TOPEKA, Kan. - Federal Mogul Dragster driver Shelly Howard had everything going her way until about the 300 ft. mark in the final round of this past weekend's NHRA Division 5 Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series opener at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan.
TOPEKA, Kan. - Federal Mogul Dragster driver Shelly Howard had everything going her way until about the 300 ft. mark in the final round of this past weekend's NHRA Division 5 Federal Mogul Drag Racing Series opener at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. Howard, the No. 1 qualifier, took a huge .439 to .492 holeshot against her final round opponent Bruce Bowler, but was rendered helpless when something in her transmission let go.
Howard, a registered nurse from Tulsa, Okla., qualified her Tom Conway tuned Blown Alcohol Dragster No. 1 with a 5.558 second elapsed time at 254.18 mph. In round one, she ran low e.t. of the event in taking out No. 9 qualifier Randy Meyer with a 5.532 at 254.38 mph. Howard nearly duplicated that mark in the semifinals with a 5.536 at 256.36 mph to defeat Sergio Recio. In her final round matchup with Bowler, after taking the holeshot, she had extended her lead to the 60 ft. clocks before her problems set in. Bowler took the win with a 5.571 at 252.21 mph. With the starting line advantage Howard gained, she only needed to run a 5.624 to beat Bowler.
"The car was on a really good run," said Howard. "It started to shake at the top of low gear, and when I went to punch second, something let go inside the transmission and it hit the rev-limiter. It's not really a quality issue with the transmission, it's just that these things happen in racing, and it was our turn this time. It's really a shame that it had to happen then, because it was on a better run than the .53's we had run earlier. Nonetheless, we still improved our Division 4 points total, so it was not a total loss."
With the runner-up finish, Howard increased her points lead to 48 points over second place Troy Buff, with one more event in Division 4 remaining.
"It really helped to get the points here," commented Howard. "The points chase in Division 4 could go down to the wire, and every little bit you gain really helps."
Howard and team will return to Heartland Park Topeka, for their next event, the Advance Auto Parts Nationals to be held on Memorial Day Weekend. With a solid baseline, Howard looks forward to returning.
"We had a pretty good race this weekend here," commented Howard. "Everything went pretty smooth until the final. We have a pretty good baseline to go by, so that is always good going into an event. It is a new race and a new ball game though. If the weather and track conditions aren't similar, we really won't be able to use much of the data we learned this weekend. That's where Tom Conway's tuning experience really come into play. We're looking forward to it."
For more information on the Howard team, visit their website at http://shellyhoward.com/</A>