Enumclaw racers hit The Strip at 200 mph

  • Tue Nov 17th, 2015 7:32pm
  • Sports

Dana Meeks aboard his high-powered machine

Enumclaw friends Dana Meeks, Chris Wilson and John Wilson headed to the famous Strip in Las Vegas recently to compete in the final stop of the 2015 NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

The Nov. 5-8 competition included 13 teams from the United States and Canada.

For the uninitiated, a drag race is between two cars or motorcycles and is a quarter-mile long in a straight line, with another half mile of track for deceleration. Both mile-per-hour and elapsed time (in seconds) are displayed on the scoreboard, but only elapsed time determines the winner.

“We were really impressed with the Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex,” Meeks said. “It’s huge. There must have been 300 dragsters and race cars on site.”

Meeks had nothing but praise for those he competed against.

“The Top Fuel Harley teams are a good group of people,” he said. “Chris, John, and I are still learning how to tune a nitro-powered engine and we received a lot of help from several crew chiefs. Don’t get me wrong, everybody is there to win — from the starting line to the finish line it’s all business. But everywhere else it’s a friendly environment.”

The local team’s first pass down the Vegas track went well, clocking the quarter-mile in 6.885 seconds while hitting a top speed of 194.94 mph.

“It was the first time I’d deployed the parachute at that speed,” Meeks said. “It hit with quite a tug, but all went well.”

During the next two days of qualifying, the Enumclaw team improved to a 6.791 seconds and then 6.766, which qualified the crew seventh among the 13 bikes. From that field the top eight bikes went on to eliminations on the final day.

When the pairings were announced, Meeks was lined up against world-record holder Tommy Grimes, who competes in a 1,000 horsepower machine.

“We were the first pair of bikes to run after the funny cars,” Meeks said. “The first half of the pass went great: zero to 175 mph in 4.4 seconds. The front tire was fully airborne and it was probably the straightest, smoothest pass of my life!

But then mechanical disaster struck.

“At 800 feet we dropped a cylinder,” Meeks said. “Prior to the round we had increased the fuel pressure to generate as much power as possible at the starting line, but down track the motor was getting too much fuel and the fire went out.”

With the drag series concluded, the Enumclaw trio are already looking forward to bigger and better things.

“Overall, the weekend was a huge success,” Meeks said. “We ran with the hottest bikes in the world and got into the show. We also learned a lot about tuning. We’re excited to build on that knowledge for 2016.”