KENT, Wash. – “It’s a beast,” proclaimed Johnny Ahten in reference to his Island Renovations / Combust Filters dragster following the Seattle Regional event at Pacific Raceways. Ahten advanced to the semifinals and nearly went to the finals with a return to performance mode in Seattle.

Ahten’s first qualifying run on Friday served notice that the Ahten Racing dragster, known as the Stump Puller, was ready to burst through the line. A 5.346/266.64 run put Ahten in the number three position for the day. Saturday’s first qualifying session produced a 5.393/260.41, with room for improvement. The plan for the final qualifying session was to go quicker, so the wick was turned up. “It was either going to go number one, or smoke the tires,” added Ahten. A 10.532/90.73 pass answered that question. Ahten remained in the number three slot moving into Sunday eliminations and a match-up with Kim Parker.

Sunday saw a break from the warm weather conditions. Ahten took a slight starting line advantage and a 5.369/252.80 effort conquered Parker’s 5.396/262.64. This set a semifinal meeting with Megan McKernan. When the tree came down, Ahten got off the line first and was leading the race until the 300ft mark when the rear tires knocked loose. A couple of quick pedals resulted in two lost cylinders and a 5.837/221.96 defeat to McKernan’s 5.652/262.33.

“Even though we lost a close one in the semis, I am very happy about the way the Stump Puller performed at Pacific Raceways,” said Ahten. “It was great having a full crew around to make things go smoothly. My guys gave me a great racecar and we are all excited about the upcoming Regional at Woodburn, and then on to Vegas and the finals at Pomona."

Johnny Ahten and the Stump Puller will be at Woodburn Raceways September 16-18th. The usual strong contingent of west coast hitters will be there, and Ahten is anxious to let the Stump Puller feast. Stay in touch with Johnny and Ahten Racing at...
Brainerd MN - While it might have been a short field where just ten cars entered the Top Alcohol Dragster class at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, it wasn't a short field on Duane Shields' side of the ladder as he had a tough opponent every round before he was eventually stopped by Joey Severance in the finals. "Everyone there was tough so you had to bring your A-game to this race. You couldn't take anyone lightly," Duane said. Duane's PEAK A/Fuel Dragster qualified third with a highly competitive 5.29 at 273 MPH.

In round one, Duane took on Mia Tedesco who is enjoying a respectable season going into this race. At the launch Tedesco had the better reaction time but she immediately lost traction and shook the tires giving Duane an easy trip to the finish line. Duane won the round with a 5.28 at 276 MPH to move on to the quarterfinals. "These A/Fuel Dragsters are very touchy and we all have to go out there with a very competitive tune-up. But that also increases your chances of overpowering the track and losing traction like Mia did," Duane said.

In the second round, Duane met up with Robin Samsel. As the cars rocketed off the starting line, it was Duane who was out first with an 0.065 to Samsel's 0.091. Duane shook violently but was able to maintain his lead and take the stripe. Duane clocked a 5.55 at 274 MPH to Samsel's off pace 5.98 at 269 MPH. "That was our lucky round win. The car shook really hard and I had to pedal twice but we still won the round," Said Duane.

In the semifinals, Duane raced new comer Megan Meyer who is the daughter of former World Champion Randy Meyer. Duane was out first with an 0.074 to Meyer's 0.083 but once again traction problems played into the race. Meyer had to coast as she blazed the tires while Duane made his best pass of the weekend with a sizzling 5.25 at 279 MPH to Meyer's 10.24 at 74 MPH.

In the final round, Duane faced the reining World Champion Joey Severance. As the lights came down Severance got off the line first...
KENT, Wash. (August 18, 2016) – While most of the top NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster teams are racing at the Brainerd national event this weekend, 2014 TAD world champion Chris Demke and the Maddern Racing team will be competing for their fourth consecutive event title at the Pacific Raceways regional event, August 19-21. The decision to race Seattle was an easy call for the California-based driver, who raced to the final round at the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways a couple weeks ago.

