Norwalk, Ohio - Overall it was a good weekend for Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. They were the top qualifier in the Top Alcohol Dragster class and the car is running stellar. It was all good except for and unexpected change of plans in round two when the car smoked the tires at the wrong possible time thus ending the weekend early for the popular Nevada driver.

Duane qualified on the pole with a 5.30 at 271 MPH which set up a first round appointment with John Gutierrez in round one. It was not an easy race to win even though it appeared to be on paper. Gutierrez got the starting line advantage with an 0.032 to Duane’s 0.087 which gave him an early lead. However, the PEAK Dragster was able to quickly regain the lead and passed Gutierrez in time to grab the finish line stripe. Duane recorded a winning 5.39 at 271 MPH to Gutierrez’s 5.53 at 258 MPH.

In round two, Duane drew Rich McPhillips. At the hit both cars left evenly with McPhillips getting a slight edge. Both cars were side by side when suddenly the PEAK dragster started to lose traction 100 feet out allowing McPhillips to get past him to take the win with a 5.35 at 268 MPH to Duane’s 6.99 at 134 MPH.

"It came as a total surprise to us, we did not expect to smoke the tires. Rich went on to win the race so congratulations to him. The PEAK car is running good even in challenging weather conditions like the heat we experienced here in Norwalk. We are confident the car will run good at the next two races in Lebanon Valley and then the JEGS All Star Race in Chicago the following weekend,” Duane said.

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.
MORRISON, CO (June 15, 2016) – After a physically demanding weekend in the Tulsa heat, Chris Demke and the Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products Top Alcohol Dragster team were able to add the first event win to their 2016 scorecard last weekend. Demke seeks to pick up another NHRA regional event Wally this weekend as the Maddern Racing team competes at Denver’s Bandimere Speedway for the first time in a decade.

Driving the team’s experimental “X-car”, Demke qualified number two at the NHRA Central Region event at Tulsa Raceway Park with a 5.330 elapsed time at 267 mph.

“We had the X-car out for its second race of the year and after two qualifying sessions on Friday, I thought we weren’t pushing that car as hard as it’s capable of running. While consistent, it wasn’t showing what we are capable of. Saturday morning, [car chief] Kevin Watson, [team owner] Jerry Maddern and I sat down and talked about where we were with things and formulated a strategy for the day and what tactics we would use to implement that strategy.”

A strong 5.346 at 268 mph was enough to defeat former Top Fuel driver Spencer Massey’s tire-smoking run in the steamy first round. Demke and his team knew it would take quicker performances to compete with the nitro-injected A/Fuel cars as the temperatures dropped for the later rounds.

“Going into second round, I was nervous about implementing the tactics we had discussed earlier, as it was time to get more aggressive with the tune-up. Kevin Watson stuck by his guns and the car responded by stepping up a good half a tenth,” Demke said of his 5.281 defeat of Mike Manners. “That gave us what we needed to win the second round. We turned the knobs a little harder going into the final and just squeezed one out by seven thousandths of a second against Gord Gingles, a very tough competitor.”

The Maddern Racing team has raced in a wide range of conditions, but Tulsa’s summer heat tried its hardest to handicap the 2014 world champions.

“The race in...
TULSA, Okla. (June 8, 2016) – Chris Demke and the Maddern Racing Top Alcohol Dragster team have raced across the country for over two decades, so it’s not often that the California team pulls into a track they’ve never raced at before. That’s the scenario this week, though, as Demke will compete at the NHRA Central Region event at Tulsa Raceway Park, June 9-12.

“We try to squeeze in a new track every year just to keep us on our toes. We’ve talked with other teams about Tulsa and it sounds like a great facility with a decent racing surface. I don’t think there’s anything different that we do at a new track other than try to enjoy it. It’s like taking a vacation to a place you’ve never been to before. There’s always some added fun and excitement to it,” said Demke, the 2014 TAD world champion.

On a somber note, Demke hopes to honor the memory of past Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster champion Shelly Howard, who passed away in a freak racing accident at Tulsa along with her son, Brian, in 2005.

“I try to remember those who passed away while competing and I won’t forget that this is where Shelly Howard lost her life. It was a very tragic situation. She was a very talented blown alcohol dragster driver,” Demke added.

The Maddern Racing team will be short a couple hands this weekend, as crew member Greg Rice was originally scheduled to miss this race after undergoing knee surgery, but he might still be on-hand to support his teammates.

“Greg is a major asset to this team and it will be a challenge to fill in his place this weekend. He’ll try to make it out to the race to help guide the team as best he can as long as his doctor allows him,” noted Demke, who himself was a Maddern Racing crew member before getting the chance to drive.

Chris Demke and the Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products team will hit the track for Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying sessions at 5 and 8 PM on Friday, June 10. Eliminations are scheduled to begin Saturday at 4 PM and conclude at 10 PM....
Everyone at CP-Carrillo takes extra pride in introducing our newest forging for Hemi engines with cylinder bore sizes from 4.440” to 4.560”, the “TA-X”.

