Traction Problems Prevent Shields From Reaching Eliminations in Norwalk
Norwalk, OH - After a long streak of reaching the elimination rounds at every race this season, Duane Shields and the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster team did not make it to the elimination rounds at Norwalk. The problem was due to persistent traction problems on each of the three qualifying rounds. “We struck out here in Norwalk. Three tire smokers. We will figure out why and get back into eliminations quickly” A disappointed Duane Shields said after the event. While not qualify is a tough pill for any racer to swallow, it’s a short set back during a long season of racing.
Duane would like to express his many thanks to PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for all of their support.
Early Round Loss Leads to More Customer Interaction for PEAK in Chicago
(Chicago) Duane Shields in the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster had an early round exit from eliminations at the 17th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries. The silver lining was that the loss allowed Duane to spend more valuable time in the PEAK suite where he interacted with many of the company’s valued customers who were on hand to experience the excitement and raw power of the NHRA Mellow Yellow Drag Racing Series.
Duane qualified ninth in the field with a solid 5.44 at 263 MPH. In round one, he drew Shawn Cowie who qualified eighth with a 5.40 at 266 MPH so it was an evenly matched pairing between Duane's A/Fuel car and Cowie's blown alcohol combination.
As the lights came down, Duane reacted first with an 0.063 to Cowie’s 0.075 but that was a far as the lead would go as Duane went up in smoke and Cowie was on a clean pass to take the win. "The conditions had improved so we thought we could give it a little more power since we were going up against someone as tough as Cowie. But we were a little over center and went over the PEAK in the tune up. Next, we are going to Norwalk so we will think about this one for a couple of days and then concentrate on the next race” Duane said.
Duane would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze, PEAK Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their much appreciated support.
PEAK Team No. 1 Qualifier for Second Race in a Row
(West Lebanon NY) For the second race in a row, Duane Shields in the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster was the number one qualifier. This time he sat on the pole at Lebanon Valley Dragway for the NHRA Lucas Oil Regional where 14 cars were competing to fill a tough eight car field. Rain plagued the event on Friday so qualifying was shifted to Saturday and eliminations took place on Sunday.
Duane ran a 5.34 in the first session to qualify in the top position. Then in the second and last session he hit the afterburners to record a blistering 5.28 at 271 MPH. “It’s great that we were able to qualify no.1 two races in a row. Division 1 has the best cars in the country so we are very proud of that accomplishment” Duane said.
Duane's first round pairing was with Dan Mercier who had squeaked into the field in the eighth position. At the launch both cars lost traction. Duane was about to abort the run but hit the throttle when he realized Mercier had also lost traction but the car got crossed up and there was nothing he could do to recover. Meanwhile, Mercier was finally able to hook up and take the win with a 6.49 at 256 MPH while Duane idled though.
The PEAK team didn't expect to lose traction at the starting line since it appeared that the conditions had not changed from the day before. “We were stunned. We have not smoked the tires in eliminations since the second race of the year and we backed it down expecting to run in the thirties to prevent this from happening. Normally, I can pedal it but this is the first time the car would not recover. But congratulations to Jackie Fricke for getting her first Lucas Oil Regional win” Duane said.
Next, the PEAK team heads to Chicago for the O’Reilly Route 66 NHRA Nationals. “This is also an All Star race which we are not in but we will still be competing against the best cars in the country and this is PEAK’s home territory so we want to do a good job representing them” he said. Duane would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze, PEAK Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises.
PEAK Team Takes Pole Position at Maple Grove Lucas Oil Regional Event
Mohnton, Pa. - For the first time in three years Duane Shields qualified his PEAK A/Fuel Dragster in the number one position at an NHRA event. This time, the honor came at the historic Maple Grove Raceway during the NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event. Duane qualified his PEAK Motor Oil sponsored dragster on the pole in the Top Alcohol Dragster class with a blistering 5.26 at 273 MPH. Sixteen cars attempted to qualify for a tough eight car field which made being the top qualifier even more impressive.
In round one, Duane was matched up with Richard St. Pierre who qualified eighth. As the lights on the tree came down, Duane was out of the box first and had a sizable lead which he never relinquished in spite of having to pedal the car. He then crossed the stripe with a 5.35 at 268 MPH to take the win over St. Pierre’s 5.56 at 258 MPH.
In the semi finals, Duane faced Rich McPhillips. At the hit, it was McPhillips out of the hole first with Duane not far behind but he then lost some real estate when forced to pedal at the same place on the track as he did in round one. At the finish line it was a tight race but McPhillips got the narrow win and scored a 5.41 at 268 MPH to Duane’s close 5.43 at 270 MPH. “It was sort of frustrating because that was our slowest run of the entire event. We discovered after the race that we broke a valve spring in the semi finals or it would have run a .30 which could have won the race” Duane said.
Even though a mechanical issue slowed down the PEAK team, Duane was happy over all on how well the car performed. “The car is really coming around and we had our first number one qualifying position in over three years so we're happy about that. We are now looking forward to our next Lucas Oil Regional event at Lebanon Valley” he said.
Duane would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for all of their support this season.
Duane Shields Exits Early in Houston
(Baytown, Texas) Duane Shields experienced an early round loss in the Top Alcohol Dragster class at the 27th annual O’Reilly NHRA SpringNationals presented by Super Start Batteries. The loss was a disappointment considering all of the team’s recent success but it was still a close and competitive race.
