19 Times Australian Champion, Gary Phillips has continued to celebrate an outstanding 20 years of partnership with Lucas Oil, by claiming victory in his Lucas Oil 1953 Studebaker Pro Slammer, at last weekend's Nitro Thunder event at Sydney Dragway.

After making significant changes to the car's suspension set up, the team was rewarded with their first ever runs into the 5.7 second zone (with a 5.760 and a final round winning 5.722).

"We fitted the latest shock technology available from JRi to the car, and instantly saw an improvement. It's a dream to drive now ", said Phillips.

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The first round saw Gary turn on the win light with a 6.13 at 244 after some tyre shake and a big pedal. The team was excited after seeing some promising early data, along with a .981 sixty foot time, and proceeded to make the necessary changes to the set up for the second round. The changes worked well in the second round, with a 5.76 at 246mph showing on the scoreboard.

"As we said in our pre-event media release, we've known that we had the power to run quick, it was just our suspension set up that was letting us down. We were going to chase our early incrementals, and were rewarded well."

Eager to back up the second round performance, some other small changes were made and after running 3.77 at 203mph to the eighth mile, Gary stopped the finish line clocks in 5.722 seconds at 249mph, to take the final round win over Victor Bray. This now makes Gary the 3rd quickest Slammer in Australia, behind only John Zappia and Ben Bray. The win also puts Gary into 2nd place in the 400 Thunder Championship, just 39 points behind the leader, Mark Belleri, with one event remaining.

Gary and his Lucas Oil team were pulling double duty on the weekend, competing with the Pro Alcohol Funny Car as well. After laying down low ET and top speed of the event in the first round of racing with a 5.42 at 266mph, the team missed the setup for the ever changing track conditions for...
Charlotte - It was a seesaw battle for the pole position at the NHRA Four Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway and Duane Shields came out on top. Duane started out in the opening qualifying session in the number one position with a 5.34 at 275 MPH blast. In the second session, the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster rang up another 5.34 at 275 MPH but dropped one notch to second in the qualifying order. Then, in the final session Duane was back on top with a sizzling 5.29 @ 273 MPH. “The car is running good right now. We did some testing in Richmond prior to the rainout and took care of a few small problems that we noticed in Gainesville” Duane said.

Because Duane qualified in the pole position he was awarded a solo run in round one during eliminations. In the opening round, Duane made another impressive run scoring a 5.35 at 270 MPH which was low ET for the round.

In round two, Duane raced Justin Ashley from Plainview, NY. At the hit, Ashley got a slight advantage off the starting line with an .036 to Duane’s .043. “I had a close reaction time to his so we didn’t give him a lot to work with at the starting line”. Unfortunately for Duane, his car went up in smoke as it lost traction while Ashley was on a clean run and took the win. “It blind sided us! It was crushing to the whole team. I didn’t have to pedal it all weekend and the car got down the track smoothly on every pass. We didn’t change the tune up and the weather changed only slightly. The only thing that changed was the day. So, maybe the track went away on Sunday when we lost traction” Duane explained.

Next, the PEAK Team travels to Norwalk, Ohio for the Lucas Oil Regional event, May 19-21. “We’re certainly competitive and we can’t back it down because the competition is so tough. It’s just a matter of time before we break through and get a win” Duane predicted. Duane would like to thank his sponsors PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises....
With an exceptional number of round wins at the NHRA SpringNationals, the Randy Meyer Racing Team had high hopes going into the 2017 national event at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas. Driver Megan Meyer powered her way to a semi-final finish at the event in 2016 for her rookie debut, and finished in the same position this previous weekend.

Track conditions proved to be tricky for the Top Alcohol Dragster class as many struggled to make it down the track with a clean pass. The Meyers temporarily sat in the number 7th spot with a 5.40 E.T. at 271 mph after the first two sessions on Friday. However, the weather settings changed for the third and final session, and Megan’s A/Fuel dragster fired to the number 3 position with a 5.32 E.T. at 276 mph; the quickest and fastest time of the session.



Moving onto first round Saturday night against Rob McKinley, Megan took the round win with an outstanding 5.19 E.T. at 270 mph run that was quicker than expected. The team then improved on that with a 5.16 E.T. at 274 mph in the second round against Fred Hanssen – outrunning the 2016 National Champion, and current points leader, Joey Severance, who had previously ran a 5.18 E.T.

