System failure costs Whiteley in Northwest Nationals

Grand Junction top alcohol driver Jim Whiteley reached the final, but an electrical-system failure cost him a chance for victory in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Northwest Nationals last weekend in Kent, Wash.

The YNot Racing blown alcohol dragster started fine, but it went into a heavy tire shake, triggering an electrical failure and shutting the car off.

Chris Demke, who backfired his dragster, coasted to the win, but had his own problems. The parachutes deployed when the car backfired, but Demke was able to coast to the finish line.

“We were trying to be conservative in the final; we had it backed down,” Whiteley said in a news release. “It shook pretty hard, and a component in the electrical system failed, shutting the car off. It looked like I was going to coast around him, then for some reason the parachutes deployed. We still don’t know why it happened. The burst panels were intact; so the safety shutoff should not have triggered our parachutes. That’s drag racing, though. Things happen, and you just have to move on.”

He qualified second in the elimination round with a 5.284-second elapsed time at 271.46 mph. He defeated Ray Martin in the first round with a 5.306 at 270.92 mph. In the semifinals he defeated Mark Taliaferro with a time of 5.316 seconds at 270.64 mph.

Whiteley leads Demke by 64 points in the Lucas Oil points standings. Whiteley and the YNot Racing team will compete at the Lucas Oil Nationals on Aug. 17–19 in Brainerd, Minn.


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