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Demke Out Early at NHRA Season Opener

Chris Demke

Chris Demke

POMONA, Calif. (February 18, 2016) – For just the third time in the last six years, Chris Demke left Auto Club Raceway without the Circle K NHRA Winternationals Wally. A first-round loss certainly isn’t the way Demke and his Maddern Racing team hoped to start off their 2016 season, but the SoCal team knows why they went out early and will take the proper steps to prevent future E1 losses.

Demke’s Winternationals weekend started on a positive note when he drove the Peen Rite dragster to the provisional number five position with a strong 5.263 ET at 275 MPH. Tire shake-plagued runs followed on the other two qualifying attempts, leaving Demke to enter eliminations from the sixth spot. He faced Boost Performance Products teammate Johnny Ahten.

“Having to pedal on the last two qualifying runs put us behind the curve on what was necessary to run aggressively first round. We put a tune-up in the car for E1 that we knew would get down the track and we flat-out got beat. Hat’s off to Johnny Ahten for stepping up and running his best ET in that particular car. Johnny is a tough character and we didn’t take him lightly; we were just trying to get down the track without any problems and ended up losing.

“Our team has been challenged to get past round one of eliminations since the end of last year into this year. We have to go back to the shop and take a good look at our tune-up. Our parts are all fresh and solid. I think we’ve got what it takes to go rounds, we just need to re-evaluate our tune-up,” Demke admitted.

Maddern Racing tuner and clutch guy Adam Rhoades, who is leaving the team to tune a Top Alcohol Funny Car, was also struggling over the weekend.

“Adam was terribly sick all weekend. He couldn’t talk so we were literally having face-to-face conversations about the tune-up via text messages. I felt so bad for him. It definitely wasn’t how we wanted to finish our time together. While he’s not on the team anymore, he’s a good friend and I’m sure we’ll be talking tune-ups together again in the near future,” Demke added.

Despite the early loss, Demke was quick to comment on the positives of his first outing of the year. He also noted there’s still a whole lot of racing left this season.

“It felt great to get back in the car again, make some full runs and hit the parachutes. I just feel so lucky to be the driver for an awesome team. I’m looking forward to laying down some great numbers and having fun in 2016. “


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/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

Maddern Racing receives support from the following companies: Peen Rite Inc., Boost Performance Products, B-G Detection, Afco, LA X-Ray, Hoosier Racing Tires, Morningwood Energy Drink, and Motorsports Unlimited.