Atco NJ - It was one of those do or die situations as Duane Shields was on the outside looking into an eight car field that so far didn't include his PEAK A/Fuel Dragster. On the third and final qualifying session the PEAK team did what Champions do and that is overcome adversity and make it into the field on a Hail Mary pass. The PEAK team put together a 5.36 at 275 MPH package to qualify 5th at the NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event at Atco Dragway. "It was a nail biter and a little bit stressful but we got our car into the show in the final session," Duane said.

In round one, Duane faced Dan Mercier who qualified fourth. As the tree lights came down, it was Mercier out first but Duane had him covered by over a tenth of a second. At the finish line it was Duane taking the win with a decent 5.34 at 274 MPH to Mercier's respectable 5.45 at 260 MPH.

In the semifinals, Duane drew another tough competitor, Josh Hart who qualified on the pole with a strong 5.27. As the dragsters rocketed off the line, it was Duane out first with an 0.049 reaction time to Hart's 0.063 but Hart had a slightly quicker ET and was able to take a very narrow four foot victory as he stopped the clock with a 5.33 at 270 MPH to Duane's valiant 5.36 at 272 MPH. "We lost a another close race which seems to be the story of my life this season. The car ran good, we just needed a little bit more. I felt confident going into the semis and would have liked to have won it since we need all the points we can get for the Eastern Regional Championship," said Duane, who is currently second behind Rich McPhillips in the points standings.

Next, the team heads to Brainard for the Lucas Oil Nationals,August 18-21. "Our schedule switches over to mostly national events now and I'm hoping we can get a win at some of them beginning in Brainard," Duane said. Duane would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their ongoing support.
KENT, Wash. (Aug. 4, 2016) – Instead of fighting wildfires in California, Johnny Ahten is at Pacific Raceways near Seattle this weekend where he is working to keep all the cylinders firing on his racecar.

“The oxygen rich air here is the perfect opportunity for the Stump Puller to run well,” said Ahten. “I love this place because of the tree-lined track and great surface. We have run in the twenty’s here and advanced to two finals at Regional races. The progress we made at Woodburn a few weeks ago will give us a good game plan for this weekend.”

The Island Renovations / Combust Filters A/Fuel dragster ripped off a few 5.30 runs at the Woodburn Regional and crew chief Al Ahten and Team Partner Howard Katano are looking to continue improving at the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals. Crewmembers Bob Ahten, Kevin "Shark" Colvell, Todd “Rocky” Rockwell will be on hand to make sure Johnny Ahten can concentrate on the clutch.

“The motor is good and we are making all the power we need,” added Ahten. “I just have to make sure the clutch needs to be where it should be. Racing at National Event is always exciting, and now my family, friends, and fans can watch everything live on NHRA All Access (, and on Twitter and Instagram at: @Ahtenracing

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Ashley Sanford is going home.

No, she's not returning to her hometown of Fullerton, Calif. On the contrary, she's heading north to race her Gelish Top Alcohol Dragster at the 29th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Lucas Oil this weekend at Pacific Raceways.

The home part is the seat of her family's Gelish dragster.

"It's pretty hard to put into words because even though I raced a few weeks ago in Norwalk (Ohio), I was in a new car and it was a blast, but getting to step back into my Gelish dragster with my whole family there, it is very comfortable," Sanford said. "In a sense, it's going back to the basics."

Sanford raced for another team in Norwalk and last drove her family's dragster at a divisional race in Las Vegas, where she qualified No. 2 before rain postponed the event.

"I'm really excited because in Vegas the car was on fire, running amazing, better than it ever has," Sanford said. "So to get to go somewhere like Seattle, where the air quality is just incredible and to know our A/Fuel cars usually run amazing there, it's very, very exciting.

"And it's a confidence booster to have that, as well as knowing that there are only 11 cars registered for our race. We have an amazing shot at really going for it this time, getting to the winner's circle and getting that first Wally. That is the game plan."

Sanford is hoping to reverse some prior struggles in Seattle, last racing there when her and her team were just starting out.

