Duane Goes to the Final Round at Houston! To be Concluded in Gainesville Due to Rain
The PEAK Team made it to the final round at the Houston Regional event before an incoming rain storm canceled the event. The finals will be run against Duane Shields and Mike Strasburg during the second round of Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying at the NHRA Gatornationals. Duane reached the finals by beating David Brounkowski in the semis with a strong 5.27 at 274 MPH and Randy Meyer in round one with a 5.38 at 272 MPH. We will have full results next week.
Duane Shields Competes at Phoenix Regional to Start Three Race Road Trip
(Phoenix) Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team competed at the Phoenix NHRA regional event held at the recently refurbished Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park to start a three race road trip.
In qualifying, the bump spot in Top Alcohol Dragster was a stout 5.45 so everyone in the class had to bring their “A game” just to qualify. Duane got in the show with a respectable 5.37 at 259 MPH to qualify 6th. Duane’s 5.37 sealed the deal during the final qualifying session as the two previous runs, a 5.59 and 5.58 were slowed by mechanical malfunctions and were not quick enough to get in the field.
On Saturday night it had rained so the track would be a guessing game for not only the PEAK team but the rest of the field during the first round of eliminations. Duane faced number 3 qualifier Joey Severance who had qualified with a strong 5.31 at 265 MPH. Unfortunately for Duane, Severance had lane choice and naturally took the best lane which would ultimately be a factor in the race.
At the hit, both drivers left close to the same time with Severance getting a slight advantage off the line with a .052 to Duane’s .055. But at .65 seconds into the run Duane smoked the tires while Severance was on a clean run and won the round. "The computer showed we almost made it but we were a hair too aggressive and we were just over center or we would have made a good run” Duane explained.
Even though it was a challenging weekend, Duane is happy that the car is running well to start off the three race trip which will take the team to Houston next weekend for another Regional event and then on to Gainesville the following week for the NHRA Gatornationals.
Duane would like to thank his marketing partners PEAK Antifreeze, Peak Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their support.
Strong Performance and Consistency Returns for PEAK Team at NHRA Circle K Winternationals
(Pomona CA) After struggling last year it appears that the PEAK team’s hard work and testing during the off season has paid off. At Bakersfield during a two day test session, Duane Shields ran a sizzling 5.29 at a non-national event prepped track “I feel encouraged and looking forward to the season for sure. We are getting good at collecting data and we’re quickly adapting to the rules that have made both the A/fuelers and the alcohol cars equally competitive” Duane said.
In qualifying, Duane was back in the top half of the field at Pomona. He qualified sixth with a strong 5.36 at 266 MPH.
In round one, Duane was matched up against Ross Stickler who qualified eleventh with a respectable 5.54 at 256 MPH. At the hit, Stickler got out of the gate first and maintained the lead to half track but the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster was gaining momentum and took the lead the rest of the way. Duane posted a winning 5.34 at 270 MPH to Stickler’s 5.82 at 179 MPH.
In the second round, Duane faced the no. 3 qualifier Don St. Arnaud who had lane choice. As the lights came down, St. Arnaud was out of the gate first with a good light. Duane was in hot pursuit and nearly ran St. Arnaud down. But, St. Arnaud was on one of his best passes of the day and was able to maintain a slight four foot lead to take a narrow victory. St. Arnaud recorded a 5.29 at 278 MPH to Duane’s quicker 5.26 at 270 MPH. “He had a good light against my average light. This class is too competitive to have an average light. But he ran well against me and got a hole shot win” Duane said.
Even with the quarterfinal finish the PEAK team’s 5.26 was the best ET of the weekend for the A/Fuel dragsters which gives the team some renewed optimism. This season there have been some fresh changes in the crew and the car has been rebranded PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil. In addition, Duane welcomes back Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises.
A Photo Essay From a Day at the Strip
Duane Shields made his first swing through the Northwest in July of 2013. One of the days at Woodburn Dragstrip was chronicled in this photo essay taken by Rich Bailey. To view the photos click here
Duane Shields' Competition Plus Article
Read the Competition Plus Story Here
PEAK Team in Middle of the Pack at Pomona
Pomona - Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team continued in test mode at the NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona. They showed more progress as they qualified in a tough field and made their best pass of the weekend in round one. In addition, the team has not smoked the tires in the last three events. Traction has been an intermittent problem in the past so the team has made significant progress on that front.
Duane qualified 12th with a respectable 5.44 at 262 MPH after hanging around the bump spot for much of qualifying. “In the second round of qualifying we got too aggressive and I had to pedal it. So we tried a different approach in the final session and moved up to twelfth” Duane said.
