--- Home Page
--- What's New
--- Features
--- Features
--- E-mail

The latest update as of June 20, 2023

Trailer Source Thunder On The Mountain

Thunder On The Mountain - Bandimere Speedway - June 15 - 17, 2023

Following a test session on Thursday, and a complete rainout on Friday, the Central Region Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and Division Five race got underway at Bandimere Speedway (Morrison, CO) on Saturday. While the pits weren't full of Top Alcohol cars, the ones in attendance were ready to put on another great show for the Colorado fans. A total of eight dragsters and six Funny Cars appeared, and we've got photos, courtesy of Dale Fackler and descriptions (courtesy of NHRA.com and NHRA.tv, and of course, Drag Race Central.

Today's post will focus on the Top Alcohol cars, but we'll bring you a great selection of pics from the Sportsman categories that filled out the show with some great performances from the Top Dragster and Top Sportsman entries, and the always entertaining wheelstanding Super Stock and Stock racers. We'll wrap up our coverage with the entire event highlights in the Features section of the website later in the week. For now, enjoy the Top Alcohol action.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Qualifying Session #1

Nick Spiegel - T/AD

The first pair out of the staging lanes saw Nick Spiegel (shown above) running against Bob Button (not shown). Unfortunately, Button lost fire at the end of the burnout, turning the first pair into a single for Spiegel. The "Peformance Truck" team car, owned by James Stevens and driven by Spiegel, ran into serious tire shake just past the 60' mark and coasted down track to a 12.054 - 65.69 clocking.

Chris Demke - T/AD --- James Stevens - T/AD

(LEFT) The first side-by-side run of qualifying saw California's Chris Demke in the "Peen-Rite" car of Jerry Maddern go to the top of the ladder with a solid 5.539 - 264.75 to open his weekend on a high note.

(RIGHT) Not faring quite as well was Nebraska's James Stevens, who had to work the steering to stay in the groove and stopped the clocks at a decent 5.750 - 246.66 to slot in behind Demke's #1 qualifying shot.

Shawn Cowie - T/AD --- Joey Severance - T/AD

(LEFT) Finishing up the first session for the dragsters was Canada's Shawn Cowie in the ultra-familiar "Mundie's Towing" entry, still fighting for his first national/world championship in the category. After two consecutive regional victories to start the 2023 season, Shawn was looking for a third win to maximize his regional points for the year. He started strongly here with a very good 5.490 - 264.86 to knock Demke off the top of the qualifying chart.

(RIGHT) Cowie's run was good but in the other lane, defending world champion Joey Severance got to the finish line first with an excellent 5.420 - 266.95 to take the #1 spot going into the second, and final, qualifying session.

Scoreboards - Shawn Cowie (right) 5.490 - 264.86 vs 
Joey Severance (left) 5.420 - 266.95

As reported above, here is the scoreboard evidence from the final pair of dragsters in the first qualifying session. Cowie's numbers are on the right side, while Severance's are on the left.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Qualifying Session #1

Doug Schneider - TA/FC

Leading off for the funny cars was Colorado's Doug Schneider in the still unpainted/unwrapped "Milliken Monster", and he took it to the finish line with a decent 5.946 - 241.97 to grab a spot in the field.

Jim Whiteley - 'TA/FC --- Jim Whiteley - 'TA/FC

Facing him in the other lane was Jim Whiteley with his "J & A Services" entry, and he eclipsed Schneider's time with a very good 5.817 - 253.18 to take at least a temporary hold on the top spot on the ladder.

Shane Westerfield - TA/FC (near lane) vs 
Christine Foster - TA/FC (far lane) --- Shane Westerfield - TA/FC (near lane) vs 
Christine Foster - TA/FC (far lane)

The other pair of the session saw last year's #2 car in the championship standings, Shane Westerfield, (near lane) driving the late Rick Jackson entry make his second appearance of the season. He left the line too early (a malady that afflicted him in the latter half of the 2022 season) with an -.036 reaction but rang up a great 5.781 - 251.58 clocking to overtake the first pair on the ladder. In the far lane, Christine Foster had some tire shake early and clicked it off before half track, easing down track to a 6.962 - 138.84 pass.

Doug Gordon - TA/FC (near lane) vs 
Kyle Smith - TA/FC (far lane)

The final pairing of the round featured defending national champion Doug Gordon (near lane) in the "Beta Cycles" entry facing the Midwest terror, Kyle Smith (far lane) in his "PC Disposal" car. Both cars struck the tires almost instantly and limped across the finish line with nearly identical mid 7-second elapsed times. And that wrapped up the first qualifying session for the alcohol cars.

Kayla Zadel licensing

As a bit of a bonus for the fans, Kayla Zadel came out for a licensing pass in a Top Alcohol Dragster. We have no details on the car but it appears to be late model equipment and capable of competitive performances. Her pass resulted in "no time recorded" as she left before the tree was activated, as the car went through the stage beams when she brought the revs up. After launching, the car made a move towards the wall before half track and coasted across the finish line.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Qualifying Session #2 - FINAL

Eugene Tumbarello - T/AD --- Bob Button - T/AD

(LEFT)It certainly looks like the Greg Hunter car, but it's actually Eugene Tumbarello making his first NHRA appearance in seven years. This was his second attempt to make a pass, but just like his first try, an oil leak developed after the burnout and the crew was forced to shut the car off.