“We’ve won this race the last three years. We needed some in-region races. We missed out on the Woodburn and Mission races, so we figured we’d hang out in Seattle for the regional race then head east for the U.S. Nationals in Indy,” Demke said.

Demke’s Peen Rite/Boost Performance Products blown alcohol dragster was running on the edge at the NHRA Northwest Nationals. Demke qualified number three with a wheelstanding 5.221 et at 273.66 mph. His first-round 5.219 et was the tenth quickest pass for a blown alcohol dragster. The Maddern Racing team then earned two more round wins over Shawn Cowie and James Stevens. Demke was scheduled to face rival Joey Severance in the final round before rain showers forced the rescheduling of the race. The final round will be completed during qualifying at the NHRA Fall Nationals in Dallas in September.

The Maddern Racing group also spent the weekend celebrating the engagement of Demke’s younger sister, Aimee, and car chief Kevin Watson, who was celebrating his birthday during Friday qualifying.

As the Jerry Maddern-led Peen Rite team moves on to this weekend’s regional event, they must adopt a different tune-up than the one that carried Demke to the final round at the national event.

“At some tracks it helps to race there back-to-back, but I don’t think that’s the case with Seattle this year. The track prep won’t be as good as it was at the national event – it was incredible – and the weather was cool. It’s a completely different...
BRAINERD, MN (August 17, 2016) – Powerhouse NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster team Randy Meyer Racing enters this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals with intentions of winning the event for the third time in three years with as many different drivers. Team owner, tuner and driver Randy Meyer won it in 2014, former RMR driver Mark Taliaferro won last year, and now Megan Meyer looks to add her name to the history books at Brainerd International Raceway.

“Racing at Brainerd has always been a dream of mine,” Meyer said. “Some of my earliest memories are at BIR with my sister and I riding our scooters and selling t-shirts in the pits. As we got older, we were fortunate enough to bring both of our Junior Dragsters to BIR for a couple of years when they allowed juniors to race during the divisional race. Rachel and I claimed a couple of wins, and it was a really fun time to get to race at the same time as our dad and share the winner’s circle with him. Now, it's my turn to return to the track and try to take down some of the fiercest competition in the Alcohol class. I'm very excited to get back in the seat after claiming another runner-up at our last race in St. Louis,” said Megan, who is second in national points after a win and three runner-up finishes in national event competition and two runner-ups on the regional level.”

Meyer will be back to competing on her own this weekend after racing alongside younger sister Rachel at the last two races, where the Meyer sisters experienced mixed results.

“After the disappointing outing we had at the Topeka regional race, where Rachel and I both lost first round, we were all beating ourselves up pretty bad. We have some of the best dragsters in the nation and for us to go out and lose first round was very upsetting. We made some changes and ran a few test runs at the next race in St. Louis, and our efforts paid off on race day. We walked home with a Semi-Final and Runner-Up finish, and the track record mph of 274,” Meyer...
KENT, Wash. (Aug. 10, 2016) – Johnny Ahten and the Island Renovations / Combust Filters team gained more than they lost at the Protect the Harvest NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. The results page may say Ahten was ousted by the former world champ Chris Demke in the first round, but the real winner was the Ahten Racing tuning book. Two runs in the 5.30’s will be a confidence builder heading into the final stretch of the season.

“We ran our quickest run of the weekend and got beat,” said Ahten. “Running a 5.34 and finishing on seven cylinders is a positive we are going to build on. We have been dealing with some clutch issues and I think things are starting to come together. I love racing at this track and we are excited by what we learned.”

Ahten started Friday’s first qualifying session with a dandy 5.415/258.37 on the warmest track of the weekend. That put the Stump Puller in the number five slot. In the second round of qualifying there were some issues on the start that resulted in Ahten gazing at the Seattle sky and the run was aborted. Saturday’s final qualifying session started out with tire shake and after a quick slap of the pedal, Ahten motored to a 5.393/263.36 with six cylinders firing at the finish. That put Ahten in the number ten position going into the first round of eliminations and a match-up with Chris Demke.