Although the team was happy with their results, they had some damage to the motor after running two runs in the 5-teens. The semi-final round paired Megan up against her close friend, Mia Tedesco, and both girls struggled to make it down the track. Megan and Mia had to pedal their dragsters twice to try to reach the finish line first, and Mia got a slight lead and took the win with a 6.78 E.T. to Megan’s 6.91 E.T.

“You know, it is always fun to race against your best friend,” Megan claimed. “Mia and I are now 1-1 in national competition and it’s exciting to see who will win next time. Mia has always been one of my toughest competitors and we tried our best to take her down, but it all comes down to seat time and Mia simply has more experience and more years...
HOUSTON (April 23) -- Mia Tedesco made a name for herself last year by becoming the first female driver in class history to win a world title in Super Gas. But "Miss Mia" also is a talented Top Alcohol Dragster driver, as witnessed by her impressive runner-up finish Sunday at the 30th annual NHRA Spring Nationals.

"Coming in with a new car this year and figuring out the bugs, if they had told me we'd go to a final this early in the season I would have taken that in a heartbeat," Tedesco said. "We are very pleased, especially after making the quickest and fastest pass we've ever had in this particular car. It was just a great weekend. Only one person is happier than we are at this point, and that's Joey (Severence)."

Severance simply had the better racecar this weekend. With the trophy on the line, the event's top qualifier beat No. 2 qualifier Tedesco with a stout 5.203 at 275.39 mph to Tedesco's 5.445 at 264.70 mph.

"Joey made a fantastic run just now that would have been hard to beat under any circumstances," Tedesco said. "After the pedalfest against Megan (Meyer) in the semifinals so we knew we had to back it down a little bit to try to get from A-to-B and take a shot at beating Severence. It was hard to get everything together in time for the finals but we did and we ended up having a good race. He was just too much for us today."

Tedesco started strong in the first round of eliminations Saturday night, easily beating 15th-ranked qualifier Karl Brounkowski with a 5.368 at 267.37 mph to Brounkowski's 5.619 at 241.41 mph.

An overnight cooling trend allowed for Tedesco's CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil race team to tune up her dragster even more and she responded with a streaking 5.218 at 272.61 mph to beat Alan Bradshaw, who shutoff early and drifted to a 7.284 at 150.85 mph.

"Conditions were really good that round," Tedesco said. "The track also was really good. I heard some of the Top Fuel and Funny Car making...
HOUSTON (April 23) -- Mia Tedesco made a name for herself last year by becoming the first female driver in class history to win a world title in Super Gas. But "Miss Mia" also is a talented Top Alcohol Dragster driver, as witnessed by her impressive runner-up finish Sunday at the 30th annual NHRA Spring Nationals.

"Coming in with a new car this year and figuring out the bugs, if they had told me we'd go to a final this early in the season I would have taken that in a heartbeat," Tedesco said. "We are very pleased, especially after making the quickest and fastest pass we've ever had in this particular car. It was just a great weekend. Only one person is happier than we are at this point, and that's Joey (Severence)."

Severance simply had the better racecar this weekend. With the trophy on the line, the event's top qualifier beat No. 2 qualifier Tedesco with a stout 5.203 at 275.39 mph to Tedesco's 5.445 at 264.70 mph.

"Joey made a fantastic run just now that would have been hard to beat under any circumstances," Tedesco said. "After the pedalfest against Megan (Meyer) in the semifinals so we knew we had to back it down a little bit to try to get from A-to-B and take a shot at beating Severence. It was hard to get everything together in time for the finals but we did and we ended up having a good race. He was just too much for us today."

Tedesco started strong in the first round of eliminations Saturday night, easily beating 15th-ranked qualifier Karl Brounkowski with a 5.368 at 267.37 mph to Brounkowski's 5.619 at 241.41 mph.

An overnight cooling trend allowed for Tedesco's CARS Vehicle Service Contracts/Schepel Motors/NGK/Lucas Oil race team to tune up her dragster even more and she responded with a streaking 5.218 at 272.61 mph to beat Alan Bradshaw, who shutoff early and drifted to a 7.284 at 150.85 mph.