"I've been there but we have never really done well there," Sanford said. "We went there our second year of racing when we were really just starting to figure things out. We had a lot of bugs we were working out, and we raced a national and regional event there.

"The car ran decent but we never had outstanding runs just because we were dealing with our own inner issues as a team and on the car. But now that we have everything figured out, getting to go to this track and redeem ourselves in a...
JOLIET, Ill. (July 13, 2016) – Past JEGS Allstars Top Alcohol Dragster champion Chris Demke made the most of his last-minute trip to the Route 66 Nationals last weekend when he drove the Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products dragster to another JEGS Allstars win and semifinal finish in the Route 66 Nationals. The Maddern Racing team performed flawlessly in the Allstars race, then worked through traction issues to claim a late-round finish on the national level.

While most of the eight JEGS Allstars competitors earned their spot in the prestigious race, Demke was actually invited as the sixth alternate for the West Region.

“One of the cool things about the Allstars is it’s the best of the best who earned their way there, even though we didn’t earn our way there,” Demke laughed. “With the last-minute invitation to go and our decision to accept that invitation, it was awesome to actually make something of it.”

Demke qualified fifth for the Allstars race with a 5.362 at 273.88 mph, pairing him up with Gord Gingles, who he defeated in the final round at the Tulsa regional event in June. The Peen Rite machine stepped up to a 5.236 at 276.01 to defeat “The Bull” A/Fueler and qualify number two for the Route 66 Nationals.

“We pretty much took our results from qualifying and Kevin (Watson, car chief) came up with a tune-up for first round. Once we ripped off that 23, we knew we had our hot rod back. Next round was against Randy Meyer. You can never take Randy lightly. I had a little tire shake but still ran a 5.326, which was enough to get past Randy.”

The Maddern Racing team lined up against their blown alcohol rival, Joey Severance, for the final round, where Demke ran 5.264 at 272.34 to Severance’s 5.277 at 274.01. The 2016 JEGS Allstars trophy now joins Demke’s 2012 Allstars award in the trophy case.

“Our teams either fail miserably against each other or we run one of the best rounds of racing. This time it was a great final round. Things finally went our...
The K&NRoute 66 NHRA Nationals and the Jegs All Star race is a special event for Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team. Not only is the Jegs All Star event important, but the race itself is in the same market as the headquarters for Old World Industries the parent company of PEAK, so naturally Duane would have liked nothing better than to score a big win in front of his marketing partners in their home town.

Duane started the weekend off with a dinner on Thursday night with PEAK’s executive team before qualifying and racing simultaneously in the Jegs All Star race on Friday. In the first round of the Jegs All Star event, Duane faced Mia Tedesco from Pittsburg, PA. At the launch, Duane was out first by a tenth of a second over Tedesco. But Tedesco was on a great pass and scored the win with a 5.22 at 277 MPH to Duane’s valiant 5.34 at 274 MPH. "We struggled a little bit but ran okay. The car shook and Mia was on a good run. We were very disappointed we didn’t go further in the Jegs All Star race but we still had a shot at the national event competition the following day,“ Duane said.

In round one of the K&NRoute 66 NHRA Nationals, Duane who qualified 8th with the 5.34 he posted in the Jegs All Star Race faced Randy Meyer who qualified ninth. At the hit it was Duane out first with his best reaction time in recent memory. Duane cut the tree down with an 0.008 light! Meyer in the other lane trailed immediately with an 0.081 light. The PEAK machine went on to dominate the race as Duane had a perfect run as he scored a nearly unbeatable 5.20 at 276 MPH when packaged with his 0.008 reaction time. Meyer posted a 5.36 at 257 MPH in a losing effort.

Moving into the second round, Duane appeared to be the favorite after scoring low ET for the event in round one. His opponent would once again be Mia Tedesco. As the lights came down Tedesco got the starting line advantage with a 0.059 to Duane’s 0.076. Tedesco was able to extend her lead down track and took...
Whiteford, MD (July 7, 2016) – Coming off a final round appearance at Lebanon-Valley Dragway, DJ Cox is excited for his first career NHRA Jegs Allstars showdown during the K&N Filters Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill.

