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Continued Race Team News Below

Madison Reaches Quarters at Wet and Wild Winternationals


Story by Rich Bailey

Los Angeles - The NHRA Winternationals lived up to its name despite the race being scheduled in early spring. Even with the sometimes wild and wet weather in the later half of the weekend, the Top Alcohol teams got in two qualifying runs on a mostly sunny day on Friday. Madison Payne qualified the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster in the no. 7 position with a 5.37 at 274 MPH.

In round one, Madison raced first-time opponent Trever Larkin in the Redline-sponsored entry. At the hit, the Muscle Milk machine was out first with a .087 to Larkin's .108. As the cars charged to the finish line, it was all Madison taking the win with a 5.34 at 274 MPH over Larkin's 5.57 at 257 MPH. "Trever Larkin had a couple of holes out so I never saw him" Madison said.

In round two, Madison raced Garrett Bateman. At the hit, Bateman got the starting line advantage with a .048 over Madison's .070. Bateman kept the lead and rang up a 5.24 at 276 MPH to Madison's 5.30 at 277 MPH which was her best run of the weekend. After the event, Madison summed up the race. "We certainly improved from the season-opening race in Phoenix, but we now need to get some momentum going. The weather made it a tough event for everyone. I was still in the race with my Super Comp Dragster waiting for the rain to stop when that crazy hail storm passed over. But I won't miss the remaining eliminations when the race resumes at a later date" she said.

Next, the team returns to their home track in Las Vegas for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 12-14. Madison and team owner Duane Shields would like to encourage their fans to support their fine sponsors including Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost for the 2024 season.

Madison Qualifies Second at Season Opening NHRA Regional Event


Phoenix - Towards the end of the 2023 season, some great news came down to both racers and fans alike that the Phoenix facility targeted for demolition would be saved and re-branded back to its former name Firebird Raceway. This past weekend the track reopened for the first NHRA Lucas Oil Regional event on the West Coast for the 2024 season.

Madison and the Muscle Milk team showed no signs of rust by qualifying second for the eight-car field with a very competitive 5.24 at 275 MPH.

Madison faced Southern California firefighter Johnny Ahten in the first round of eliminations. At the hit, it was Ahten out first with a .055 to Madison's close .064. Unfortunately as soon as the car launched, Madison's car overpowered the race surface and lost traction. Meanwhile, Ahten was on a solid run and took the win light with a 5.32 at 270 MPH.

Next, the team moves on to Pomona, CA for the NHRA Winternationals, March 21-24. Madison and team owner Duane Shields welcomes back Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Brd Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost for the 2024 season.

Madison Concludes First Full NHRA Season Finishing Eighth Nationally

Story and photo by Rich Bailey

Pomona California - Madison Payne concluded her first full season driving the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals in Pomona. Madison qualified ninth with a strong 5.24 at 276 MPH for yet another juggernaut field of tough contenders.

In round one, Madison faced a familiar opponent, Tony Stewart. Both Stewart and Madison have come a long way since the 2022 season when they both began their careers driving an A/Fuel dragster. At the start, it was Stewart out first with a .050 to Madison's .083. As the cars moved past the starting line Madison began to lose traction as did Stewart a little farther down the track. Both drivers had to peddle but Madison was farther behind as she smoked the tires sooner in the run. Stewart meanwhile was able to recover and won the round with a 5.31 at 276 MPH to Madison's 7.45 at 129 MPH.

While it wasn't the finish to the season the team expected, they still had a great season finishing eighth nationally with back-to-back final-round finishes which included Madison's victory at the historic NHRA US Nationals. "We qualified for the toughest field in Top Alcohol Dragster history. Unfortunately, we smoked the tires in round one. As the season ends, we are thankful for our Indy win and a number eight national finish" team owner Duane Shields said.

"It was a good first full season with our win at Indy. But from here we will regroup and come back better. The season didn't end the way we wanted it to, but we'll figure it out and be stronger as a result" Madison added.

With less than a week since the conclusion of the season, the Muscle Milk team is already excited to begin next season. "We are looking forward to our 2024 season and we have to thank our sponsors for all they do for us" Duane said. Duane and Madison appreciate all of the help they have received this season from Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost.

Madison Concludes First Full NHRA Season Finishing Eighth Nationally

Story and photo by Rich Bailey

Pomona California - Madison Payne concluded her first full season driving the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster at the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals in Pomona. Madison qualified ninth with a strong 5.24 at 276 MPH for yet another juggernaut field of tough contenders.

In round one, Madison faced a familiar opponent, Tony Stewart. Both Stewart and Madison have come a long way since the 2022 season when they both began their careers driving an A/Fuel dragster. At the start, it was Stewart out first with a .050 to Madison's .083. As the cars moved past the starting line Madison began to lose traction as did Stewart a little farther down the track. Both drivers had to peddle but Madison was farther behind as she smoked the tires sooner in the run. Stewart meanwhile was able to recover and won the round with a 5.31 at 276 MPH to Madison's 7.45 at 129 MPH.

