Sonoma: Duane Shields preview

Shields Racing Shields hoping to stay hot in Sonoma SONOMA, Calif. - To beat four time defending NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster World Champion Rick Santos twice in one year is quite an accomplishment. To do it twice in one year on a holeshot is...

Shields Racing
Shields hoping to stay hot in Sonoma

SONOMA, Calif. - To beat four time defending NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster World Champion Rick Santos twice in one year is quite an accomplishment. To do it twice in one year on a holeshot is that much more impressive. NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Duane Shields has not only cut great lights [reaction times] of late, but has been consistently one of the quickest and fastest cars in the class this year. Shields hopes to turn that combination into win at this weekend's Fram-Autolite Nationals at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., a race he won in 1999.

Shields, from Las Vegas, nearly grabbed his first win of the year during last weekend's Prolong Northwest Nationals in Seattle, where he made it all the way to the finals where a supercharger explosion cost him the win. Undeterred, Shields and team have their sites set on the prize in Sonoma.

"We're going to go out there with the same gameplan we've had all year: be aggressive," said Shields. "We would like to put up a nice number, and then stay consistent all weekend. Sonoma is a trickier track to get down sometimes. We'll have to tune a little differently than we did in the cool conditions in Seattle."

Shields hopes he can get back close to the same 5.3-5.4 second elapsed times that put him in the finals in Sonoma. He realizes it may be a bit tougher in the warmer conditions they will experience this weekend.

"I'm shooting for the low .40's," stated Shields. "I think a .41-.42 is probably possible. If it's like it was last year, you should be able to get in the .40's. I don't know that we will see any .30's this weekend."

Shields comes into the event ranked fifth in national points. While he hopes to improve his points standing, he doesn't plan to focus on chasing the points, but rather just winning the races at hand.

"I think a strong national finish is out there for us," Shields commented. "With the timeframe of the number of races that people have, the national points standings change so frequently to really go for it and 'chase the points.' I think if you run consistently, and try to make as many rounds as you can, and then what happens on the national points, is going to happen. I don't think we are going to change our strategy and try to go after it."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Federal Mogul Dragsters with sessions at 1 and 5:30 p.m. Final qualifying will be ran noon Saturday, with first round following at 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to InsideFMRacing.com for the latest news from the world of Federal Mogul racing.

-SR-

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