Howard makes semifinals in return to competition. BAYTOWN, Texas - NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Shelly Howard netted a semifinal finish in her return to competition at this past weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at ...
Howard makes semifinals in return to competition.
BAYTOWN, Texas - NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Shelly Howard netted a semifinal finish in her return to competition at this past weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park. Unfortunately for the team, however, they missed the call for the round after wounding an engine in round two.
Howard, from Tulsa, Okla., qualified her Tom Conway tuned Blown Alcohol Dragster seventh with a career-best 5.377 at 263.77 mph. In round one, she took out Division 6 Champ Brandon Johnson with a 5.453 at 262.44 mph, and then defeated Michael Gunderson with a 5.633 at only 224.73 mph when the motor gave away at around the 1000' mark. Howard and her team thrashed to get the spare motor in the car, but just missed the 75 minute turnaround by mere minutes. Howard was actually suited in the car ready to run and towing towards the line when they fired Shields to run.
"It's really a tough break to lose a round like that," said Howard. "We were ready to run and on the way to the line when they told us it was too late. We didn't have several of our normal crewmembers with us this weekend, so we just didn't make the call. It's hard enough when you have your normal guys to swap engines, much less when you only have a couple of your normal crewmembers. It's not to say the people that helped us wasn't any good, that's not the case at all, it just takes time to gel as a team to be able to get through those kinds of circumstances."
From Houston, Howard and her team will move north to the Texas Motorplex for race three of the Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series just outside of Dallas. There Howard hopes to make a strong return to Division 4 competition after missing the Memphis event.
"We just want to go up there and get back on track," stated Howard. "We ran good this weekend, but that doesn't guarantee that we'll run good up there, so we'll just take it one step at a time. That's all we can do."