While it wasn't the finish to the season the team expected, they still had a great season finishing eighth nationally with back-to-back final-round finishes which included Madison's victory at the historic NHRA US Nationals. "We qualified for the toughest field in Top Alcohol Dragster history. Unfortunately, we smoked the tires in round one. As the season ends, we are thankful for our Indy win and a number eight national finish" team owner Duane Shields said.

"It was a good first full season with our win at Indy. But from here we will regroup and come back better. The season didn't end the way we wanted it to, but we'll figure it out and be stronger as a result" Madison added.

With less than a week since the conclusion of the season, the Muscle Milk team is already excited to begin next season. "We are looking forward to our 2024 season and we have to thank our sponsors for all they do for us" Duane said. Duane and Madison appreciate all of the help they have received this season from Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost.


Madison Goes to the Quarterfinal Round at Nevada Nationals

Story and photos by Rich Bailey

Las Vegas - After qualifying in the top three with a fine 5.24 at 272 MPH, Madison Payne and the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster team lasted through the quarterfinal round at the NHRA Nevada Nationals held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway complex.

In round one, Madison took on Eric Chesleigh who also resides in Madison's hometown of Clearmont, California. At the start, Chesleigh was off the starting line first with a .058 to Madison's .097 but he was no match for the Muscle Milk machine's horsepower as Madison quickly passed Chesleigh and took the win light with a 5.28 at 274 MPH over his valiant 5.36 at 268 MPH.



In the quarterfinals which was delayed until late in the afternoon on Sunday, Madison raced Kim Parker. At the hit, Parker was able to get out of the box first with a .039 to Madison's .100. At the finish line, it was Parker taking the win with a 5.30 at 265 MPH to Madison's 5.28 at 273 MPH. "We win as a team and lose as a team. We look to rebound next weekend in Pomona" car owner Duane Shields said.

Las Vegas Lucas Oil Regional

The following weekend, most of Nevada Nationals' Top Alcohol Dragster field stayed over for the final NHRA Lucas Oil regional race of the year. This resulted in 17 cars vying for a tough eight-car field. Unfortunately, Madison and the Muscle Milk team were one of nine teams that found themselves on the outside looking in after the final qualifying session. The team believes they resolved the problem at the Las Vegas Regionals, a bad set of tires.  They will have a new set in Pomona, and look forward to ending the year on a strong note.

Next up is the final NHRA event of the year, the In-N-Out Burger NHRA Finals in Pomona, November 10-12. Duane and Madison would like to thank their loyal marketing partners including Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Clean Boost, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their support this season.

 

Madison Takes on Tough Dallas Field at "Stampede of Speed"

Story by Rich Bailey

Dallas - Madison Payne took on a tough field that included a mix of the nation's best blown alcohol and A/Fuel dragsters at the Texas NHRA Fall Nationals. The annual event, which includes a week full of racing, concerts and other activities called the "Stampede of Speed" is held at the famous Texas Motorplex in Ennis. Madison qualified 7th with a 5.23 @ 277 MPH in the very competitive field.

Due to the Jegs AllStar race also held at the Texas event, qualifying was wrapped up on Friday and the first round of eliminations was uncharacteristically held on a chilly Saturday morning. While some of the cars in the field adapted to the cool windy weather, others did not and fought traction problems. 

In round one, Madison faced Aaron Cooper, of Wichita, Kansas. At the hit, Madison was off the starting line first with a .049 to Cooper's .066. Suddenly Madison's Muscle Milk dragster lost traction and moved towards the retaining wall. Madison had to lift and abandon the run. Cooper went on to win the round. "As you can imagine, none of us expected that and are very disappointed. Vegas is our next race where we are the defending champions, so we hope to repeat and get another win before the end of the year" Madison said.  

Madison and team owner Duane Shields would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost for their continued support.

 

Madison Qualifies Well in Virginia

Story by Rich Bailey


Richmond - Madison Payne in the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster qualified well among a tough field of East Coast competitors at an NHRA Regional event in the heart of Virginia. Madison qualified second with a very impressive 5.19 at 275 MPH.

By virtue of her qualifying position, she faced Dan Dietrich who qualified seventh with a 5.38. As the lights came down on the Christmas tree, Madison was able to get off the starting line first but ran into traction problems and had no choice but to abandon the run. Meanwhile, Dietrich was on a decent run and moved on to the second round.

Next, the Muscle Milk team travels to Dallas, Texas for the NHRA Texas Fall Nationals, October, 12-15th. Madison and team owner Duane Shields would like to thank Muscle Milk, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost for their continued support.



