POMONA, Calif. - Federal Mogul Dragster driver and team owner Duane Shields lost in the first round of eliminations to Steve Faria during this weekend's AAA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, Calif. Shields was ahead of Faria to the 330' mark, when a relatively cheap valvetrain component broke early in the run that lead to serious engine damage by the end. Faria was able to pull away for the win with an elapsed time of 5.460 at 259.46 miles per hour over Shields' wounded 5.753 at 200 mph.
Shields, of Las Vegas, qualified No. 8 with a 5.546 at 250.96 mph before meeting up with Faria. Team driver Dale Carlson did not make the field when he could only muster a 5.73 that put him as the first alternate. Shields feels if the motor would have made the run damage free, it might have been a different outcome.
"A valve adjuster broke about 2.5 seconds into the run," said Shields. "That caused the boost to go way up in the rest of the cylinders, and it ended up pushing the head gaskets out and torching both heads. We had actually caught him by the 330' mark, and were still dead even with him at half track, but that's when the motor started going away. It would have been a close race if the motor would have held out."
Aside from competition goals, Shields also wanted to test his two car team in a national event environment to consider his two car options for next year.
"They were really pushing the FMD's on time on Sunday, so it would have been tough with two cars," explained Shields. "I think for next year I am going to change the gears and a few other things in the No. 2 car to make it a little bit more like mine. As far as running both cars next year, if the money is right, we'll do it. We will just have to see."