In round one, Duane raced Chris Demke who is utilizing a blown alcohol combination. At the hit, Demke was out first and never relinquished the lead as he beat Duane to the other end of the historic track with a 5.29 at 271 MPH to Duane’s 5.43 at 264 MPH. “The blown cars are getting consistently quicker so we have to raise our game up a few notches to stay with them. But as far as the A/Fuel cars go, other than Garrett Batemen, who ran in the .20’s, most of the A/fuel cars are in the .40’s so we’re right with them. Lately, it's been the match ups as someone seems to always make their best run of the weekend against us” Duane said.
When asked what the PEAK team’s plans are over the winter, Duane said they will freshen everything up and continue to work on getting the car faster. “We’re making progress on getting the car consistently faster but it’s taking a little longer than we had hoped. But we’re looking forward to a better season in 2014” he said.
Duane would like to thank all of his sponsors who were a big help to him this season including PEAK Motor Oil, PEAK Antifreeze, Herculiner Truck Bed Liners, Blue DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and FINAL Charge Heavy Duty Truck Antifreeze, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Molinari Race Products and Shortline Market
Team Shows Improvement From Start to Finish in Las Vegas
Las Vegas - Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team returned to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, their home track, for the Toyota NHRA Nationals. Besides striving to win the event, the race also served as a test session for the 2014 season.
A well attended memorial for PEAK crew member Ralph Freeman also happened at the Vegas race on Saturday night after qualifying. Many west coast racers showed their respect by gathering at the PEAK Racing pit area to say goodbye to their friend and competitor. Some funny stories were exchanged while racers and crew members enjoyed a BBQ rib dinner.
The Toyota Nationals field was stout as 21 cars were fighting to get into a 16 car field which ended up with a quick 5.57 bump spot. Duane had an opening run of 5.58 seconds to put him on the bump spot but then improved to a 5.53 in the final round of qualifying to get him into the field as the 15th qualifier.
In the first round, Duane faced the recently crowned Champion and number two qualifier, Jim Whiteley. Unfortunately for Duane, Whiteley saved his best run for round one and stopped the clock with a 5.28 at 271 MPH to grab the win over Duane’s best pass of the weekend, a 5.48 at 256 MPH. “We made some progress since we started out with a 5.58 and ended with a 5.48. We will continue to be in test mode as we look forward to the regional event here this coming weekend” Duane said.
Fans who want a double shot of Las Vegas drag racing action can go to any Shortline Market this week and pick up a free ticket for Saturday’s qualifying action. There are eleven Shortline stores in the Las Vegas metro area.
Duane would like to thank his sponsors PEAK Motor Oil, PEAK Antifreeze, Herculiner Truck Bed Liners, Blue DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and FINAL Charge Heavy Duty Truck Antifreeze, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Molinari Race Products and Shortline Markets for their continued support.
PEAK Team Somberly Continues On at Maple Grove
Duane Shields and the PEAK Racing Team usually have a great weekend with a large following of friends and fans at the Auto-Plus NHRA Nationals in Reading, PA. But this time it was a somber event at Maple Grove Raceway because it was their first race back on the tour since losing their long time teammate, Ralph Freeman, who peacefully passed away in his sleep two weeks ago. “This was our first race back without Ralph and we really missed him a lot.” Duane said.
On Saturday night, a memorial was held in the pits for east coast racers and between 75 to 100 people showed up to say goodbye to a well respected member of the Top Alcohol Dragster fraternity. At the Las Vegas Nationals there will be another memorial for west coast racers. That event is also planned for Saturday night.
One of the high points on the racing side was that the team hung in there and got the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster into the show. After all, seven very good teams did not make the solid sixteen car field. Duane qualified sixteenth with a 5.52 at 256 MPH. “We were number 9 after the first session, then we moved to 10th after the second, and then in the final qualifying session we smoked the tires and dropped to 16th so it didn't put us in a very good position going into the first round” he said.
In round one, Duane took on number one qualifier Brandon Booher, from Urbana IL, Booher ran a 5.30, so it would be a challenge, but not insurmountable to beat him. As the lights came down on the christmas tree, Duane got the starting line advantage with an 0.54 to Booher’s 0.59 but Booher was able to overpower Shields and take a narrow lead and then maintained it all the way to the finish line.
Duane emphasized that qualifying higher would have allowed the team to advance into the next round. “We would have won the match up with number 2, 3, or 4 qualifier, so it’s just how the circumstances worked out. But I was glad to see Robin Samsel win his first ever national event. We will now move on to Vegas to try a whole new engine combination and test some other new things to get ready for 2014”
Duane would like to thank his sponsors PEAK Motor Oil, PEAK Antifreeze, Herculiner Truck Bed Liners, Blue DEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and FINAL Charge Heavy Duty Truck Antifreeze, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs,Molinari Race Products and Shortline Markets for their support.
We found out the car can wheelie for 200 feet at 3 foot high in Charlotte!
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