Madison Cools Off in Charlotte

Story and action photo by Rich Bailey

Charlotte - After two final rounds in a row, the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster team had an off weekend due to circumstances beyond anyone's control at the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals. Madison qualified 15th with a 6.97 after a third qualifying session was canceled. Madison would have faced No. 1 Qualifier Julie Nataas in the first round. However, a last-minute disqualification of Rich McPhillips' car driven by Tony Stewart reshuffled the deck and Madison ended up racing Earl Nichols instead.

At the hit, Nichols got out of the box first with a .037 reaction time to Madison's .074. Nichols built on his starting line lead and got to the stripe first with a 5.22 at 275 MPH over Madison's 5.26 at 274 MPH which was her best run of the weekend. Madison was disappointed but optimistic going into the next race in Virginia. "It wasn't the weekend we wanted. We needed that third qualifying session, but Duane and his team put up a great first-round run that would have beat anyone else that round, so it's unfortunate, but that's racing. We are ready for Virginia and looking forward to hopefully redeeming ourselves" she said.

Car owner Duane Shields was also disappointed with how the weekend's circumstances changed the outcome of the race. "We lost a round of qualifying which put us behind the eightball. We changed the tune-up last night and hoped we would get another qualifying run before eliminations but didn't. We expected to run Julie Nataas but Tony Stewart was disqualified shortly before the first round. Had we raced Julie we would have likely won that round since she had problems on her run. Nichols had the quickest run of the round and we had the second" Duane said.

Next, the team heads to Richmond, Virginia for an NHRA Regional event from September 29 - October 1. "We will take what we learned here and head to Virginia. We are encouraged that the car will run well" Duane said. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, Brad Anderson Enterprises, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, and Clean Boost for all of their fine support.

Madison Goes to Finals in Reading!

Story and action photo by Rich Bailey
Reading - Madison Payne went to her second final round in a row at the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals near Reading, PA. It was an exciting event for the Muscle Milk team where they qualified first but were stopped by NASCAR icon Tony Stewart in the finals. Beautiful warm weather helped sell out the race on Saturday but the finals were delayed until Monday due to some rain that came through the area after the semifinals on Sunday afternoon.

Madison qualified the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster on the pole with a stunning 5.19 at 279 MPH. The Maple Grove race landed on Madison's birthday so qualifying at the top of the tough Maple Grove field made her day even more special. "My birthday gift was going number one" she said.

In round one, Madison had the task of racing Mark Albert. Albert got off the line first with an .034 to Madison's .052 but that's as far as the lead would go for Albert as he had some traction problems and had to lift. Meanwhile, Madison began to also lose traction but did a masterful job pedaling it and posted a winning 5.36 at 276 MPH.



Round two would be Madison's lucky round. Just like at Indy, she once again faced Karen Stabla in the second round. At the hit, Stabla left too soon while Madison lost traction off the starting line and had to idle the car to the finish line for the win to advance to the semifinals.

Next, Madison raced Canadian Jeff Chatterson in the Semis. Madison was back in winning form and took the win with a clean 5.33 at 270 MPH over Chatterson's traction-plagued run. Prior to the final round, it was all hands on deck in the Shields pit area as the team had to swap engines. They were ready in time for the finals had the weather cooperated. "The team did all they could especially considering the fact they swapped engines after the semis. We got extra help from Shelly, JJ, MATT, and Doug". Madison said.

In the final round on Monday, Madison raced Tony Stewart who is contending for the National Championship. This would be a great re-match after Madison squeaked by him in the final round last year in Las Vegas. As the tree came down, it was Stewart with the starting line advantage. He rang up an .043 light to Madison's .056. As the cars raced down the Maple Grove quarter mile, it was Stewart with the lead which he never relinquished, and scored the win with a 5.21 at 271 to Madison's close 5.25 at 276 MPH.

Overall, Madison was happy with how her birthday race went. "It was a great weekend for Duane, the team, and I. We are hoping to keep the momentum going and are excited for Charlotte. We didn't win, but two finals in a row is pretty cool" she said. Team owner Duane Shields agreed with Madison's assessment. "This is one of my favorite tracks and obviously we would have rather won. But we have gone to two finals in a row so I can't complain. Madison did a great job driving and we will go on to Charlotte and see if we can keep it going" he said.

Next, the team heads to Charlotte for the Betway NHRA Carolina Nationals, September 22-24. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, Brad Anderson Enterprises, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, and Clean Boost for all of their support in 2023.

 

Muscle Milk Team Wins Big in Indy!

