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Muscle Milk Dragster Shows Big Improvement in Maple Grove

Reading PA - The Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster with Duane Shields on board showed some vast improvement by dipping down into the 5.20 zone at the sold-out Pep Boy's NHRA Nationals at the improved Maple Grove Raceway in the heart of Pennsylvania.
Duane qualified fifth out of 21 cars trying to get into a difficult 16 car field with a sizzling 5.24 at 275 MPH. 
In round one, Duane raced Arizona's Travis Schumake who was behind the wheel of a Randy Meyer team car. As the lights came down, it was Schumake out first with a fine .049 light to Duane's .109. Both cars were virtually neck and neck traveling down Maple Grove's historic quarter mile track. At the stripe it was Schumake taking a hole shot win with a 5.28 at 263 MPM to Duane's quicker 5.26 at 275 MPH. "A Randy Meyer car is always dangerous. They made one run, got very little data but that didn't stop Randy Meyer. He has hundreds of different tune-ups" We ran good in qualifying but just not quick enough. The third qualifying run was solid but it was a bad matchup in the first round" Duane said. From Duane's perspective, this weekend's performance looks promising going into the remainder of the season. "I feel comfortable with the car going into the last few races including the regional event in Virginia. From there, Madison will drive the rest of the way. Our goal is to keep her in the top ten".
Duane would like to thank Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, Clean Boost, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and NGK Spark Plugs for their valued support.

Loss in First Round Action at Indy

Indianapolis - Madison Payne drove the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster at the prestigious Dodge Power Brokers NHRA US Nationals without the guidance of car owner and mentor Duane Shields who is currently traveling abroad. 

Madison qualified with a decent 5.30 at 273 MPH to land eighth in an extremely tough 22-car field.

In round one, Madison was paired up with first-time opponent Tom Fox. After Fox backed up from his burnout, there was a long delay in moving his car forward to the starting line. After the cars were staged and the lights came down, Fox was out first with a .029 light to Madison's .075. As the cars flew down the historic Indy track, it was Fox crossing the finish line first with less than a car length to spare. Fox rang up a 5.34 at 268 MPH hole shot to Madison's quicker 5.33 at 272 MPH. "We are gonna start racing people the way they choose to race me. He took 48 seconds and then I had my car on the high side for eight seconds before they staged" Madison said.

On a positive note, Madison described her solo Indy experience this way. "It was a good weekend. The car was really consistent. And a big thanks to Duane for trusting me to race his car without him being here" she said.

Next, the team moves on to the NHRA Pep Boys Nationals in Reading, Pennsylvania where Duane will be back inside the cockpit. Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP connecting Rods, Clean Boost, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their outstanding support.

Muscle Milk Dragster Loses Early in Close Race at Brainerd

Brainerd MN - The Muscle Milk team returned to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, MN with Madison Payne behind the wheel. Madison qualified tenth with a 5.37 at 272 MPH. However, in the final round of qualifying, there was a malfunction with the car and the Muscle Milk team did not get any useful tune-up information going into the first round.
In round one, Madison Payne faced David Sheetz. As the cars left the starting line, Sheetz was out first with a .071 light to Madison's .091. At the finish line, it was Sheetz by a whisker with a 5.33 at 265 MPH to beat Madison's close 5.37 at 272 MPH.
Car owner Duane Shields was disappointed by the early loss but realized it was the lack of data that likely lead to the loss. "We didn't have any data to go by, so we were overly aggressive, and the car rattled the tires. Madison did a great job with her .37 to his .33 but when you lose a qualifying run you get behind and it's hard to make up" he said. Madison agreed. "We tried some new parts on the car so it will be good for Indy but we got behind after the third qualifier" she said. In addition to competing in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, Madison raced in the Super Comp class where she lost a very close race in the semifinal round.