Duane qualified in the middle of the pack with a respectable 5.37 at 268 MPH which was good for the ninth seed. This would set up a rematch with former Top Fuel racer Mike Strasburg who runner-upped to Duane at the Houston Regional event. Strasburg qualified eighth with a nearly identical 5.37 so it was an evenly matched race.
As the lights came down on the tree, Strasburg got off of the line first as Duane trailed early. At the finish line it was Strasburg scoring a close win with a 5.37 at 271 MPH to Duane’s valiant 5.39 at 267 MPH.
The team now has a little time to regroup before their next regional event in Reading, PA, May 23-25. Duane would like to express his many thanks to PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises for all of their support.
Red Hot Duane Shields Cools Off Slightly in Round Two at Four Wide Nationals
(Concord, N.C.) The PEAK A/Fuel Dragster continued to perform in competitive style at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals until round two where Duane Shields lost a very close race to Jackie Fricke. The PEAK Team ran well throughout qualifying as Duane put the PEAK Dragster in the number two position with a 5.25 at 275 MPH. The success in qualifying naturally spurred confidence that the PEAK Team would do well in eliminations.
In round one, Duane faced number 15 qualifier Dan Page. At the hit, Page got a sizable lead out of the hole but the “PEAK Express” ran like a cruise missile and passed Page at the 330 foot mark and held on to win the round with a respectable 5.34 at 272 MPH to Page’s competitive 5.47 at 263 MPH. “The car shook a little bit so I had to give it a quick pedal" Duane said.
Duane then moved on to the second round to race Jackie Fricke. At the hit Fricke got a slight lead off the line with an 0.47 reaction time to Duane's 0.60 but he was still right there with her as they raced all the way down the 1,320. Both cars were side by side but Frickie got the win by just four feet as both cars ran nearly identical ETs. Duane was just a fraction quicker and posted a 5.364 at 267 MPH to Fricke’s 5.368 at 264 MPH. “We both had good lights and she ran really well. Since the car shook slightly on the last qualifying pass and because I had to pedal in the first round we made a timing and clutch adjustment. The two adjustments slowed us down a little too much and it gave us our slowest run of the weekend. Only one adjustment was needed".
Even though Duane lost in the quarterfinals he was still upbeat. “You know, when your 5.36 is your slowest run of the weekend you have to feel pretty good that you have a competitive and consistent car that can get down most tracks. We have never done real well in Charlotte even though we have made it to the final round here once before”. The PEAK team now moves on to Houston where they won the regional event earlier in the season. Duane would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises.
Duane Shields Wins Big in Gainesville
(Gainesville FL) Duane Shields cleaned house in Gainesville and took home just about everything in the Top Alcohol Dragster class that wasn’t nailed down. It was a flawless double victory at the NHRA Amalie Oil Gatornationals for Duane driving the PEAK A/Fuel Dragster. “The car is now responding very well to our tuning and we are able to hop it up when needed and tune it to the track conditions. The car is running good which also gives us a chance to learn more” Duane explained.
On Friday, before setting his sites on his third Gatornationals title, Duane won the postponed Houston Regional Top Alcohol Dragster final. In that race, Duane took an easy win over Mike Strasburg who lost traction at the starting line. Duane posted a 5.28 which was also low ET for the second round of qualifying.
Duane qualified 4th overall with a 5.28 at 272 MPH which set up a first round meeting against Dan Page driving Art Gallant’s car. At the hit Duane was out of the gate first and scored a 5.36 at 272 MPH win over Page’s 5.43 at 263 MPH. “They made a very good run against us and we were side by side all the way down” Duane said.
In round two, Duane took on Matthew Cummings. Cummings was noticeably late off the line and again it was another total domination for the PEAK team as they advanced to the semi finals with a 5.38 at 272 MPH over Cumming’s 5.95 at 197 MPH.
In the semi finals, it was a race between two former National Champions, Bill Reichert and Duane Shields. Both drivers proved why they are former champs since they had identical reaction times as both cars left the line with 0.75 lights. Reichert managed a slight lead but Duane grabbed the lead at 330 feet out and never looked back as Reichert dropped a cylinder. Duane took the win with a 5.30 at 273 MPH over Reichert’s 5.43 at 262 MPH. “That was a critical race and we left at the same time. Bill had some slight problems but we were able to make it all the way down the track with a strong run” Duane said.
In the finals, Duane raced the Gatornationals’ defending event champion, Rich McPhillips. At the hit McPhillips got a sizable starting line advantage but then he began to drop cylinders. As was the case in the previous round, Duane was able to gain enough momentum to blast past his opponent and take the win with another consistent and highly competitive run. Duane won the Gatornationals title with a 5.33 at 266 MPH over McPhillips’ 5.47 at 261 MPH. “Rich was my toughest opponent all weekend. I saw his car next to me for a long time. I dropped a cylinder and I was holding on to the steering wheel hoping he wouldn’t pass me at the finish line” Duane said after the win.
Duane is not only happy that he now has a consistent car, he is excited that some of his new crew members finally got to celebrate a win. “Some of my newer crew members have never won a Wally before so this win is for them to enjoy” he said. Duane would would like to thank PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil, Final Charge, Blue Def, NGK, GRP and Brad Anderson Enterprises.
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
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We found out the car can wheelie for 200 feet at 3 foot high in Charlotte!
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