TA-X (2).jpg TA-X (3).jpg

The “TA-X” is a forged side relief (FSR) forging with internal cross bracing that connects the two pin towers to each other. Designed to handle extreme HP levels, like those experienced in blown alcohol and injected nitro applications, there is also the option to internal mill the “TA-X” when natural aspiration or low boost levels are employed. With enough material in the pin boss areas to accommodate a 1.156” diameter wristpin, the “TA-X” is designed for serious race efforts.

The strutted sections from the pin towers to the skirts allow these forgings to be machined with narrower skirts than a round style piston reducing frictional losses. With no loss in stability of the bore due to the use of dedicated skirt profiles specifically for strutted pistons, the “TA-X” culminates in a lighter piston with no loss in performance or durability.

The “TA-X” can accommodate not only standard type pins and buttons like those used in conventional round style pistons, but can also be used with wire locks and shorter pins, (and rail supports for the oil ring if necessary). By eliminating the pin buttons and using a shorter pin, weight savings in the 40-50 gram range are not uncommon.

Additionally because the pin towers can be closer together, there is no loss of pin to piston engagement even when using a shorter pin. The net effect of all these features is a piston with significantly less pin boss and pin bore deflection, resulting in reduced pin and pin bore wear than with other types of forgings.

These design features result in a piston that can actually free up some HP that is lost in a conventional design, due to their constant flexing which causes binding in the wrist pin contact points with the rod and piston.

The “TA-X” can...
Reading PA - Duane Shields, the Defending Champion of both the NHRA national and regional events held at Maplegrove Raceway just missed another trip to the Winner’s Circle at this year’s Lucas Oil Regional where he lost to Rich McPhillips in the final round. Duane qualified third with a 5.34 but was on the outside looking in at the beginning of the final qualifying session. This added a lot of excitement in the grandstands since there was a good turnout of friends and family rooting for Duane. Fortunately, the PEAK team didn’t disappoint the fans as they got the PEAK Dragster into the show during the final session.

To add to the qualifying excitement, the first round was a real squeaker as Duane beat John Finke in a hole shot! Duane had an .062 reaction time to Finke’s .090 and that’s what won the round for Duane even though Finke had a slightly quicker 5.381 to Duane’s ever so close 5.386. “That was a very competitive and close race in the first round especially after being under a lot of pressure just to qualify” Duane said.

In the semifinals, Duane took on Jeff Veale. At the hit, Veale was off the line first with an 0.066 to Duane’s 0.070. As the cars roared down track, the PEAK dragster over powered Veale’s car and took the win with a stout 5.30 at 274 MPH to Veale’s 5.43 at 268 MPH to make it to the finals.

In the final round matched up, Duane faced familiar east coast opponent Rich McPhillips. At the hit Duane struck the tires and went up in smoke. Meanwhile, McPhillips was on a clean pass and took the win. While Duane was glad to have made it to the final round, he was disappointed that his car abruptly lost traction. “We always want to win so I’m obviously disappointed but overall I can’t complain. We qualified for a very tight field and we won the first round on a hole shot and we also had a great run in round two. So, it was still a pretty good weekend for the PEAK team” Duane said.

The PEAK team now moves on to Norwalk, Ohio for the Summit...
NORWALK, Ohio (May 27, 2016) – Past NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster regional champion Brandon Booher added a race win to his 2016 championship effort as he won the Cavalcade of Stars event at Summit Motorsports Park last weekend. The victory also gave Booher enough points to claim the number one spot to represent the North Central Region in the prestigious JEGS Allstars race in July.

Booher was especially pleased to win the Cavalcade of Stars because he only qualified eighth, barely earning the chance to race on Sunday. Tire shake plagued the AB Construction blown alcohol dragster on all three qualifying attempts, but the versatile driver/tuner found a solution for eliminations that brought him victorious runs of 5.447, 5.447, and 5.413 over Jared Dreher, Ken Perry, and Brandon Greco, respectively.

“I kept trying stuff through qualifying and nothing was working,” Booher stressed. “We’d get back from the run, download the Racepak, and it was as if nothing changed, like I made three carbon copy runs. So I decided I needed to do something drastic and run the car in a manner that I had never done before. That’s what it took. I doubt I’ll use those timing graphs ever again. I put some bars in the chassis that Spitzer had added when the car was built to use if needed to add rigidity to the car. I thought, well, it’s biting too much early and then not biting enough so I’ll stiffen it up and take an educated guess at the timing curve. Did it work? Well, it was more of a trophy-winning Band-Aid. It didn’t run phenomenal, but it ran good enough to win.”

It wasn’t a sweeping performance like the ones that helped Booher earn his first regional championship in 2013, but a dominant performance wasn’t needed to win the race that saw some of the Midwest’s best cars struggle to get down the Norwalk quarter-mile.

“Once we won first round and had lane choice in the second round, I realized I didn’t need to run a 5.32. Should I be able to run a thirty-two? Yes, everyone should be...
TOPEKA, KS (May 25, 2016) – A strong qualifying effort and semifinal finish was the result for Top Alcohol Dragster pilot Chris Demke at the NHRA Kansas Nationals last weekend. The Maddern Racing team kicked off the Midwest portion of their 2016 season at the Heartland Park Topeka event, where Demke qualified number two with a 5.26 et at 272 mph.

