Las Vegas: Duane Shields to debut 2 car team

LAS VEGAS - Federal Mogul Dragster driver and car owner Duane Shields will debut a two car team during this weekend's NHRA Division 7 Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series event at "The Strip," Las Vegas Motor Speedway's quarter-mile dragstrip, just ...

LAS VEGAS - Federal Mogul Dragster driver and car owner Duane Shields will debut a two car team during this weekend's NHRA Division 7 Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series event at "The Strip," Las Vegas Motor Speedway's quarter-mile dragstrip, just outside of Las Vegas.

Shields, who resides in Las Vegas, feels the two car approach will benefit the team in a number of ways, much like the trend to two car teams in the Funny Car ranks. Experienced driver Dale Carlson has been chosen to drive the second car. Although Shields feels that this weekend will be a learning curve in making a two car team work, he wants to make it clear that the No. 2 car is not just an "R&D" car; both cars are set up to win.

"We're going to try to run both cars all out," said Shields. "We want both cars to be contenders in the field. The only testing will be minor changes for the track conditions. Both cars are set up pretty close to the same."

"This weekend will probably be the learning curve. Getting everyone to work together as a two car team, and learning the basics of it will be the main focus, but we still want our No. 1 car to be able to win this weekend. The No. 2 car will probably take a little bit longer to fine tune. We want to have it down to where both cars can be serious contenders in Pomona."

Carlson, who drove for Mike Johnson's team for the last few years, feels optimistic of the chances of the new two car team, as well as his shot back in the driving seat.

"It feels great to be back in the car," said Carlson.  "I couldn't be
happier than to work with a team like Duane Shields'.  These people are
great and they are a lot of fun.  So far everything is going great."

Carlson made some shakedown runs today in testing, with a best elapsed time of a 5.72, with Shields running a 5.55 as well.

"Today's run was intended to be a soft run," Carlson commented. "This is the first time this car has been down the track in nearly a year. Everything on this car is top notch, we're happy with the way it ran. Now we have a baseline to work with, and we'll see what we can do from here."

Shields added, "The marketing opportunities a two car team offers is a big plus to potential sponsors, as well as data collection. We can learn twice the data with the same amount of runs now."

"If we can get some sponsorship participation, we will certainly look into making this a full time deal in 2001," Shields continued. "Right now the plan is to make this race and Pomona with the two car team, but we haven't ruled Houston and Phoenix out if all goes well; those races are still in the back of our mind."

Qualifying begins at 7 p.m. for the Federal Mogul Dragsters on Friday, with two more qualifying sessions following on Saturday. Final eliminations will begin on Sunday. Stay tuned to SummitRacing.com's Drag Race Central for day by day updates from Las Vegas.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Johnson , Duane Shields