Speaking of Indy, Duane will be traveling so Madison will be going solo at the US Nationals without Duane's guidance. "I trust my crew will do a great job providing Madison with a safe and competitive ride in my absence" he said. Duane and Madison would like to thank GRP Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Muscle Milk, Clean Boost, and Brad Anderson Enterprises.

Madison Payne Makes it to the Quarterfinals in Norwalk, Ohio

Norwalk, Ohio -  Duane Shields, the primary driver, and owner of the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster decided to mix things up a little bit and put Madison Payne in the car at the Summit Race Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park. His reasoning was so he could get a better handle on the tune-up and a better understanding of what the dragster is doing being outside of the car after a couple of recent first-round exits in the Lucas Oil Series. Madison answered the call and was able to improve with a QuarterFinal finish.  

Madison qualified the Muscle Milk Dragster seventh with a fine 5.34 at 272 MPH in a big field of heavy hitters from largely the midwest, south, and east coast. "It was a challenging track in qualifying and hardly anyone was getting down the right lane and the left lane was only a little better. We had to detune the car in order to be sure we would get in the field" Duane explained.

In round one, Madison was matched up with Corey Michalek. At the hit, it was Michalek out first with a .032 to Madison's .106. The starting line disadvantage did not matter though as Madison was able to pass Michalek right before the finish line and take the win with an ever so close 0.0074-second margin of victory. Madison's 5.37 run over Michalek's 5.40 was the 2nd quickest run in the first round.

In the quarterfinals, Madison raced against former Top Alcohol Dragster World Champ Alan Bradshaw from Midland, Texas.  As the lights came down it was Bradshaw out first with a .049 to Madison's .089. Bradshaw continued to increase his lead and took the win with 5.29 at 268 MPH over Madison's 5.39 at 272 MPH. "We got out ran and he had the quickest run of the second round. In hindsight, we should have given the car more juice. I would have liked to have gone a couple more rounds but Madison did a good job and we were able to pick up some more data" Duane said. 

The team will now take a month-long summer break before returning to Chicago for a Lucas Oil Regional event, August 5th-7th where Duane will be back driving the car.  Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, Clean Boost, SRI, Brad Anderson Enterprises and NGK Spark Plugs for their great support.

Muscle Milk Team Fights Traction Problems at Lebanon Valley

The Muscle Milk Team traveled to Lebanon Valley Dragway in scenic upstate New York for an NHRA Lucas Oil regional event. Duane qualified his potent A/Fuel Dragster with a 5.38 at 267 MPH to land in the third position. The event attracted a short 5-car field in Top Alcohol Dragster and only two cars in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class which may have been attributed to the rapid rise in energy costs. 

In round one, Duane drew number 4 qualifier Dan Page of Hampstead, NH. As the lights came down on the tree, Page got the starting line advantage when Duane immediately lost traction and went up in smoke. Meanwhile, Page made his best run of the weekend and garnered a decent 5.31 to advance to the quarterfinal round. Duane was frustrated with the 1st round loss.  He had tested on Thursday and the car had made it down the track every run until 1st round.  

Next, the Muscle Milk team will go to Norwalk with Madison Payne back behind the wheel.  Duane's hoping a change of drivers can change things up a little bit. Duane would like to thank Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, Clean Boost, SRI, Brad Anderson Enterprises and NGK Spark Plugs for their great support.

Duane Shields Returns to NHRA Competition in Charlotte

Dana Hopewell and the Muscle Milk crew gets the car ready to go in Charlotte.

Charlotte, NC - Duane Shields returned to the driver's seat at the NHRA 4 Wide Nationals in Charlotte after turning over the driving duties to Madison Payne for the first quarter of the 2022 NHRA racing season. Duane qualified well at the "4 Wides" landing fourth with an impressive 5.22 at 276 MPH.

Similar to the recently completed Four-Wide race in Las Vegas, the cars race four at a time with the first and second place winners advancing to the next round.

