NHRA sportsmen at Reading, PA

Steve Harker (far lane) got the TAFC win over John Lombardo Jr.

NHRA sportsmen at Reading, PA

Demke, Harker take wins at Maple Grove; Harker locks up championship

Chris Demke and Steve Harker took home the wins in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car at the 30th Annual Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

After just winning the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals and clinching the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series World Championship on Saturday, Demke worked his way through the field and ran 5.262 seconds at 272.45 mph in his final round victory over Duane Shields, Boulder City, Nev., who clocked in at 5.392 seconds at 255.92 mph. Demke had a great reaction time of 0.005 off the line and made another great looking pass down the track to take the win.

Demke (far lane) beat Duane Shields in the TAD final.

In the first round of eliminations, Demke added to his record of scoring his season best elapsed time and speed of 5.217 seconds at 277.94 mph. This was Demke’s fifth national event win this year and his 15th Top Alcohol Dragster win of his career.

Harker, who also won the Carolina Nationals, faced off against John Lombardo Jr., Brea, Calif., and posted a winning run of 5.429 seconds, 267.69 mph in his ’13 Mustang. Lombardo drove to a 10.494-second, 80.78-mph lap for his runner up finish.

Harker has one previous win against Lombardo and this was the first time they faced each other in a final round. Lombardo had the starting line advantage over Harker but Lombardo smoked the tires off the starting line. Harker had a great looking pass down the track scored his career best ET for his second national event win of the weekend and his third national event win in a row. This was also his eighth national event victory.

Harker faced off with Dale Brand in the semifinals as both drivers were in contention for winning the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series World Championship in Top Alcohol Funny Car. Brand had the lead in points over Harker coming into the event, but with Harker’s win over Brand in the semi-final round he was able to pass Brand in points and clinch the National Championship in Top Alcohol Funny Car.