. Ferre, who finished in the quarterfinals of Super Comp at last weekend’s NHRA Sonoma Nationals, hopes to carry that forward in his debut behind the wheel of Larry Miersch’s nitro-burning A/Fuel dragster.

Ferre made three runs in the dragster at Auto Club Famoso Raceway to upgrade his competition license. His last attempt was a 5.60-second, 262-mph pass.

“I’m pretty stoked,” said Ferre. “I can’t wait. That thing is a kick in the pants. It picks up and trucks on the back-half.”

The Huntington Beach, Calif., resident began talks with Miersch about driving long ago and received the chance to learn the mechanical side of the car prior to buckling into the cockpit. Miersch gained additional confidence in Ferre’s... [Read More]
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Demke Pads Points Lead with Columbus Regional Win

HEBRON, Ohio (July 22) – NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster national points leader Chris Demke added a second regional event win to his 2014 scorecard last weekend when he won the Buckeye Fuel Wars race. Racing at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Demke qualified No. 1 and scored the win to extend his points lead to almost one hundred points over Joey Severance. The win was the third in a stretch of races that included four events spread out between Montana and Ohio.

Demke put the Peen Rite/OSI/Boost Performance Products dragster in the top spot during Friday's opening qualifying session, running 5.358 at 270 MPH. Saturday rain showers forced the cancellation of one session, leaving teams with a final evening session. Few teams improved and the few that did improve didn't run better than 5.358, so the Maddern Racing team elected to skip the run.

Through eliminations Demke would face three Midwest-based nitro-injected A/Fuel dragsters. The first was Tripp Tatum, who qualified No. 8 with a 5.45. The race was close with Chris finishing first, 5.404 to Tripp's 5.424.

The Jerry Maddern-led team anticipated a challenge in the semifinals, as five-time national champion Bill Reichert would be their opponent.

“You can never take that guy lightly,” Demke said of Reichert. “He's a multi-time champion and he's probably beaten me more... [Read More]
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Strong Woodburn Outing for Ahten

Woodburn, Ore. – A strong 5.370/261.24 qualifying effort garnered Johnny Ahten the number two qualifying position at last weekend’s NHRA West Regional race at Woodburn Dragstrip. That was the good news. The not so good news was the first round red light. On the other hand, the 5.33/267.37 Johnny posted after a .005 foul showed the power of the Stump Puller and Ahten Racing’s tune-up.

“After the burnout I went to stage, and I had trouble holding it in the lights. I yanked on the brake handle but it just wouldn't hold," said Ahten. "In retrospect, I could have of dragged the brakes harder during the burnout. My Dad and the crew gave me a great racecar and it stinks I went red. It was on a run too. I carried the wheels for 1.8 seconds and picked them up two more times in route to that 5.33 run. The weather was crazy all weekend. The rain with thunder and lightning was really something. Joey Severance and the people at Woodburn Dragstrip really worked their tails off and gave us a great racing surface. This was my first time racing here and I was really impressed," acknowledged Ahten.

"Our first qualifying pass was a planned check-out run that netted 5.502/252.80. That put us #4 and we were ready for more. Our second qualifying pass was later in the day on a 136° track. The Island Renovations / Combust Filters dragster motored right down there to a 5.370/261.24. That... [Read More]
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Corey Michalek Qualifies the KAG A/Fuel Dragster into a Stout Norwalk Field

The MBR/Dreher Motorsports A/fuel dragster entry sponsored by the Kenan Advantage Group (KAG) and Champion Spark Plugs qualified #11 amongst a field of 21 of the nation’s premier Top Alcohol Dragster drivers at the 8th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, OH. Taking place over the course of a picture-perfect 4th of July weekend, this was the team’s third NHRA national event appearance as competitors; all of which MBR has successfully made the qualifying field.

Rookie driver Corey Michalek returned to the seat for the second time this year, and the team started the weekend out with a strong 5.455 second elapsed time at 262.03mph during Q1. During the second round of qualifying, the team had an aborted run due to tire shake and ended day 1 in the #10 qualifying spot. The 3,500 horsepower KAG A/fueler took the track one last time early Saturday afternoon and improved on its initial qualifying time by running a 5.445 second lap at 257.73mph to secure the #11 spot in the ladder. Unfortunately, during the process, parts attrition took its toll and MBR’s weekend came to an end before contesting the first round of eliminations.

Fresh off his second event of NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster competition, rookie driver Corey Michalek evaluated the team’s performance.

“Obviously we want to do well every time we... [Read More]
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Demke Reaches Semifinals at First Norwalk Appearance

NORWALK, Ohio (July 8) – A semifinal finish at one of the toughest races of the season, the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, puts Chris Demke at the top of the Top Alcohol Dragster national points standings. A close race against another stout blown alcohol competitor ended Chris' day in the penultimate round, but the upbeat Californian driver is still content with his recent performance.

Demke qualified the Peen Rite/OSI/Boost Performance Products dragster in the No. 5 spot, running 5.413, 5.344, and 5.434 in the Midwest heat. The Jerry Maddern-owned entry continued to perform in the low 5.4-to-5.3 range as eliminations began on Saturday with a 5.349 first round win over a tire-smoking Dan Page.

Chris eliminated successful Super-class racer Mia Tedesco in the second round in a 5.401 to 5.483 decision. His day would end in the next round when an uncharacteristically-late reaction time and 5.334 pass weren't enough to beat driver Mark Taliaferro and multi-time world champion tuner Norm Grimes, who ran 5.287 to move on.

“What I learned in Chicago is that you always have a chance,” Demke said, referencing his recent upset win. “I certainly went into the semifinals feeling like the underdog. Mark has Norm Grimes tuning his car, and you can see by his elapsed time and mile-per-hour on that run that Norm turned the knobs on high.... [Read More]
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