Duane was grouped in the first quad with Taylor Vetter, Mike Hepp, and Brian McBride. Unfortunately, Duane could not match that 5.22 in qualifying and instead lost traction right off the starting line while Taylor and Hepp moved on in eliminations. Although the team didn't fare better, Duane is happy to be driving once again after a long absence. "I’m glad to be driving again but I was disappointed with our round one results. Lane four had been much better throughout the weekend, and we thought it would be good for us. We had lane choice and regret our decision. Everyone in our class ended up having problems in that lane" Duane said.

In addition, Duane's teammate Michael Handras took the win in Super Comp. "We were happy that Michael was able to win the Wallyin Super Comp" Duane said.

Next up for the Muscle Milk team is a Lucas Oil Regional event in Cecil City, MD. "We will get things ready for our regional races" Duane said after the completion of back-to-back NHRA national events. Duane would like to thank NGK Spark Plugs, Muscle Milk, GRP Rods, Clean Boost, and BAE for their excellent support in 2022.


Madison Payne Goes to Semifinal Round at Houston's Swan Song

Madison Payne raced in front of a near sell out crowd at the final National Event in Houston.

Houston Texas - Madison Payne driving the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster had a great weekend at the NHRA Springnationals, the final national event to ever be contested in Houston. Knowing this, the fans came out in droves making the race nearly a sell-out on both Saturday and Sunday. Madison qualified in the top five, landing fourth with a fine 5.25 at 271 MPH.

In round one, Madison defeated Todd Bruce of Horace, ND. Bruce driving "The Bull" Dragster had a quicker .031 to Madison's .083 reaction time but the Dana Hopewell tuned machine overpowered Bruce's 5.43 by a tenth with a quicker 5.33 at 273 MPH which allowed Madison to advance to the quarterfinal round.

In the quarters, Madison faced Texan Hunter Green driving a Randy Meyer team car. At the hit, it was Green off the line first with a .039 to Madison's .078. Once again the Muscle Milk Dragster took care of business and sidelined Green with a 5.31 at 272 MPH over Green's 5.43 at 267 MPH.

In the Semifinals, Madison met the other half of Randy Meyer Racing with Julie Nataas at the wheel. As the lights came down on the tree, it was Nataas with an instant lead with a .039 reaction time over Madison's .091. Nataas cruised to a clear victory with a 5.21 at 276 MPH over Madison's 5.34 at 273 MPH.

While they would have liked to have gone to the final round, both Duane and Madison thought it was a great weekend overall. And to add a cherry to the cake, Madison's Super Comp dragster won the best appearing car award. "It was a good weekend. The Muscle Milk Dragster went down the track on every pass and Duane and the team had a good handle on the car in the heat. In the semis, we raced Julie Nataas but she was due as we were 2 and 0 against her" Madison said.

Duane agreed. "It was a good weekend even though we would have preferred to have run better in the semis. But making it that far is always an accomplishment" Duane said.

This coming weekend, the Muscle Milk team moves on to Charlotte, NC for the 4 Wides where Duane will return to the driver's seat. "I'm excited to get back into the seat and we are shifting our emphasis back over to me. Maddy did an excellent job driving in the first quarter of the year and we are excited when she returns in the future" Duane said.

Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, GRP Rods, Clean Boost, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and NGK Spark Plugs for their excellent support in 2022.


Madison Continues to Improve at Las Vegas Regional Eevent

Madison Payne was able to get the Muscle Milk Machine into a tight field in Las Vegas.

Madison Payne continues to get more seat time in the Muscle Milk A/Fuel dragster and with it comes more kudos from car owner Duane Shields. This weekend the team was back at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for a Lucas Oil Regional event. With 16 cars competing in an eight-car field, Madison and the team had to bring their A-game or not compete in the final eliminations as half of the entered field would go home at the end of qualifying.

