Howard makes semifinals in Chicago. JOLIET, Ill. - NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Shelly Howard continued her streak of late round finishes with a semifinal outing during this past weekend's Craftsman 75th Anniversary Nationals presented by ...
Howard makes semifinals in Chicago.
JOLIET, Ill. - NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster driver Shelly Howard continued her streak of late round finishes with a semifinal outing during this past weekend's Craftsman 75th Anniversary Nationals presented by Racing Champions at Route 66 Raceway just outside of Chicago. The event was the quickest field in the history of the class with a 5.46 second bump spot.
Howard, from Tulsa, Okla., qualified her Tom Conway tuned Blown Alcohol Dragster eleventh in the field with a 5.451 second elapsed time. In round one, she defeated title contender Duane Shields with a 5.430 at 257.58 mph, and then took out Keith Stark in a rematch of last year's final in round two with a 5.484 at 258.32 mph.
In her semifinal matchup with Ken Perry, Perry gained a slight holeshot off the line and was able to hold on for the win by one of the narrowest margins in the history of the class. Perry held a .469 to .499 starting line advantage, but Howard narrowly missed running him down with her 5.488 at 257.73 mph to his 5.519 at 232.27 mph. The margin of victory was a mere .0008 of a second.
"We had a pretty good weekend," said Howard. "The only thing that really wasn't good was my light in the semifinals. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't all that good, either. It was a real tough field this weekend. We all wish we could get those rounds back to do over again, but you don't and you just have to move on."
Howard next race could be the biggest race of the year for her team. Howard, who is the defending Division 4 Champion, must win this weekend's Division 4 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series closer in Noble, Okla., to over take current points leader Lee Callaway. She also must keep Callaway from making the final round.
"We know what has to happen, but we have to put that out of our minds," Howard explained. "All we can do is run our own race, and let the chips fall where they may."