Gateway: Shelly Howard final qualifying

MADISON, Ill. - Just a few weeks ago in Topeka, Kan., NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Shelly Howard was not the fastest race car going into Sunday's final eliminations. Rather than trying to be the absolute fastest car on the track, her team...

MADISON, Ill. - Just a few weeks ago in Topeka, Kan., NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Shelly Howard was not the fastest race car going into Sunday's final eliminations. Rather than trying to be the absolute fastest car on the track, her team used an attack of consistency to pick up the win. After qualifying No. 5 and winning the first round of this weekend's Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway just outside of St. Louis, Howard looks to be on the same consistent track to victory.

Howard, a registered nurse from Tulsa, Okla., qualified her Tom Conway tuned Blown Alcohol Dragster fifth with an elapsed time of 5.456 seconds at 259 mph. In round one, she defeated Dana Stripe, who broke on the line, giving Howard a single. Howard made the most of her single, running a 5.489 at 259.16 mph, only .004 of a second off the quickest run of the round.

"It threw the blower belt off the car during the last qualifying session, so we lost that run as a tune-up run," , said Howard. "We went up there for the first round, and I saw that Dana was having problems, and they told me that I was going to get a solo. I decided to run the car just like we had another car next to us. I wanted to cut a good light, and hit my shift points so we had some good information to tune off of."

Howard's first round time will give her lane choice over her second round opponent, Marty Thacker. Howard hopes to use the same consistency that has brought her three wins and two runner-ups to take home the win Sunday.

"We're not going to try to step it up," Howard commented. "We're just going to try to run fairly close to what we've been running, and we should be alright. Marty is a good driver, and any driver can take you out. We just have to worry about what we do, and not who's over in the other lane."

Second round for the Federal Mogul Dragsters will be run tomorrow afternoon following the first round of the pro cars. Stay tuned to SummitRacing.com's Drag Race Central for round by round updates of the racing action from St. Louis.

-ShellyHoward.com

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Shelly Howard , Marty Thacker