I will be addressing the state of Top Alcohol on Facebook Live this Thursday at 7 p.m. CST at the InsideTopAlcohol Facebook page -

http://Facebook.com/insidetopalcohol

Items to be discussed will be:
  • Health of the Top Alcohol classes
  • Regional & National Points structure
  • Future of "Regional" events
  • Proposal of new "Pro Comp" class
  • Discussion to follow
Once completed I will post it to YouTube and on here for those of you who aren't on Facebook. If you aren't on Facebook, this might be a good time to join, or at least watch on your wife's account.

Hope to see you there!
Chicago - Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team went down swinging in the quarterfinal round of the Route 66 NHRA Nationals. The national points leader going into Chicago lost a heartbreaker to Chris Demke. It was one of those races where one contestant would have to lose regardless of how well the car ran. Duane qualified third with a respectable 5.24 at 276 MPH. “We ran really well so we’re happy with our performance. And it was PEAK’s hometown race so overall it was an enjoyable weekend” Duane said summing up the event.

In round one, Duane faced Kim Parker who has been impressive since switching to an A/Fuel dragster so it was anyone’s race. As both cars completed their burnout Parker was unable to get the car in reverse and wisely drove it down the track allowing Duane to solo for a first round win. Duane demonstrated he brought his A game and ran a stellar 5.25 at 278 MPH to advance to round two. “They are known to step up and run some big numbers so we were ready for them. It was too bad she broke because it would have been a great race.” Duane explained.

Going into round two Duane met up with fellow west coast powerhouse Chris Demke in the Peen Rite entry. Demke was a little off his game in round one, posting an elapse time of 5.51, so the PEAK team had a good chance of taking the win if Demke wasn’t able to improve from the prior round. As the cars left the line, Demke got the edge at the starting line with a .028 to Duane’s .064. Both cars were side by side with the PEAK Dragster closing the gap. Unfortunately for Duane, Demke was able to take the stripe by a distance of only 16 feet, which is less that a car length. Demke took the win with a 5.27 at 277 MPH to Duane’s valiant 5.27 at 278 MPH. “Chris stepped up when he had too and ran his best ET and reaction time against me so that is that. We’ll go to the next race confident that we are competitive and can win.

The PEAK team will take a quick break and then return to NHRA national...
Reading PA - Duane Shields in the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster won his second NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event of the season. This time the win came at Maple Grove Raceway over the memorial day weekend where he beat Doug Foley in the final round.

The win was much needed after an unscheduled stop in Norwalk, Ohio the week prior where the team experienced a first round defeat. “We decided to go into Reading a day early and test which paid off for us as we were able to rebound” Duane said. The PEAK team found the results they were looking for in testing as they ran an impressive 5.21 at 278 MPH. But the team fell off slightly due to an electrical problem in qualifying and ended up sixth with a 5.35 at 273 MPH.

In round one, Duane took on Richard Bourke. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the track’s staging lights so the cars were allowed to cool down and refuel before returning to the starting line once the issue was resolved. At the hit, Duane was out of the box first with an .068 to Bourke’s .102. That was all it took as Duane had Bourke covered by a country mile with a victorious 5.41 at 271 MPH to Bourke’s 5.51 at 257 MPH.

In the semi-final round, Duane took on Jackie Fricke. Both cars left nearly at the same time with Fricke getting a very slight edge. However, Duane was on a very good pass and clicked off a competitive 5.27 at 274 MPH to take the win over Fricke’s honorable 5.32 at 268 MPH. “This was a big match up for us as Jackie was leading the points going into the round. We were able to make up a lot of ground by getting the win in the semis” Duane said.

In the final round, Duane faced off with former Top Fuel pilot Doug Foley. As the lights came down, Duane left on Foley with an .074 to Foley’s .080. Duane was on another clean pass and took the stripe with a sizzling 5.25 at 275 MPH to take home the Wally. Meanwhile, Foley had traction problems and shut off early with a 7.62 at 113 MPH. “We tuned the car up in the finals to...
NORWALK, Ohio (May 20) -- Only a few races into his Top Alcohol Dragster career, Troy Coughlin Jr. drove the JEGS.com McPhillips Racing rail to the winner's circle by dominating the Cavalcade of Stars presented by Budweiser Sunday in what was clearly the best car of the meet.

"Winning this race in this car with this team, right here in the great state of Ohio at this track, it just doesn't get any better," Coughlin said. "To be the No. 1 qualifier and convert that into a race win is very satisfying. I've known from the start this McPhillips Racing team was capable of winning and dominating like this and to have it come together after just a handful of starts says a lot about this tenacious crew."

It's the 13th victory for the Delaware, Ohio native but his first in the Top Alcohol Dragster class. He's previously won races in Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Pro, and also has competed in Top Fuel and Pro Mod, where he was rookie of the year in 2015.

