NHRA Sportsman Classes at the Winternationals

NHRA Sportsman Classes at the Winternationals

Demke, Lindberg Take Alcohol Wins at Season Opener

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster National Champion Chris Demke began his title defense with a season opening win while Jonnie Lindberg grabbed his first national event win February 8 at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.

Chris Demke (near lane) got the TAD win over Shawn Cowie.  (Tim Marshall photo)

Demke, Tujunga, Calif., faced off with Shawn Cowie who got the early lead only to see Demke chase him down for his 16th NHRA national event win, posting his quickest pass of the weekend at 5.264 seconds, 273.88 mph.  Demke had the lead by the 330’ mark and won by a tenth of a second as Cowie, Delta, B.C., crossed the finish line at 5.367, 268.33.

Demke ran in the 5.20’s all day on Sunday defeating No. 1 qualifier Don St. Arnaud and Joey Severance on his way to the final.

In addition to Demke's championship car, Maddern Racing was fielding an experimental car with driver Ray Martin and car chief Kirk Kuhns. The results of the two cars surpassed most everyone's expectations as both cars advanced to the semifinals before Demke went on to win the race.

“After having won a championship, I was confident in our guys. I was confident in our ability to put the car I was driving back together in championship form and come out swinging. We had the added challenge of bringing a second car into the mix, the X car. But we had a great bunch of guys working on that car. Ray Martin is an excellent driver and he's adapted to the car quickly. We had Kirk come in to serve as the car chief on that car and it was a pleasure to work with him. He's a great guy and I look forward to future opportunities with him,” Demke noted.

While Martin's car was off to a great start, qualifying sixth with a 5.311 ET, Demke's car was struggling. The championship car went into eliminations from the eight spot.

“My car just wasn't responding. We still don't know exactly what the issue was. We made small changes between Q1 and Q2 and it went from a 5.35 to a .34. Then we made huge changes for Q3 and it went from a .34 to a .33. Going into first round we made bigger changes yet and it went from a .33 to a .32. We ended up swapping motors for second round and it responded and was back to its winning ways. I knew as soon as I did the burnout that it was going to be better than all of the previous runs.”