“We were happy to start off the weekend with a 5.28 off the trailer for the provisional number one spot. The blower belt came off for reasons other than the blower belt failing on its own on the second run. Then to run the 5.26 and holding on to the number two spot behind Megan [Meyer] after final qualifying, we couldn’t have been happier – well, unless we were number one,” Demke laughed.

The Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products blown alcohol dragster moved on to the first round of eliminations to face Kansas local Gary Cooper. Demke again lost the blower belt, but Cooper handed the win to the Peen Rite team when he left before the green light came on. Demke’s second-round opponent, James Stevens, also red-lit, but Demke was ready for a race with a 5.324 at 268 mph performance.

“Luck was a big part of going rounds, but then we were able to lay down low et of the round on Sunday morning. Once again, we had more mechanical issues and we were thrashing to get back to the starting line for the semifinals against Joey Severance. We did get everything back together, but we didn’t get a chance to look closely at how the car had ran the run before to make any tuning modifications. The car ran the same number, a 5.32. We just got beat. Joey stepped up and that’s just the way it goes sometimes,” Demke said of the 5.291-to-5.329 loss to his rival.

Though they came up one round short of adding a fifth Topeka final round to Demke’s career total, the California-based team was impressed with their first Midwest showing of 2016.

“I’m amazed at [car chief] Kevin Watson’s ability to step up and tune the car as well as he has. The...
MARSTONS MILLS, Massachusetts - May 24, 2016 - Jay Blake's Permatex/Follow A Dream Top Alcohol Funny Car team continued to strengthen its overall game in this past weekend's NHRA Lucas Oil Racing Series Division 3 meet at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

Driver Phil Burkart, who joined the Follow A Dream team earlier this year, drove the 2015 Chevrolet Camaro to the semifinals of the Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser. Three weeks ago, Burkhart took the team to the finals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

"We lost in the semifinals to Jonnie Lindberg," team owner Jay Blake said. "We slowed down a little bit and had a 5.63. Still, it was nice to run well. We're learning every run and every lap."

Burkart qualified No. 3 for the eight-car event. He defeated Ray Drew in the first round of competition, but then the team ran into an unusual situation heading into the semi's.

With more than 700 cars racing over the weekend, action was pushed back at times. Unfortunately, several members of the Follow A Dream team had to catch airplanes to get back home. But that didn't stop Blake and Burkart.

Thanks to the brotherly spirit in the Top Alcohol Funny Car ranks, members of both Drew's team and Tony Bartone's team volunteered to help the Follow A Dream team.

"That's what's neat about drag racing," Blake said. "You race a guy one round and he's helping you in the next round. That was pretty cool. It was a nice day. It was neat to be racing and nice to do well."

Sunday was a bittersweet day for Blake. It was the 19th anniversary of the industrial accident that took Blake's vision away. But in his always-positive, upbeat manner, Blake didn't dwell on memories of his accident. Rather, he made a new friend and new drag racing fan.

"I met a 10-year-old boy that lost his sight," Blake said. "He was there with his dad and stepmother.
"They had seen a piece on me and they were real excited to have Ryan meet me. That was kind of cool because that's what Follow A...
A fantastic hometown showing for NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster Rookie Megan
, as she earns another runner up at Heartland Park Topeka for the 28th Annual NHRA Kansas Nationals.

The busy weekend also marked the first time that Megan would be racing alongside her father, veteran TAD racer Randy Meyer in NHRA TAD National competition. The Meyer Racing team would have their hands full sorting two cars, as Randy would struggle in early rounds of qualifying.

“Going into the Kansas Nationals we knew we would have our plate full. This was only the second time we've had both Top Alcohol Dragsters running at the same time this year, and it was a big mountain to climb for our team. The stress was high with the tire shake that we had in my Dad’s car for the first 2 qualifiers which once again, caused a lot of problems. But we faced them head on and fixed the damage and was able to get the car turned around to qualify 5th and win first round.”

In qualifying, Megan Meyer would start off strong, running a 5.287 second E.T. at 268.81 mph - moving her into the No. 2 qualified position at the end of round one. Second round, she would chatter the tires out of the gate, shutting off. But in the final attempt, Megan would grab the top qualifying position for the first time in her career, running a 5.250 at 270.54 mph in the Racer’s Evolved A/Fuel Dragster. Her father, Randy, would take the No. 5 position with his Meyer Racing Dragster, and would be on the same side of the ladder as Megan. Potentially, if both the Meyer dragsters advanced in the first two rounds of eliminations, they would be meeting in the semi-final round for the first time.

Saturday evening, Megan would face the number fourteen qualified Monroe Guest in the opening round of Top Alcohol Dragster eliminations. Guest would immediately smoke the tires, while Megan would run a great looking 5.258 second, 274.83 mph for the win into the second...
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...