Shields is fired up about Phoenix

CHANDLER, Ariz. - After running career best times two weeks ago at the AutoZone Winternationals, Federal Mogul Dragster driver and team owner Duane Shields is excited about this weekend's upcoming Checker's-Schuck's-Kraegen Nationals at Firebird...

CHANDLER, Ariz. - After running career best times two weeks ago at the AutoZone Winternationals, Federal Mogul Dragster driver and team owner Duane Shields is excited about this weekend's upcoming Checker's-Schuck's-Kraegen Nationals at Firebird Raceway, just outside of Phoenix.

Shields, 38, of Las Vegas, qualified No. 3 at that race with a then career best elapsed time of 5.380 at 261.17 mph, and improved on that mark in the first round with a 5.375 at 262.18 mph in the first round, to make him the second quickest Blown Alcohol Dragster in the world. Valvetrain failure then caused him to fall off in the second round, which ultimately lead to his defeat in that round. Now, with his car solidly in the 5.30's at over 260 mph, Shields looks to be a serious player this weekend.

"Our focus is to be real aggressive right out of the box," said Shields. "We want to run a good number right from the start. We really have to strive for consistency this weekend, so what happened last weekend won't happen again. We want to go a few more rounds, and be a heavy hitter this weekend. I'm really looking forward to going after it."

"For the most part, we are going to stay with our normal gameplan," continued Shields. "If we lose our focus on that, we could become a little too aggressive. I think if we just concentrate on what we know the car can do, we can just do some solid drag racing"

Not only is Shields excited about this weekend, but the season as a whole with his new found performance.

"The way the car ran at the last race certainly brightened us up a little bit," commented Shields. "I know in drag racing, it can humble you at any time. I know we have the potential to be a heavy hitter an any track. We're certainly not scared to go anywhere. So, it should be a little more fun this year."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Federal Mogul Dragsters with qualifying sessions at 9:30 a.m., and noon. Stay tuned to SummitRacing.com's Drag Race Central for round by round updates on the racing action from Phoenix.

-Will Hanna

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Series NHRA