"Rich McPhillips and his son Rich Jr. are phenomenal tuners," Coughlin said. "My crew guys, Duke Roney, Andy Good and Charlie Wrotten on the dragster and Justin Beaver on my other racecars, they are all top-notch mechanics. My dad (three-time and reigning Pro Mod champ Troy Coughlin) and my fiancé Brenna (ford8and9inchrears.com."

Troy Jr. qualified No. 1 with a best pass of 5.303 seconds at 276.52 mph and beat John Paul Gutierrez, Mike Kosky and Brandon Greco to score the trophy.

Although they ended the day in the winner's circle celebrating Troy Jr.'s amazing day, Mike and Paige both exited in Round 1 at the same event, Mike in Top Dragster and Paige in Super Comp.

At...
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Female Top Alcohol Dragster and Funny Car racing stars Megan Meyer and Annie Whiteley shared the winner’s stage to highlight the list of champions at the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Megan, the daughter of championship tuner Randy Meyer, collected her third national event win in the last three years, earning her first one at zMAX Dragway in 2016.

Megan won her first NHRA National event of 2018 by beating chassis builder Dan Page in the final round, 5.192 to 5.250. Megan, who was also the low qualifier with an impressive 5.168 ET, 283.73 MPH blast, was solidly in the 5.2s through the first three rounds in her wins against Krista Baldwin, Duane Shields, and first-year alcohol racer Troy Coughlin Jr.

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Photo: NHRA

Megan went on to also hold low qualifier, low ET and top speed of the meet at the following race at Atlanta Dragway with a 5.22 ET at 277 MPH. Megan got a single run in the opening round of eliminations as Dan Lucas broke after the burnout, followed by a competition bye in second round. Megan once again took down Dan Page in the semi-finals, but ultimately lost to Josh Hart in the final round of the NHRA Southern Nationals.

Megan went on to also hold low qualifier, low ET and top speed of the meet at the following race at Atlanta Dragway with a 5.22 ET at 277 MPH. Megan got a single run in the opening round of eliminations as Dan Lucas broke after the burnout, followed by a competition bye in second round. Megan once again took down Dan Page in the semi-finals, but ultimately lost to Josh Hart in the final round of the NHRA Southern Nationals.
Atlanta - Duane Shields and the PEAK Team didn’t have the outing in Atlanta they were hoping for. It turned out to be a rare, off pace weekend for the popular A/Fuel Dragster team. On Saturday, there was a tragic accident during the first round of the Top Sportsman class which understandably cast a pall over the remainder of the event.

Duane qualified tenth over all with a 5.41 at 267 MPH. In round one, Duane lost a very close race to Dan Page. Page won the round with a 5.30 at 271 MPH to Duane’s valiant 5.34 at 272 MPH. “It was a difficult weekend for us but congratulations to my PEAK teammate Jay Payne for winning in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class” Duane said.

Next, the PEAK team moves up the East Coast to Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pennsylvania for an NHRA regional event, May 25-27. The PEAK team would like to give their condolences to the family of Randy Alexander who was involved in the crash on Saturday. The team would also like to thank PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their continued support.
Charlotte - Duane Shields in the PEAK A/FuelDragster made it to the quarterfinal round at the NHRA NGK Spark Plugs Four - Wide Nationals following a disappointing regional event last weekend in Virginia. At that event the PEAK Dragster recorded a 5.27 at 273 MPH which would normally be competitive at any event. But sadly it was not enough in Virginia to get into a tight 8 car field. Duane just missed getting in the show as the ninth qualifier and found himself as the first alternate in what is now the quickest field in Top Alcohol Dragster history.

With the sting from the Virginia race behind them, the PEAK team moved on to Charlotte and quickly turned things around by qualifying eighth with a solid 5.31 at 271 MPH. This would ensure a first round showdown with Karen Stalba. As the lights came down, Duane was long gone with an 0.096 reaction time to Stalba’s 0.155. Duane also took care of Stalba at the top end of the track by securing the victory with a 5.32 at 272 MPH to Stalba’s 5.50 at 267 MPH.

In the quarter finals, Duane would face Megan Meyer who qualified first with a 5.16. At the hit, Duane left on Meyer with an 0.047 reaction time to Meyer’s 0.077. Duane continued his lead past the 60 foot mark but by the eighth mile Meyer moved ahead and was able to keep the candles lit to the finish line. She grabbed the win with a 5.23 at 277 MPH to Duane’s 5.33 at 273 MPH. “The car shook out there which slowed us down” Duane explained.

This coming weekend the PEAK Team will compete in Atlanta for the NHRA Southern Nationals. 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.

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CHARLOTTE (April 29) -- For the second race in a row, six-time world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. raced his JEGS.com/Elite Performance Chevrolet Camaro to a top-half qualifying effort and a semifinal finish, signaling a continued change of fortune for the 76-time national event winner.