(RIGHT)Although his hometown is listed as Gulfport, Florida, Bob Button has been running out west (Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver), trying to sort out the electronic fuel injection system on his blown alcohol combination. Despite some setbacks and damaged parts, the car has been running better but he shook the tires hard on the launch and shut off to a 17-second pass.

Chris Demke - T/AD (near lane) vs 
James Stevens - T/AD (far lane) --- Shawn Cowie - T/AD (near lane) vs 
Joey Severance - T/AD (far lane)

(LEFT)Both cars in this next pairing came into the session hoping to move up, but Chris Demke in Jerry Maddern's "Peen-Rite" car shook hard and clicked it off to a 10-second clocking to remain in the #3 spot. On the far side, James Stevens made a full pass in his "Performance Truck" entry, but only improved half a tenth, from 5.75 to 5.70, and stayed in the #4 spot. That meant a rematch between these two teams in the first round of eliminations, with Demke holding lane choice.

(RIGHT) The final pair of qualifying featured the top two racers on the ladder, with Joey Severance (far lane) in the "J&A Services" car holding down the top spot, while Shawn Cowie (near lane) was driving the "Mundie's Towing" car. Shawn left before the green and powered away from a tire shaking Severance, improving to a 5.443 - 267.37, but remained in the #2 position. However, his speed was best of the meet to that point.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Qualifying Session #2 - FINAL

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- Christine Foster - TA/FC

(LEFT)After a troubled 7-second pass in the first session, Doug Gordon was looking to jump up the charts to the top spot going into eliminatisns. It didn't happen as the tires started smoking on the launch and he limped down track to a 15-second clocking to sit near the bottom of the ladder in the #5 spot.

(RIGHT)After suffering irreprable breakage in the first session, Doug Schneider was a no-show, allowing Christine Foster to take a bye run in her second qualifying pass. After a hard launch, the car started moving around, as Christine pedalled her way to a 6.777 - 225.21 to hold on to the #4 spot. Interestingly enough, with Schneider holding down the #3 position, that set her up for a competition bye in the first round.

Jim Whiteley - TA/FC --- Kayla Zadel licensing

(LEFT)The last pair of alcohol qualifying featured Shane Westerfield (not shown) facing off against Jim Whiteley. Neither driver got down the track in good order as tire shake ruled the day again, limiting them to 9 and 10-second passes, respectively.

(RIGHT)Coming out to make another licensing pass, Kayla Zadel was able to get off the line in good order, pulling the front wheels up on the launch, but she was off the throttle at the 330' mark and coasted down to a 9-second pass on her second attempt of the day.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Eliminations - Round One

Joey Severance - T/AD --- James Stevens - T/AD (near lane) vs 
Chris Demke - T/AD (far lane)

(LEFT)First out of the lanes for eliminations, world champion Joey Severance faced off against Bob Button (not shown), and despite leaving second by a few hundredths, took an easy win with a very good 5.438 - 265.59 over Button's competitive 5.694 - 251.72 effort. The win earned Severance a bye run in the semi-finals of the six-car field.

(RIGHT)The closest matched pair in qualifying, the #3 car of Chris Demke (far lane) and the #4 car of James Stevens faced off next. At the green, it was Demke away first by a small (.039 to .051) margin.

James Stevens - T/AD (near lane) vs 
Chris Demke - T/AD (far lane) --- Scoreboards: Chris Demke - 5.520 - 260.91 (right) vs 
James Stevens - 5.711 - 246.53 (left)

(LEFT)By the 330' mark, Demke had pulled into a half car length lead and continued to stretch it all the way to the finish line as Stevens crossed the line in a cloud of piston smoke.

(RIGHT) The scoreboards really told the tale as Demke's superior 5.520 - 260.91 (right) easily overcame Stevens' trailing 5.711 - 246.53 (left).

Shawn Cowie - T/AD --- Shawn Cowie - T/AD

The final pair of the round matched Shawn Cowie against Nick Spiegel (not shown). After two troubled runs in qualifying produced a 12-second "best", Speigel got off the line first against Cowie (.060 to .124) and matched Cowie's 60' time, but it all came undone before the 300' mark, as Spiegel slowed to a 7.012 - 154.37 to end his weekend. In the other lane, Cowie sped away to a convincing 5.488 - 264.08 to hold lane choice against Demke in the semi-final round.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Eliminations - Round One

Shane Westerfield - TA/FC --- Jim Whiteley - TA/FC

(LEFT) Opening eliminations from the #1 qualifying position, Shane Westerfield was looking to advance to the bye run in the semifinal round, but he was facing a tough opponent, Kyle Smith (not shown). It all went wrong for Westerfield from the green as he left second, fell half a tenth behind at the 60' mark, then shook and headed towards the wall before the 330' mark. He shut off to an 8-second clocking, while Smith advanced to the semifinal, and in all likelihood, the final round with his first representative run of the event at 5.764 - 247.20 for the win.

