Shelly Howard Joliet II preview

Howard looking for continued improvement in Chicago. JOLIET, Ill. - Despite coming a long way from a rough start to the season, NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Shelly Howard and her team are looking for continued improvement heading into this...

Howard looking for continued improvement in Chicago.

JOLIET, Ill. - Despite coming a long way from a rough start to the season, NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Shelly Howard and her team are looking for continued improvement heading into this weekend's Craftsman 75th Anniversary Nationals presented by Racing Champions at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago. Howard, who made the final round at this event last year, and has made it to the final at the last five out of six races, hopes to pick up her first national event win of the year this weekend.

Howard, who is a registered nurse when not racing in Tulsa, Okla., realizes taking her first win of the year will be no easy task this weekend. This weekend's event will host an event within an event, the Jegs Sportsman All-Star race, which will pit the top drivers from NHRA's seven geographical divisions against each other during qualifying. In addition to that, over 40 of the top drivers from around the country are entered in this weekend's event, setting the stage for one of the biggest showdowns in the class in recent history.

"This weekend's race will certainly be tough," said Howard. "They are all tough, but when you have the racers competing in the All-Stars race, and over 40 top cars entered, whoever wins this race has their work cut out for them. We are going to go into the race with our normal mindset, and just try to build on the combination we have. We're not going to try to set the world on fire, but you have to constantly refine your set up or you get left behind. I think that is why having Tom Conway in our corner tuning for us is a huge asset in that department."

With cool conditions forecasted, and Route 66 Raceway's reputation as one of the fastest tracks in the country, many expect records to fall this weekend. Howard is more concerned with being consistently quick rather than setting records.

"Going fast and setting records is nice," commented Howard. "We try to run what we know we can run, and be consistent. That is our mindset throughout the team. That's the way Tom tunes the car, that's the way I try to drive the car, and the crew tries to put the car exactly like it was the round before barring any changes. You win as a team and lose as a team, and we try to all stay on that same page. You also have to take it one round at a time; so it's like having seven races within a race if you win. You have to focus on each run without worrying about the others."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the alcohol cars, followed by one session Saturday morning. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to InsideTopAlcohol.com for the latest news in alcohol racing.

For more information on the Howard Racing Team, visit their website at ShellyHoward.com.

-shr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shelly Howard