Cox qualified for the race after clinching second in the Jegs Allstars East point standings following his win at Virginia Motorsports Park in early May.

The Whiteford, MD native will campaign his family-owned Dixie Construction car at the Route 66 Nationals this weekend. Cox last raced the car at the Gator Nationals in Gainesville, FL in March when he reached the second round.

“The car ran well in Florida. All we had to do was our typical service afterwards,” Cox said. “We made a couple of changes to deal with the heat that we’re going to be racing in, but it’s the same car.”

He drove Anderika Racing’s East Coast Auto Electric car to a finals appearance last weekend at Lebanon-Valley and the recent success offers Cox a confidence boost entering this weekend’s Jegs Allstar race.

The Jegs Allstar race offers a unique format for the weekend with participating drivers using their Allstar runs to qualify for the Route 66 Nationals event as well. The National Event status along with the Jegs Allstar race means the best Top Alcohol Funny car teams will be in attendance.

“I’m really excited about the Allstar race. It’s eight of the best teams in the world, so it’s pretty awesome,” Cox remarked. “We want to make the most of the runs. Your focus has to be on qualifying for the national event. If you’re fortunate enough to make those early runs count and qualify deep in the field, then you can change your focus a little bit to winning the Jegs Allstar race.”

Cox will have all hands on deck for this weekend’s race as the East Coast Auto Electric team will be on hand in addition to his Dixie Construction crew.

“We have both crews working on the car and it’s the first team the East Coast Auto Electric guys been directly involved...
JOLIET, Ill. (July 7, 2016) – As of a few weeks ago, back-to-back-to-back and defending event champion Chris Demke and the Maddern Racing team weren’t planning on racing at this weekend’s K&N Filters NHRA Route 66 Nationals. A last-minute invitation to represent the West Region in the prestigious JEGS Allstars shootout race was all it took to coax the team from their base in Southern California to the heat and humidity of the Chicagoland area.

Demke, the 2012 JEGS Allstars Top Alcohol Dragster champion, wasn’t one of the top two in West Region JEGS Allstars points before the invitation was passed down to him.

“I’m just really excited to be a part of the Allstars race. I wasn’t really the number two guy. I was number six on the list, so it was a real surprise for our team to be going to Chicago. Shawn Cowie pulled out and the division director started calling numbers three, four and five, but nobody wanted to go. It came down to us. Our team really enjoys the JEGS Allstars event. Based on our past performance at this race, we just couldn’t say no,” Demke said.

Demke finds himself refocused heading into the Chicago race weekend, moving on from a first-round loss at his last race, a regional event in Denver. His starting line routine was thrown off by the unconventional staging process utilized by a torque converter-equipped car in the other lane, resulting in a sizable holeshot loss. Demke was the number two qualifier.

“I’ve put it behind me,” Demke reassured. “I hate losing like that, but I have the mental fortitude and the experience to go out, put it behind me and focus on the next event.”

Demke knows his crew, led by team owner Jerry Maddern and car chief Kevin Watson, will provide him with a car capable of winning rounds in the Midwest heat. Crew member Greg Rice is also returning to the team for the first time since undergoing surgery last month.

“I have every confidence that Jerry and Kevin will have the car running as quick as ever. Those guys aren’t...
Manley stocking valves for popular Alcohol and Pro Mod cylinder heads

Manley is pleased to announce they are manufacturing “shelf stock” titanium valve part numbers for the BAE, NRE and MBE cylinder heads; the most popular combinations used by our readers. Many part numbers are available with Premium Chromium Nitride (CrN) coating and with their “bead-loc” style keeper grooves. See the attached file to view Manley’s shelf stock line of Top Alcohol/Pro Mod valves. Note that Manley can also custom manufacture valves to your specific, desired specifications with relatively quick turnaround times.

