Coveted Lucas Oil TA Titles Claimed
Chris Demke and Steve Harker clinched NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series World Championships when action was completed at the recent NHRA nationals held in Reading, Pa….
Demke from Tujunga, Calif., locked up the Top Alcohol Dragster Championship with a semifinal win over 5-time Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Bill Reichert in the rescheduled Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals held during qualifying for the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.
Harker’s Top Alcohol Funny Car championship run came on Sunday during eliminations for the Maple Grove event when he outran Dale Brand as the Australian became the first non-North American to win an NHRA World Championship.
Demke went on to win the Carolina Nationals and the NHRA Nationals to distance himself from both Joey Severance and Randy Meyer who were chasing the title themselves. Demke now has five national event wins this year, starting out with a win at the season opening Circle K NHRA Winternationals, then losing in early rounds in his next five outings before winning again in June at the regional event in Acton, Mont.
His other two national event wins came in Chicago at Route 66 Raceway and in Indianapolis where he grabbed his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory. Regional event wins were added in Columbus, Ohio, Seattle and Topeka, Kan.
Demke finished No. 2 in the championship in each of the last two seasons, and in 2010.
Harker came on strong the second half of the season winning his last three events, and six of his last seven, after a slow start to the season. His last seven events have resulted in four nationals event wins and a pair of regional wins. The streak started at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, where he beat out Chris Foster and recorded both low elapsed time and top speed of the event.
Harker then collected NHRA Lucas Oil regional wins in St. Louis, at Gateway Motorsports Park and in Bowling Green, Ky., at Beech Bend Raceway Park. Like Demke, Harker won both the delayed Carolina Nationals and the NHRA Nationals in Reading. Harker defeated Brand in the semifinal in Reading, and then John Lombardo Jr. in the final to close out his championship weekend. He also added a national event win in Dallas at the Texas Motorplex where he beat Terry Ruckman.
Brand was the last racer that could catch Harker as he and Jay Payne are currently in second and third in points but are out of events to claim toward their point’s total. Harker has finished in the top 5 three times, finishing second in both 2008 and 2009.
Posted by: Eric Lotz