"I don't know if the fact that we won the Fast 16 Championship has sunk in yet. Probably because we have two more races left and the ever coveted Wally has eluded our team so far. But the championship is the best thing that has happened to our team in a long time," commented Henderson, Colorado drag racer USAF Sergeant David Oenes.
Oenes squeaked out the win in a run-off by nine- thousandths of a second.
Sergeant Oenes says the Fast 16 Championship has been 12 years in the making for his team, and it's particularly sweet coming after such a rough start to their season.
The last race of the Fast 16 season was contested at the mile-high, Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colorado, and it was a thriller. At over 5800 feet above sea level the speedway is often referred to as Thunder Mountain, nestled up against the hogback leading up to the Rocky Mountains, where things can sometimes get very interesting in the rarified air.
"The car was running amazing," explained Oenes. "However I was having trouble with the tree and could not get a good reaction."
Oenes says all the waiting worked in his favor, as it got him irritated, taking his mind off the overwhelming significance of the moment.
Oenes wound up red lighting by six-thousandths of a second, leaving him in a dead tie for the number one spot in the overall points standing. Being that this was the last race there would now have to be a race-off for one single point to determine the championship.
"The race-off was a strange deal. We had to wait until the race was over because there were still people in competition that could have passed us. So once we found out we started heading down to the staging lanes. Then the officials came over the PA and said, hold on a second we have to run through the numbers again, and then they said ok come on down. Then once we were all suited up, seat belted in the car at the stop sign waiting to start our cars - we had to wait again. There was some confusion about qualifying points or something."
"Anyway, after ten or fifteen minutes they finally said...start em' up! I think having to wait so long actually helped me. Instead of working myself up about how much this one race meant, I was a little irritated. So perhaps it was a blessing in disguise. We won the race by nine-thousandths of a second (.009)."
The 2010 season started out pretty rough by Oenes Motorsports usual standards, what with planetary gears exploding in new starters, seat belts coming undone during a run, and batteries mysteriously going dead.
"We never could have imagined, or dreamed, that we would end up in such a coveted position," remarked the Colorado Air National Guard Sergeant. "But with a huge amount of help from our sponsors like K&N, and our determination and perseverance, it all culminated in an amazing finish."
This is Oenes third overall career championship thus far, but by all measure he says it's the sweetest. His other two championships came in the High School class back in '90 and '91. This championship has been 12 years in the making for Oenes and his team, which is when he first started racing the Fast 16.
"We have finished second a couple times and third once, but we've never been the champs. The main reason this championship means so much more is because we are the first team to win the Fast 16 Championship with a supercharged engine. Every other champ has used Nitrous Oxide (NOS)."
"As far as next year goes," continues Oenes, "We have a new supercharger on order, so we will have the potential to turn the wick up if we wanted to. Also, we are making some chassis upgrades to make the car as safe as it can be. Other than that, our main focus will be defending the title, and with any luck at all getting a Wally. Hopefully we will be able to attend a National race in the Top Dragster class.
"Again, I have to add, this championship would not have been possible without K&N and all our other sponsors and our friend from Canada, Clif Bakx - so a huge thank you goes out to all."
Find K&N products for your vehicle using the K&N application search then use the K&N dealer search to find a K&N dealer in your part of the world.