Adding to the fun at the ninth annual NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals were the similar results posted by Jeg Jr.'s nephew Troy Jr. in Top Alcohol Dragster.

Fellow Team JEGS racers Clay Coughlin (Junior Dragster), Samantha Coughlin (Super Comp) and Paige Coughlin (Super Comp) also were in action this weekend.

"It was a good weekend for us," Jeg Jr. said. "Just like Houston, we had a top-five car every round so we're certainly pleased to have a competitive racecar again. And for the second weekend in a row, one of my Elite Performance teammates won the race so things are certainly on a big upswing. It's an exciting time."

After qualifying sixth overall with a 6.558-second pass at 210.90 mph, Jeg Jr. roared to life on race day of the unique four-wide race, winning his opening-round quad with his best run of the weekend, a 6.515 at 212.66 mph. Teammate Vincent Nobile was second with a 6.513 at 212.16 mph, while last week's winner Matt Hartford spun his tires and coasted to the finish, drifting alongside Alan Prusiensky.

"Having two other Elite-powered cars in Round 1, we knew we'd have our hands full right from the start," Jeg Jr. said. "The guys did a great job setting up the JEGS Camaro and we had a really strong run. We just kind of fine-tuned from there for the next session."

In a semifinal quad of drivers that ended with all four drivers posting 6.54-second passes, Coughlin slipped to third place by a fraction of a second, watching Chris McGaha and Nobile advance to the final.

"We just spun a little in second and third gear and that very slight loss of momentum was enough to knock us out," Jeg Jr. said. "We needed .008 of a second more to get to the finals but...
By Bobby Bennett http://competitionplus.com/CPSportsman/justin-ashley-scores-monumental-nhra-div-1-lodrs-victory

Justin Ashley had a date with destiny on Saturday night.

The second-generation drag racer captured an impressive victory winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Div. 1 Top Alcohol Dragster crown behind the wheel of the Randy Meyer Racing entry at Virginia Motorsports Park, located outside of Richmond, Va, But this simply wasn't just another victory.

Ashley not only qualified #2 in the quickest-ever NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster field (5.265 bump) but also stopped Jared Dreher in the final round to capture his first-ever divisional title.

It seemed like yesterday that the 24-year old real estate developer was at VMP, then 8, watching his father Mike Ashley score his first victory behind the wheel a supercharged car.

"The car ran so well all weekend," Ashley said. "We were able to keep the car in the teens all weekend, and we needed to be there because this was the quickest field in Top Alcohol Dragster history. The competition out here was simply amazing."

Ashley fired his first shot in qualifying with a 5.177, 277.66 pass to land #2 behind Richard Rourke's 5.161.

Ashley said this kind of performance was the kind he'd envisioned when he declared his team would compete for a Top Alcohol Dragster title.

"Anytime I get behind the wheel of this car, Randy Meyer and his team put me in a position to win," Ashley explained. "This is the kind of performance we expect week in and week out."

Ashley's march to the winner's circle began with his quickest run of the weekend, a 5.141, to stop Julie Nataas. He then used an .04 light and a 5.158 to lead Dan Page through the lights.

In the final round, Ashley outreacted Dreher and scored the victory with a 5.238. Dreher slowed to a 7.164 for runner-up.

Ashley believes the key to the weekend success was getting off on the right foot on Friday.

"I think running the 5.19 out of the trailer...
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was the place to be for race fans. People from all over the world filled the stands to witness the inaugural four-wide event at the Las Vegas track. The speedway had a sell-out crowd for the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.

Fans showed up in droves to feel the energy and be a part of the historical event. Four-Wide drag racing has established itself in the Western Region and from the response of the fans and race competitors, you can bet it’s here to stay.

Once again, Team Litton Racing joined forces with Randy Meyer Racing to compete in the Top Alcohol Dragster division. Although race fans were eager to get the first glimpse of the newly constructed track, breaking in a new strip can bring many challenges for the driver and race team.
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Driver Bill Litton, Crew Chief Randy Meyer, Assistant Crew Chief Dan Pomponio, and crew members Mary, JJ, Howard, Ted, and Glenn knew they had to bring their A – game. The first round of qualifying took off with a smooth run reaching the finish line in 5.42 seconds @ 270 mph. Driver Litton rolled into the next round of qualifying 5.39 @ 271 mph holding on to the #6 spot. The 3rd and final qualifying run on Saturday showed improvement, finishing at 5.34 @ 272.9 mph still holding on to the #6 qualifying spot. “After a trick race track, being an all new surface, we have come out in pretty good shape. Bill being the #6 qualifier with 5.34, looking pretty good going into eliminations," said Chief Meyer. "On Saturday we will be running first round eliminations to see if we can continue onward up the eliminations ladder, and hope for the best."
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After qualifying in a solid position, Driver Bill Litton was optimistic going into first round eliminations. Per Litton, “Randy, Dan,...