Las Vegas: Duane Shields qualifies number one

Shields on top at hometown track in Vegas LAS VEGAS - Most drag racers will tell you that one of the hardest races you will ever race at is an event in your hometown. Sometimes the pressure to perform in front of your friends and family can be...

Shields on top at hometown track in Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Most drag racers will tell you that one of the hardest races you will ever race at is an event in your hometown. Sometimes the pressure to perform in front of your friends and family can be pretty intense. Federal Mogul Dragster driver Duane Shields, however, has had the weekend of his career in front of his hometown fans at this weekend's SummitRacing.com Nationals at "The Strip" in Las Vegas. Shields qualified No. 1 with a track record elapsed time of 5.418 seconds at 252.33 mph.

In addition to taking the top qualifying spot for the first time at a national event in his career, Shields, a Las Vegas resident, won his matchup with the "Bud Prince" Brandon Bernstein Friday afternoon, which served as the final for the rained out Tucson, Ariz., Division 7 race. Shields ran a 5.479 at 257.73 mph, which put him No. 2 in the field. With improved conditions for Saturday morning's final qualifying session, the Short Line Express Markets team decided to step it up and go for the No. 1 spot. Along with the thrill of qualifying No. 1 in front of his hometown fans, the fact that he qualified .02 of a second in front of the defending four time Champion Rick Santos makes it that much sweeter for the Shields team.

"We're just having an awesome weekend," said Shields. "We came out and won the Tucson event in our second qualifying session, and that put us No. 2 after that run. This morning we decided to get a little more aggressive with the car, and really go for that No. 1 position. The conditions were a little bit better, and we were able to run that 5.41."

"The mph was only 253 because we broke a belt at the end of that run," Shields continued. "I think that run would have been a high 5.30 because the belt came off fairly early."

Rains moved into the Las Vegas area causing a major delay in Saturday's program. The first round of eliminations, which is normally ran Saturday afternoon, was pushed back to Sunday. Shields will face No. 16 qualifier Darryl Hitchman in round one tomorrow.

"I think we're just going to stay aggressive and go for it," stated Shields. "Hitchman is always capable of popping off a great number. You always have to go all out in fields like this, and make sure you don't make any mistakes.

Final eliminations begin tomorrow. Stay tuned to SummitRacing.com's Drag Race Central for round by round updates of the action from "The Strip" in Las Vegas.

-Shields Racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Rick Santos , Brandon Bernstein , Duane Shields