"Conditions were really good that round," Tedesco said. "The track also was really good. I heard some of the Top Fuel and Funny Car making...
At the NHRA Nitro on the Bayou event held at No Problem Raceway last year, Megan Meyer fought her way to the final round but came up a few thousandths short of a victory. This year, the Louisiana-based track saw her dominate the field and take home the win.

Tuned by her father and World Champion driver, Randy Meyer, Megan claimed the number one spot in her first hit down the track with a 5.26 E.T. at 275 mph. Out of the 14 dragsters at the event, she held the top spot even after sitting out the third qualifying session. The opening round of eliminations on Sunday paired Megan up against Dean Dubbin, who could not get the car into reverse after his burnout and had to escort the car immediately. On her solo run, Megan slowed to a 5.33 E.T. at 274 mph but still held lane choice for second round.

“It’s unfortunate for Dean and his team to not be able to make the pass first round,” Megan said. “Dean is a good friend of ours and they are just working out the kinks in their new Copeland-built dragster. It’s never in our interest to take a win on a bye. I love competing against these guys and I cheer them on even if they take me out.”

The Meyer family defeated Robin Samsel in the second round of eliminations with a 5.32 E.T. at 273 mph, but noticed a puff of smoke at the top end of the track, resulting in a hurt cylinder head. The team quickly replaced the head and made sure it was firing on all 8 before heading up to the staging lanes to face Jackie Fricke. This is the third time that two females have faced each other in the finals at a regional race. Megan was off the line first and ran the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend, also setting the track record, with a 5.23 E.T. at 279 mph for the Nitro on the Bayou win.

Annie Whiteley also won in Top Alcohol Funny Car, making it the first time that two female drivers in the Alcohol classes have won an event.

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“This is a weekend to remember,” Megan stated....
Las Vegas, NV. – At last weekend’s NHRA Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Johnny Ahten grabbed the No.1 qualifying position and is looking to carry that positive vibe over to Regional action this weekend.

“Grabbing the No.1 qualifying spot felt great under difficult weather and track conditions,” said Ahten. “Our 5.322@265.53 on Friday was enough to hold up throughout qualifying. Then we got a first round win over James Stevens on a holeshot, with his 5.379@266.95 being quicker than our 5.426@267.80. Lady Luck was on our side on that one. We went into Sunday’s second round with high expectations, but we suffered a tough loss. Our pit space was very quiet for quite a while. We are going to make best of that experience and move on. We all are very motivated to go back racing."

This weekend’s Regional event will have its own set of challenges. Many of the top hitters will be in attendance. There are also a few nagging issues mechanically that Johnny, crew chief Al Ahten and racing partner Howard Katano need to sort through. Bob Ahten and Kevin “Shark Colvell will be there to make sure things are right and tight.



Regional events are not as busy as National events, but the stress of strong competition and the desire to win still looms large. The Island Renovations / Combust Filters team is motivated and hungry. Once again this weekend, associate sponsors DJ Safety and EPHA products are being highlighted.

If Johnny Ahten has his way, there will be many Regional highlights to share. He has not given up on Lady Luck, instead choosing to make his own with the help of the Stump Puller, his crew and determination. Stay in touch with Johnny and Ahten Racing at facebook.com/JohnnyAhtenRacing, and on Twitter and Instagram at: @Ahtenracing and on Pinterest at pinterest.com/Ahten



Island Renovations understands the complexity of Hawaii's homes and their customers’ needs. Whether you are looking to...
Las Vegas, NV. – Johnny Ahten is not the kind of guy to take chances, but this weekend in Las Vegas at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals it’s time to step up at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The first two races of the year have not yielded the results Ahten is looking for. Now just a few miles from the craps tables and slot machines, he is looking for just a small handout from lady luck.

“I’m not real big on hitting the casinos, the only thing I want in my hand this weekend is a steering wheel and brake handle,” said Ahten. “There’s only one way to beat a royal flush, and that’s with an A/Fuel dragster. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and give us some good air and low temps. Our team has put the work in and so far we have been rewarded with more work.”

In the weeks following the Phoenix regional, Johnny and Al Ahten installed a fresh motor, went through the tune-up options and they are now ready to deal with whatever the tricky track and stiff competition brings.

“We have run well in Vegas and the last time we raced here at the Fall Regional race we runner-upped,” added Ahten.

