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