After two qualifying rounds, Madison was still not in the show but during the third and final session, everyone on the Muscle Milk team was able to take a deep sigh of relief as Madison got the car into the eighth and final spot but she had to use her driving skills to do it, pedaling the dragster to a decent 5.41 at 269 MPH. "We struggled a little bit as the track was slick from the heat but Madison did a good job getting the Muscle Milk car into the field" Duane recognized.

In the first round, Madison faced number one qualifier Shawn Cowie driving an alcohol supercharged dragster. At the hit, Madison got off the starting line first with a .068 to Cowie's .083. However, at the finish line, it was Cowie taking the win with a 5.30 at 275 MPH over Madison's valiant 5.53 at 266 MPH.

In spite of the loss, Madison had an optimistic attitude about the weekend. "Glad we got qualified since there were 16 good cars here for an 8 car field. We lost first round, but it was still a good weekend with the team” Madison said. Duane added "The 138-degree track temperature and the high corrected altitude of 5,300 feet was just too much and made it rather impossible for an A/Fuel dragster to match Shawn's performance in a blown alcohol car which can respond better to the heat". 

Next, the team moves on to the Springnationals, the final national event to ever be contested in Houston, April 22-24. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, BAE and Clean Boost for supporting their efforts in 2022.

Madison Takes on Four Wide Field

Madison heating up the tires in Las Vegas at the Four Wide Nationals.

Las Vegas - Madison Payne took on a tough 21 car field at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway four cars at a time! The NHRA Four Wide Nationals is where the field is divided up into four quads and the first and second place winners advance from each quad to the next round until the finals where there is just one quad left and the winner of that quad wins the race. The Four Wides are very spectacular with four cars racing side by side but the different format has always had a mixed reaction among both racers and fans.

Madison qualified the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster at the top on the opening day of qualifying but ended up as the number five qualifier going into eliminations with a 5.32 at 269 MPH.

In the first stanza, Madison was included in a group of tough competitors made up of Chris Demke, Casey Grisel, Ron Anderson, and Madison all running within .04 seconds of each other ranging from a 5.30 to a 5.34. Unfortunately, Madison's 5.32 was not enough to advance to the next round by virtue of her reaction .088 time. While it's easy to dismiss Four Wide racing as a novelty, the numbers from that round prove it can be very close and competitive racing.

After the race, Madison had a few minutes to reflect on her first Four Wide event. "It was a good and not so good race. I prefer conventional racing over the Four Wides because there was so much going on. I didn't think I won but I didn't know who the winners were. Even though it's a four car race, I can only see the car right next to me. We did better in Super Comp where I went three rounds. We are getting our 60 foot more consistent in my car and the same with Duane's" she said.

Car owner Duane Shields was satisfied with the weekend. "We were competing at our home track and qualified first on the opening day but dropped to fifth. Being this is Vegas and it was a tight race so we rolled the dice to see what we could do. The Four Wides is an anomaly, a different race and I will be driving at the event in Charlotte and then we will get them both out of the way. Madison did a good job this weekend and continues to learn. We have a good running car this year and we are running right with everyone else" Duane said.

The team will stay in Las Vegas for a regional event next weekend where Duane will be back in the driver's seat. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, BAE and Clean Boost for their support in 2022.

Madison Celebrates Her First Win!

Madison Payne celebrated in her first winner's circle at the Phoenix Regional event.

Phoenix - Madison Payne won her first NHRA race while also scoring her first pole position at the NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Prior to the race, Muscle Milk race team owner and primary driver Duane Shields fell ill with the flu on Thursday night. Rather than cancel competing at the event, Madison Payne came to the rescue and filled in for Duane. Immediately, the team went on a tare by taking the number one qualifying spot with a great 5.23 at 264 MPH. In addition to being the number one qualifier, the Muscle Milk team also set low ET and top speed of the event.

In the opening round, Madison raced Eric Chesleigh. At the hit, it was Chesleigh out first but he experienced trouble and had to let up. Madison zoomed past him to take the win. Madison stopped the clock with a strong 5.33 over Chesleigh's problem-plagued 12.66 to advance to the semi-finals.