In addition to their vast valve inventory, Manley has a complete line of valve springs, retainers, locks and wear caps to offer the ultimate in valve control for high RPM Top Alcohol and Pro Mod racers. This includes their proven LocCap system; along with conventional valve lock/retainer/lash cap assemblies in both 7 and 10 degree designs.

Manley’s “NexTek” lightweight dual springs are the choice of champions like Jonnie Lindberg and Steve Harker. Manley’s dedicated staff works closely with the top engine builders in the industry and can recommend the right combination of valve, spring, retainer and locks to fit your application! In most cases, they have these parts on the shelf and ready to ship.

Manley is present on the manufacturer’s midway at all NHRA National events.

Give Paul Sorli a call at 732.905.3366 ext. 111, or email him at
JOLIET, Ill. (July 6, 2016) – For the second time in his Top Alcohol Dragster career, Brandon Booher will represent the NHRA North Central Region in the prestigious JEGS Allstars race this weekend. Held in conjunction with the NHRA K&N Filters Route 66 Nationals, July 7-10, the Allstars race will pit eight of the best TAD competitors from across the country against each other. But unlike most of the other competitors, Booher will spend most of his on-track time dialing in his combination for regional competition.

Booher, the 2013 NHRA North Central Region champion, is using his 2016 national event appearances as testing opportunities to prepare for regional events. The AB Construction team’s first national event of the year at Norwalk two weeks ago yielded promising results, but an untimely loose fitting prevented Booher from making a run in the first round of eliminations.

“The testing strategy worked at Norwalk,” Booher said. “The car ran really well in the heat. It would’ve ran better first round, but we can’t really think about that now. Moving on to Joliet, we have the same plan. I’ve got some converter stuff I’m going to test. I’ve got a different set of tires I’m going to test. Don’t get me wrong; if it goes out there on the first pass and runs really well, I’m probably not going to swing for the fences after that. I’ll dial it in. I’m going there and I’m going to put a car down the track that’s different than what went down the track Q3 and E1 at Norwalk, which already was a really competitive car; second or third-low for the session and quickest blower car by quite a bit. That’s sort of the plan.”

Booher certainly considers the prestige and prizes associated with winning the JEGS Allstars race and the NHRA Route 66 Nationals, but he’s intent on getting ready for the next NHRA North Central Regional event in Columbus, Ohio, July 22-24. He currently leads the region points.

“I sort of pigeon-holed myself trying to run the Allstars race (in 2014) and...
MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (July 5, 2016) - Jay Blake's Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team enjoyed an extra special 4th of July weekend.

The team got an early start on celebrating Independence Day by roaring to its first win of the season, capturing the NHRA Division 1 (Northeast Division) regional event at Lebanon Valley Dragway on Saturday, July 2.

The event came up aces all the way around for the Follow A Dream/Permatex team:

* Driver Phil Burkart, who joined the team at the beginning of this season, earned his first win with his new team.

* Burkart was the No. 1 qualifier.

* Burkart recorded low ET and fastest speed of the meet.

* And to cap things off, Burkart (5.641 seconds at 254.40 mph) defeated D.J. Cox Jr. (5.688 seconds at 250.60 mph) in the final round to take the event victory.

"We did great," Jay Blake said. "It doesn't get much better than that. We went into the race fighting D.J. Cox for No. 1 in the region. We were No. 1 and he was No. 2 by a point.

"So we had him in the final round. It was a real close, tight race. The team did a phenomenal job all weekend, didn't miss a beat and it was awesome to win the race.

But wait, there's more: The Follow A Dream team continued its dominance at the West Lebanon, New York dragstrip, winning the TA/FC for the third straight year and fifth time in the last seven years.

"It's a pretty crazy run we've had there, but it's pretty awesome," Blake said. "We were so close to winning (a couple months ago) at Richmond, so it's really awesome to finally get that first win, not just for Phil but also for the whole team. "Winning at Lebanon Valley gives us a lot of confidence and we should be in good shape."

The Follow A Dream/Permatex team now moves on this weekend to the next NHRA national event, the Route 66 Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago).

Given what his team did at Lebanon Valley, Blake is excited to see the momentum continue in the Windy City....