Joliet: Shelly Howard preview

Howard still looking to rebound from slump in Chicago. JOLIET, Ill. - 'Mama told me I'd have days like this,' would be an appropriate adage to describe defending NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Shelly Howard's season thus far.

Howard still looking to rebound from slump in Chicago.

JOLIET, Ill. - 'Mama told me I'd have days like this,' would be an appropriate adage to describe defending NHRA Division 4 Top Alcohol Dragster Champion Shelly Howard's season thus far. Nevertheless, Howard and her team are working hard as ever to find the right clutch combination for her new Dave Uyehara chassis. With an upbeat attitude, Howard and her team will enter this weekend's NHRA Division 3 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago, determined that every run is one step closer to figuring the new car out.

Howard, from Tulsa, Okla., did not qualify at last weekend's Division 4 event in Dallas, the first time the team has not qualified in over four years. Howard cites the steep learning curve of the new car for their not being up to last season's performance level that carried her to a No. 5 finish nationally.

"It has almost been like learning to walk again," said Howard. "It has really been a struggle to figure out what this car wants. We are fighting problems trying to get a clutch tune-up this car likes. We have experienced violent tireshake almost every run this year. We have one of the best tuners out there in Tom Conway, and I have the utmost confidence it is only a matter of time before he gets the car lined out."

Howard and her team are looking forward to the opportunity to make more laps this weekend at Route 66, a track that has shown her success in the past. At last fall's NHRA Nationals held there, Howard scored a runner-up finish.

"You can't figure a car out sitting at home," stated Howard. "We really wish we had some time to test it, but there is no better situation to 'test' than in an actual race setting. We haven't had the season we had last year to this point, but we are keeping our heads up because there is still a lot of racing to do this year."

Qualifying begins at 4 p.m. Friday for the Top Alcohol Dragsters, with two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday. Stay tuned to InsideTopAlcohol.com for the latest news in alcohol racing.

- www.ShellyHoward.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shelly Howard