Major sponsors Island Renovations and Combust Filters remain, with the Vegas spotlights shining on featured sponsors DJ Safety and EPHA products. Making sure the Stump Puller is up to task is crew chief Al Ahten,racing partner Howard Katano, Bob Ahten, Kevin "Shark" Colvell, John Mark and Bobby Langston lending a hand. Johnny Ahten will continue his clutch management duties, all the while keeping an eye out for that lucky lady.

Stay in touch with Johnny and Ahten Racing at facebook.com/JohnnyAhtenRacing, and on Twitter and Instagram at: @Ahtenracing and on Pinterest at pinterest.com/ahten




Island Renovations understands the complexity of Hawaii's homes and their customers’ needs. Whether you are looking to build, remodel, or replace your existing windows and doors, Island Renovations is there to provide outstanding service...
Words Brad Littlefield

The successful national event debut of Justin Ashley in Top Alcohol Dragster could figuratively be described as being shot out of a cannon.

That's what the 22-year-old driver must have felt like in a physical sense with how hard the Epic Motorsports Marketing/Randy Meyer Racing A/Fuel dragster planted him in the seat during a barrage of 5.1-second, 280-mph performances.

Ashley, son of former Funny Car and Pro Mod competitor Mike, added the New York-based family to the list of NHRA family winners in a dominant performance. He ran a 5.150, now the sixth-quickest run in class history, right off the trailer and followed that up with a 5.143, the fourth-quickest run ever. He and teammate Megan Meyer, who won the East Region opener the previous weekend, qualified Nos. 1 and 2 with Meyer running a 5.153 which equaled the ninth-quickest run ever.

“It’s a big help,” Ashley said of his teammate. “It’s very easy to relate because of the similarities – we’re around the same age, both our fathers raced for a long time, things like that. To be able to lean on someone for guidance and understanding how to drive better is huge. She has been tremendously helpful to me.”

Ashley was also aided by the flawless preparation of the entry by the Randy Meyer Racing team and the mental pointers by his father.

“It makes my job that much easier as a driver,” said Ashley. “I used the same approach in the first qualifying round as I did in the final. I tried to do everything right mechanically, cut the best light I could, and keep it straight. Randy Meyer did everything he possibly could to make my job easy.”

Ashley stayed mired in the 5.1s throughout eliminations until he took on defending event champion and class veteran Rich McPhillips in the final. The injected nitro burners traded the lead a couple times until Ashley’s horsepower won out to grant the impressive rookie his first victory 5.232 to 5.258 decision.

“The race was back and forth, and I had...
At the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., Annie and Steven Whiteley became the first mother and son in NHRA history to double up at a national event, Annie scoring for the fourth time in her Top Alcohol Funny Car career and Steven for the first time ever in Pro Mod.

Team leader Jim Whiteley termed the landmark double-up for his wife and son nothing less than the highlight of his illustrious career. "This means more than any race I ever won," said Jim, who won 24 national events, 24 divisionals races, and two NHRA championships in Top Alcohol Dragster. "If none of us ever wins again, this weekend makes my whole drag racing career worthwhile."

Both started from the No. 5 spot – Annie with a 5.45 and Steven with a 5.80 that topped the early qualifying charts – and both made the fastest runs of their lives in the final. Annie hit 273.22 mph on a single when two-time Gatornationals winner Dan Pomponio was unable to appear. Steven hit 253.52 mph in a career-best 5.791 seconds to train-length runner-up Mike Castellana, whose Frank Manzo-tuned entry blew the tires off in low gear in the Pro Mod finale.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling," said Steven, who ran the Pro Mod final in the very next pair after his mom scored in TAFC. "When she won, it really sent the pressure on me through the roof. I thought, 'Now, I have to win this thing.' "

Annie faced a different kind of pressure. "It's weird being on a single in the final," she said. "You think of the ignition quitting or some dumb little thing breaking. What happens then? Does nobody win? I didn't really know. I made sure the Tree was definitely on, left, and it was just a perfect run." Her 5.41 was the second-quickest run of her career, behind only the low e.t. 5.40 she ran in the semifinals against No. 1 qualifier and defending Gainesville champ John Lombardo, and her speed topped the 273.05 she ran in the semi's.