As the lights came down, Ahten got a small advantage off the line, but Demke’s 5.219/27305 was way too much for Ahten’s cylindrically challenged 5.34/264.65.

Johnny and the team return to Pacific Raceways on Aug 19-21 for a LODRS Divisional race where they have the lessons learned from the Northwest Nationals and a positive attitude. Stay in touch with Johnny and Ahten Racing at, and on Twitter and Instagram at: @Ahtenracing and on Pinterest at

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MARSTONS Mills, Massachusetts (August 9, 2016) - Jay Blake's Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team went to Atco Dragway (Atco, New Jersey) this past weekend with high hopes of winning the 2016 Lucas Oil East Region championship.

Unfortunately, those hopes went up in smoke as the car lost traction during the first round of eliminations. Even though driver Phil Burkart qualified No. 3, he lost to Dan Pomponio, bringing both the day and Burkart's championship bid to a premature end.

"We have a lot of power in our car and we're trying to manage it better, but we've been struggling with that recently," team owner Jay Blake said. "We made a clutch change and it's showing a lot of promise, it's just taking us some time to figure out what it really wants to be consistent."

After leading the East Region standings for much of the season, Burkart and the Follow A Dream/Permatex Top Alcohol Funny Car team finished second to D.J. Cox Jr., who went on to win not only the race but also the championship, defeating Burkart by 42 points.

Burkart and Cox were tied for the lead in the standings coming into this past weekend's race.
With its East Region season now concluded, the Follow A Dream/Permatex team returns to the Lucas Oil Series national circuit with three more events remaining on its 2016 schedule, starting with the legendary U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis on Labor Day weekend; followed by Charlotte, North Carolina; and the team's season finale at Maple Grove, Pennsylvania.

"We're going to go to a national event with a national event facility, the Safety Safari, we should have a great racetrack and we're going to go out and run fast," Blake said of the U.S. Nationals. "The track conditions at a national event are usually better for high horsepower cars like ours.

"We have three races left. The reality is that we have the team and the car to win the next three. The competition is extremely stout, but we have the support, the team and the car to win....
MADISON, Ill. – Canadian NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car racer Scott McVey recorded one of his strongest performances of his career in a winning effort during this past weekend’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Regional at Gateway Motorsports Park just outside of St. Louis. McVey qualified No. 1 and set low elapsed time of every round on his way to the winner’s circle.

McVey, from Ile de Chenes, MB, wheeled his Will Hanna tuned Monte Carlo to the No. 1 spot with a 5.591 at 259.31 mph. First round nearly ended his run to the winner’s circle against defending North Central Region Champion Todd Robertson. Right before starting, McVey’s crew heard an air line leaking. Some quick thinking by Hanna enabled McVey to take the win with a 5.612 at 260.56 mph.

“After having a freak problem on the line at our last race in Columbus, when I saw the guys scrambling, I was thinking ‘not again,” said Hanna. “The leak was well into the belly pan area, so I knew we had zero chance of finding it, much less fixing it on the line. So I told Scott to put it in high gear (for the burnout), we turned the air bottle off and did the burnout. After backing up from the burnout, we lifted the body, waited for Robertson to move towards the line, said a prayer, turned the air on and quickly motioned Scott to the line. Luckily for us, it had just enough air to make the run.”

In the semifinals, McVey took out Lance Van Hauen with a 5.591 at 259.91 mph, matching his qualifying pace. That set up the finals with Andy Bohl, in what may prove to be a pivotal race in the North Central Region Championship. McVey took a sizable jump off the line, .045 to .119 and never looked back, taking the win with a 5.613 at 260.56 mph.

“This was a nice bounce back from Columbus,” McVey commented. “The track was great all weekend and the crew did a fantastic job of putting a great car on the track all weekend. We really have to thank Lucas Oil Products and Polo Park Bowling Center for their support this...
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...