Demke Pads Points Lead with Columbus Regional Win
HEBRON, Ohio (July 22) – NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster national points leader Chris Demke added a second regional event win to his 2014 scorecard last weekend when he won the Buckeye Fuel Wars race. Racing at National Trail Raceway near Columbus, Demke qualified No. 1 and scored the win to extend his points lead to almost one hundred points over Joey Severance. The win was the third in a stretch of races that included four events spread out between Montana and Ohio.
Demke put the Peen Rite/OSI/Boost Performance Products dragster in the top spot during Friday's opening qualifying session, running 5.358 at 270 MPH. Saturday rain showers forced the cancellation of one session, leaving teams with a final evening session. Few teams improved and the few that did improve didn't run better than 5.358, so the Maddern Racing team elected to skip the run.
Through eliminations Demke would face three Midwest-based nitro-injected A/Fuel dragsters. The first was Tripp Tatum, who qualified No. 8 with a 5.45. The race was close with Chris finishing first, 5.404 to Tripp's 5.424.
The Jerry Maddern-led team anticipated a challenge in the semifinals, as five-time national champion Bill Reichert would be their opponent.
“You can never take that guy lightly,” Demke said of Reichert. “He's a multi-time champion and he's probably beaten me more times than I've beaten him. That round was going to have huge implications for the points chase so we knew we had to step it up in order to have any shot at beating Bill. We went a little over the curve and it shook the tires. I had to do a little pedal job, so the monkey earned his banana.”
Repeating his first round elapsed time, Chris's footwork was enough to beat Reichert's 5.51. Another challenge followed in the final round. Finalist Dave Hirata had ripped off a 5.26 in the first round and a competitive 5.38 in the semifinals. Most of the challenge, however, took place in the pits, as the California team was left to tune for the finals with data from their previous race in Ohio.
“The tire shake from the semifinals damaged the data recorder. We didn't have any data to tune from, but that's where our experience at Norwalk paid dividends in that what happened at Norwalk told us what the car wanted under those track conditions and atmospheric conditions. We put in a tune-up that mimicked what we used for the semifinals at Norwalk and sure enough it worked,” Demke claimed.
Chris left the starting line first and led for the length of the National Trail quarter-mile, running his quickest ET of the weekend, 5.355/269 MPH to defeat Hirata's 5.376. The North Central Region win, added to recent wins at the Billings regional event and Chicago national event, gives him a lead of almost one hundred points in the NHRA LODRS national points standings.
“To have gone on this crazy trip, with a last minute schedule change – not going to Woodburn and instead going to Columbus – to win three of the four races is just an astounding task. My hat's off to my guys because they put in a Herculean effort. It's still hard to believe that we pulled off what we did,” Demke stated.
On a final note, Chris Demke expressed his thanks to local friend of the team Tim Bucher, who stepped in to assist the 'wounded' team.
“My tuner, Adam Rhoades, slipped and fell and put a big gash in his knee on Sunday morning. We had to drive him off to the hospital to get stitches and it wasn't clear at that time if he would make it back for eliminations. While he did make it back, he was unable to perform his usual task of servicing the clutch. Tim saw all of this on Facebook and came to the track on Sunday to help the team. We rotated (crew member) Kevin Watson to clutch and Tim came in and did bottom end with Hamburger Mike (Chris's brother). He filled in like a champ, and his presence was key to our victory. Having a guy like that to step in and integrate into the crew as easily as he did was huge.”
Maddern Racing is a family-owned and operated NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster team based in Southern California. The team's Chris Demke-driven Peen Rite/Operational Solutions/Boost Performance Products blown alcohol dragster is owned by Jerry Maddern and crewed by Adam Rhoades, Kevin Watson, Mike Demke, Greg Rice, and Robert Hadaller. For more information on Chris Demke and Maddern Racing, please visit www.MaddernRacing.com.
Maddern Racing receives support from the following companies: Peen Rite Inc., Operational Solutions Inc., Boost Performance Products, B-G Detection, Afco, and LA X-Ray.