In the semis, Madison drew four-time World Champion Joey Severance. As the lights came down, Severance was off the line first with a .053 to Madison's .101. Despite the small deficit at the starting line, Madison was able to hang a wheel on Severance at the finish line and take a very close win with a 5.21 at 277 MPH over Severance's close 5.27 at 273 MPH.

In the final round, the Muscle Milk team faced another Oregon-based former World Champion, Mitch Myers. Myers was ready for Madison as he left the starting line with a nearly perfect .002 light over Madison's .078. But all Myers was able to muster on the run was a 5.74 at just 175 MPH. Meanwhile, Madison was on a clean pass and scored her first-ever win with a competitive 5.29 at 275 MPH. Duane was excited about his team's win and in particular his substitute driver. "I'm so proud of Madison today! She got her first Regional win and covered for me after I got the flu on Thursday night. Madison won her 1st race at the same track that her Dad, Jay Payne, won his 1st race.  That will be a memory for both of them to share.  It was exciting watching the family enjoy the winner's circle with our entire team who gave her a bad ass car this weekend! " Shields added.

Ryan Herem Rebounds from Accident and takes Super Comp Win
Duane also got to celebrate another win at the Phoenix event when his son-in-law, Ryan Herem, won seven rounds of racing to take the Super Comp Championship. "It meant a lot to Ryan to win the race at a track where he had suffered a crash in super gas that took a year to recover from in 2020.  I'm proud of the job Ryan has done in rebounding from his accident. It now can be in the rearview mirror for him" Duane said. 

The team will take a short break before returning to their home track in Las Vegas for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 1-3 where Madison will also drive. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, Brad Enterprises, and Clean Boost for their support of a big win in Phoenix. #poweredbyMuscleMilk @cleanboostoil @bradandersonent @ngkntkperformance @ngksparkplugsofficial #ngkracing @madisonpayne1

Madison Payne Makes it to the Semis at Winternationals Debut

The Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by Protect the Harvest was a great start to the 2022 season. The weather was perfect and the reground track was ripe for outstanding performances in all classes.

Madison Payne and mom Shelly Payne wait in the lanes to run in the quarterfinals.

Madison Payne had a great debut at the classic California event, the same race that her mother Shelly competed in 30 years ago. Madison qualified Duane Shield's Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster in the top 5 with a 5.286 @ 272 MPH to land fourth.  

In round one, Madison took on long time California driver Bill Dunlap who was driving a former Don Prudhomme Top Fuel car. Dunlap got out first with a .090 to Madison's .154. Even though Madison was late off the starting line, the Muscle Milk machine had Dunlap covered even though both cars dropped cylinders. Madison took the win light with a 5.46 at 253 MPH over Dunlap's 5.76 at 253 MPH.

In the quarterfinals, Madison raced Julie Nataas. Unfortunately for Nataas, she was disqualified as she red lit away a competitive 5.28 pass to Madison's 5.61 at 221 MPH.

Madison grabbed the win after Julie Nataas left too soon in the semi-finals.

n the semifinals, Madison took on Mike Coughlin in the JEGS entry. At the hit it was Coughlin out first with a .073 to Madison's .085. Coughlin never looked back and took the win with a 5.20 at 277 MPH over Madison's valiant and very close 5.28 at 271 MPH.

Madison had nothing but great things to say about her first Winternationals experience. "It was good to be back at the track. I really enjoy being able to race with Duane and his team. I made some mistakes but the team got me through it and we made it all the way to the semis. I'm still learning but I'm having fun doing it".

Duane agreed. "Anytime you make it to the semis it's a great outing. We are working on some new procedures and Madison is learning very quickly. We are also trying a new tune up which will be better for the long term and we are making progress moving forward". Duane said.

Next, Duane is back in the car as they head to the Lucas Oil Regional event in Phoenix in two weeks. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, BAE and Clean Boost for their support in 2022.


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