PEAK Team Wins Houston Event While Also Winning the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville!
The PEAK Team made it to the final round at the Houston Regional event before an incoming rain storm canceled the event. The finals were then postponed until the second round of Top Alcohol Dragster qualifying at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.
At Gainesville, Duane Shields took on Mike Strasburg for the Houston title. At the hit Duane made an impressive 5.28 at 272 MPH to take the win convincingly while Strasburg smoke the tires. Not only did he win the race but the run was good for low ET for the round. Duane reached the finals in Houston 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.
Duane went on to win his third Gatornationals title. Read the entire story below.
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
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.
We found out the car can wheelie for 200 feet at 3 foot high in Charlotte!
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