(RIGHT)Laying down a hard burnout before his first round race was Jim Whiteley, racing on his home track and starting eliminations from the #2 spot on the ladder. He had a tough customer in the other lane though and a win was far from assured. He improved slightly from his qualifying times with a very good 5.790 - 252.80 but it wasn't enough to get past his opponent.

Doug Gordon - TA/FC --- Scoreboards: Jim Whiteley - 5.790 - 252.80 (right) vs 
Doug Gordon - 5.706 - 257.24 (left)

(LEFT) Facing Whiteley was defending world champion Doug Gordon, but he had failed to get down the track in both qualifying attempts. Tire shake and tire smoke was the tale of those runs. The team obviously got thing sorted out for eliminations as he blasted out low e.t. and top speed of meet at 5.706 - 257.24 to easily overcome Whiteley's strong, but losing pass.

(RIGHT) The scoreboards tell the tale as Gordon missed resetting the track record by little more than a hundredth of a second. The gap at the stripe was less than two car lengths in the close race.

Christine Foster - TA/FC --- Scoreboard - Christine Foster - 5.832 - 250.92

Closing out the round was Christine Foster in her "Chambless Roofing" entry on a competition bye as scheduled opponent Doug Schneider broke on his first qualifying pass and could not make the call. Foster picked up nearly one second over her 6.77 qualifying time, pounding out a great 5.832 - 250.92 despite a little wiggle towards the centerline at half track. The win put her in the semifinals against Doug Gordon, with the "Beta Cycles" driver holding lane choice.

With two days worth of racing compressed into one, the semifinals for the Top Alcohol cars were pushed into the late evening, with temperatures dropped drastically and the track tightening up by the minute. It was so cold that our photographer, Dale Fackler, was barely able to keep the camera from shaking as he took the following shots. He went to the parking lot to attempt to warm up before the finals but it was just too cold to return to the frigid grandstands, so we unfortunately don't have final round photos.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Eliminations Round Two (Semi-Final)

Joey Severance - T/AD --- Severance scoreboard - 5.406 - 268.01

Advancing directly to the finals from his top qualifying spot, Joey Severance didn't take it easy on his bye run as he pounded out a new low e.t. and top speed of the meet at 5.406 - 268.01. It got a little tense on the top end as the car made a slow drift toward the centerline but kept it in his lane all the way. Severance's run came close to, but not better than Shawn Cowie's track record numbers of 5.366 - 269.08, set last year at this event.

Shawn Cowie - T/AD (near lane) vs Chris Demke - T/AD (far lane) --- Shawn Cowie - T/AD (near lane) vs Chris Demke - T/AD (far lane)

It was shaping up to be a close race in the only pairing of the semifinal as Shawn Cowie (near lane) held lane choice by only five hundredths over challenger Chris Demke (far lane). Demke left first and outran Cowie at every incremental down track as he took a convincing 5.535 - 263.46 over Cowie's much slower (by his standards) 5.633 - 261.37 effort. That set up the final round with Severance holding lane choice over Demke.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Eliminations Round Two (Semi-Final)

Doug Gordon - TA/FC (near lane) vs Christine Foster - TA/FC (far lane) --- Kyle Smith - TA/FC

(LEFT)Despite a much improved run in her first round bye, Christine Foster (far lane) faced a formidable opponent in Doug Gordon (near lane). It was virtually over right on the starting line as Gordon left first - by a bunch - with an .090 light to Christine's very late .237 reaction. She compounded her problems with serious tire shake early in the run and shut off to a 8.930 - 96.76. In the other lane, Gordon ran away to another round win at a solid 5.718 - 256.84 to advance to the final.

(RIGHT)Ready to face Gordon in that final was Kyle Smith, who earned the semifinal bye after getting past Shane Westerfield in the first round of eliminations. He ran hard to half track before easing off the throttle and coasting across the finish line at 6.117 - 179.09 for the automatic win. With both lanes appearing identical, ceding lane choice didn't appear to be a real detriment for Smith.

The final rounds were worth waiting for as in the Top Alcohol Funny Car match, Doug Gordon reset his own track record with an awesome (for the altitude) 5.691 - 256.80 to take an easy victory over Kyle Smith. The two drivers left nearly together and Smith had a small lead at the 60' mark, but Gordon had pulled even with him at the 330' mark. At that point Gordon took over as Smith's car started moving around, forcing him to shut down to a losing 6.205 - 181.30, as he coasted across the finish line.

The evening finished with the Top Alcohol Dragster final and it pitted current world champion Joey Severance against former (2010 & 2014) world champion Chris Demke. On paper it was a mismatch, with Severance holding all the quick runs and Demke a full tenth of a second behind. And there was nothing for Demke on reaction times as Severance consistently cuts great lights. When the ambers flashed, Severance left first by a few thousandths (.036 to .042), but Demke was close at the 60' mark. However, he started heading for the centerline around the 300' mark and clicked it off to a 7.712 - 115.91 loss, while Severance turned on the winlight with another great pass at 5.417 - 267.48 as he earned his 47th Lucas Oil Series trophy.