JOLIET, Ill - Last weekend, NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Shelly Howard used consistent low 5.5 to 5.4 second elapsed times to win the Advance Auto Parts Nationals. This weekend, she has picked up right where she left off in Topeka by...
JOLIET, Ill - Last weekend, NHRA Federal Mogul Dragster driver Shelly Howard used consistent low 5.5 to 5.4 second elapsed times to win the Advance Auto Parts Nationals. This weekend, she has picked up right where she left off in Topeka by running a 5.461 at 259.06 mph to qualify her fifth after the first session of qualifying at this weekend's Lucas Oil Products Nationals at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago.
Persistent rain showers caused the morning's first session of qualifying to be canceled. Dense cloud cover remained in the area, holding the temperature down into the 50's.
While Howard, from Tulsa, Okla., is happy with the results, the run did not come without it's complications. Howard's parachutes did not deploy, forcing her to use only her brakes to slow the car. After taking a bouncy ride through the shutdown area, Howard got the car stopped just in time, only putting the front part of her dragster into the sand trap at the end of the track.
"The car left really good," said Howard. "It had a good 60' time, then started to shake the tires and got loose. There was a pretty narrow groove out there. It ran a pretty decent time, but it may have been better if the car would have went straight and not shook. We're pretty happy with it, though."
"One 'chute was caught on the wheelie bar, and the other one did not deploy," continued Howard. "So I went into the sand trap about three feet. The car is ok, though."
The Federal Mogul Dragsters will get one more qualifying session at 9 a.m. Rather than going into that session and trying to step up into the No. 1 spot, Howard hopes just to repeat, or improve slightly.
"We just want to repeat," commented Howard. "We really strive for consistency. As far as stepping up, if our tuner Tom Conway feels that we can, then that's what we'll try for. But if we just run another .46, that will be just fine. We'll be happy with that, because I don't know what the track will be like that early in the morning. That's sort of a concern, but we'll just have to see how it goes."
Following the morning session, the Federal Mogul Dragsters will have first round of eliminations at 6 p.m. Stay tuned to the Howard team's award winning website, <A HREF="http://ShellyHoward.com">ShellyHoward.com</A>, for a recap of the team's progress tomorrow evening.