Sportsman Spotlight: Wade Kiefer Makes His Corvette Scream

Wade putting some torque to the tires of his 1963 Sportsman Chevy Corvette.

Wade putting some torque to the tires of his 1963 Sportsman Chevy Corvette.

It’s a drag racing story as old as, well, drag racing… An 18 year old boy has a 1976 Chevrolet Corvette and his friend has a 454 cubic-inch Chevy mill. Someone inevitaly comes up with the idea, “Let’s put that big block in the Vette and see how fast it’ll go.” That’s exactly how Wade Kiefer of Kimball, Nebraska started drag racing.

Wade's daughter puts a shine on his first drag car, his 1976 Chevy Corvette. (Note, the front end is from an early 80's Corvette.)

Wade’s daughter puts a shine on his first drag car, his 1976 Chevy Corvette. (Note, the front end is from an early 80’s Corvette.)

Pretty soon, Wade had his Chevy Corvette running the 1/4-mile in the 11 seconds, breaking half shafts and shredding competitors. When there was talk of cutting up the Corvette, Wade opted to buy a back-halved 1968 Corvette instead, and soon had it running in the mid-9s in the Super Pro class at his home track, Julesburg Dragstrip, and surrounding tracks.

Of course, once the drag racing bug bites, the tendency is to push things to the limit. Wade did exactly that, buying a 1963 Top Sportsman Class Corvette.

Wade carries the front tires off the line in his 1968 Corvette.

Wade carries the front tires off the line in his 1968 Corvette.

With a 632 cubic-inch engine, his ’63 split-window was by far the meanest creation he’d ever raced, and it was capable of a low e.t. of 7.43 at 187 mph. Despite still working the bugs out of their new creation, Wade and his crew were able to earn a runners-up finish at a divisional event, and a quarter-final appearance at an NHRA national event in Topeka.

Just as they were getting the car dialed in, Wade took a wild ride in his 63 Corvette and ended up wrecking at the Mile High Nationals in 2015. After the crash, the off-season was spent rebuilding the split-window Corvette in hopes of avenging his bad luck from last season. When asked about it, Wade keeps his response simple, “[I’m] going to win it this year.”

The aftermath of Wade's crash at Mile High.

The aftermath of Wade’s crash at Mile High.

While you can expect to see Wade burning up the strip this summer in NHRA Division 5, you can also expect to see his son Bransyn following in his father’s footsteps, with a JR Dragster.

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Starting them young! Wade’s son may one day pilot a wicked Corvette of his own.

Wade wouldn’t be able to field both a Top Sportsman 1963 Chevy Corvette and a Super Pro 1968 Chevy Corvette without the help of several people. His family does a little bit of everything, with his wife Brooke monitoring the data, his sister-in-law Amanda Luche packing his parachutes, his son Bransyn learning the ropes, and his two daughters Aspyn and Breckyn cheering him on. Todd Vogel also serves as his crew chief, doing all the engine work and chassis tuning.

When asked why Wade loves drag racing so much, he echoed what you’ll hear most drag racers say, the great people he’s met. Having a big wreck certainly reminded him how tight-knit the drag racing community is, as he had hundreds of visitors to his pits after the accident to show their support. Wade says it’s also not uncommon to ask where his kids are, and find them playing catch or watching television over in a pro racer’s pit. It’s all one big family in drag racing.

For Wade, drag racing is a family affair.

For Wade, drag racing is a family affair.

Expect to see Wade Kiefer back at the track this summer. Just hope you’re not lined up next to him at the tree.

About the author

Austin Coop

Austin Coop is graduate of Miami University, and grew up riding shotgun in his family’s 1962 Chevy Corvette and blown 1930 Model A. He prefers life on the road, hitting up roadside oddities and scenic backroads. Closer to home, Austin enjoys wrenching on, or riding, his vintage motorcycle. With interests ranging from classics to street rods to motorsports, he is a fan of anything with a motor. He’s also the founder of 2LaneAmerica.com, a site dedicated to everything we love about road trips.
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