Houston: Shields wrap-up

BAYTOWN, Texas - Federal Mogul Dragster driver Duane Shields made his best showing of the year at this past weekend's O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. Shields qualified his Short Line Express Blown Alcohol...

BAYTOWN, Texas - Federal Mogul Dragster driver Duane Shields made his best showing of the year at this past weekend's O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. Shields qualified his Short Line Express Blown Alcohol Dragster third and worked his way to the semifinals where he lost to defending four time World Champion Rick Santos.

Shields, who owns the Short Line Express Market chain in Las Vegas, ran a strong elapsed time of 5.376 seconds at 261.88 mph to take the third spot in the field. In round one, he ran a 5.473 at 259.36 mph on only seven cylinders to put away Sergio Recio. Shields then upped the ante in round two, however, by rocketing to a 5.358, his career best e.t., at 260.86 mph to put away Troy Buff. Shields' weekend would end in the semifinals against the Champ Santos. Shields launched into heavy tireshake, and slowed to a 5.485 at 243.72 mph to Santos' flawless 5.343 at 261.52 mph.

"We're certainly happy with the weekend," said Shields. "The performance of the car was better than we expected to run. Running our career best certainly motivated us. We spun a rear main in the semifinals against Rick [Santos]. Anytime you run close to the numbers he runs, it makes it fun. We're definitely looking forward to the next race."

"There's a reason why he's the champion," continued Shields. "He's won so many races. Anytime you go against him, you certainly have to do your best."

With Santos claiming Division 6 this year, the stage is set for many more possible battles between Shields and Santos.

"I think that Division 6 is certainly going to give him a challenge," stated Shields. "We hope to be one of those challengers that doesn't allow him to win every race."

The next race for the Shields team will be the SummitRacing.com Nationals at "The Strip" in Las Vegas. Shields would love to pick up a win in front of his hometown fans. In addition to that race, the rained out final from the Tucson Division 7 race, where he will face the "Bud Prince" Brandon Bernstein.

"With the altitude, and weather, it's going to be quite a bit warmer in Las Vegas," commented Shields. "If we can run in the 5.40's, I think we'll be one of the top qualifiers, and I think we'll have a good chance at winning both races."

Television coverage from the O'Reilly Nationals featuring the Federal Mogul categories will air on ESPN2 from 1-2 p.m. (EST), Wed., Apr. 4.

-Shields Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Rick Santos , Duane Shields , Troy Buff