Story and action photo by Rich Bailey

Indianapolis - Madison Payne, a third-generation driver from Claremont, California won the prestigious NHRA Dodge Power Brokers US Nationals against Julie Nataas in the final round. "It's a great win for Madison and our team. This continues the winning tradition of the Payne family. I have been in the finals here five times and was runner-up four times and won it just once so I know how hard this race is to win" a jubilant car owner Duane Shields said after the race. Madison's father Jay Payne has won Indy four times and her grandfather, Brad Anderson won the US Nationals in 1984 in the Top Alcohol Funny Car class.

Madison, qualified twelfth with a 5.36 at 267 MPH. "We didn't have the fastest car here but all weekend we felt confident we could win" Duane said

In round one, Madison faced Shawn Cowie and beat him with a stout 5.26 at 273 MPH package to Cowie's competitive 5.32 at 272 MPH to get out of round one. From there Madison raced all female competitors to the championship round.



In the second round, Madison raced Karen Stalba (pictured). At the hit, Stabla had a .102 reaction time to Madison's quicker .074. At the finish line, it was all Madison with a 5.32 at 274 MPH over Stalba's 5.38 at 271 MPH.

Next, Madison raced Megan Smith in the semi-final round. It's worth noting that this was the first time that both competitors had a mother who formerly raced in Top Fuel. And, both Shelly Payne and Rhonda Hartman-Smith were in opposite lanes watching their daughters to see who would make it to the final round. At the start, it was Smith out first with a .041 to Madison's .059. As the cars raced to the finish line it was Madison by a whisker as she rang up a stout 5.28 at 278 MPH to Smith's valiant 5.35 at 270 MPH.

In the final round, it came down to Madison and Julie Nataas driving one of Randy Meyer's potent A/Fuel entries. It turned out that this was not the race everyone had expected. As the Christmas tree lights came down, Nataas fouled by leaving the starting line too soon which gave the win to Madison. Unfortunately for Nataas, Madison was there for the taking as she lost traction. Madison then idled down the historic Indy race track to collect the 2023 NHRA US Nationals title. "There were lots of upsets at this race and we didn't want to make any mistakes. I'm proud to add Madison's name as the 2023 US Nationals Champion. This win makes up for when we stumbled at Brainerd. It's a great win for the Muscle Milk team" Duane said.

Next, the team heads to Reading for the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, September 14-17. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, Brad Anderson Enterprises, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, and Clean Boost for their excellent support in 2023.

 

Madison Payne Qualifies Well at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd

Story and Photo by Rich Bailey

Madison Payne qualified well in Brainerd, Minnesota at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. She took the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster all the way to the top on Friday with an impressive 5.25 at 274 MPH, taking the provisional pole position. By Saturday however, she fell to the fifth position as several other teams were able to run just a little quicker than her 5.25. 

In round one, Madison faced former National Champion, Alan Bradshaw. Unfortunately for Madison, her car lost fire after the burnout and had to be pushed back. Bradshaw then ran a single and advanced to the second round.

The Muscle Milk team will correct the problem and concentrate on the NHRA US Nationals held on Labor Day Weekend. Madison and team owner Duane Shields would like to thank Muscle Milk, Clean Boost, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for all of their help this season.

 

Back to the Semis in Seattle

Story and Photo by Rich Bailey

The Muscle Milk team made the second of two back-to-back appearances in the Northwest. This weekend they competed at the Fav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals in Kent, Washington just twenty miles southeast of downtown Seattle. Madison qualified well with an impressive 5.25 at 276 MPH to land in the third position.

In round one, Madison faced former National Champion, Mitch Myers. At the light, it was Myers out first with a .061 reaction time to Madison's .084. As the two A/Fuel dragsters raced down the track, Myers was unable to keep the lead as Madison's Muscle Milk entry quickly narrowed the gap and overpower him at the top end for the win. Madison scored a sizzling 5.26 at 276 MPH over Myers' valiant 5.36 at 268 MPH.

In the second round, Madison raced Casey Grisel in his green Northern Idaho-based A/Fuel car. As the lights came down it was Madison leaving the line first with a .066 light to Grisel's .078. Madison was again on a great run and never relinquished the lead. Madison stopped the clock with a decent 5.28 at 276 MPH to Grisel's 5.43 at 251 MPH to advance to the semis.

In the semi-finals, Madison drew eventual winner, Jackie Fricke. Both drivers were late leaving the starting line with Fricke getting the advantage with a .133 to Madison's .160. Fricke kept the lead the entire way and took the finish line stripe with a 5.23 at 277 MPH over Madison's 5.30 at 277 MPH. Madison explained the delay leaving the starting line. "The car kept rolling into the beams and rolled in too deep. I had to grab the hand brake and as I did the tree fell. The car also slowed down just a little bit" she said.

In summing up the weekend, Madison thought the team had a better outing in Seattle than they did the prior weekend in Woodburn. "The conditions were better here and the car ran well. We are all excited to race in Brainerd in a few weeks" she said. Madison and team owner Duane Shields would like to thank Muscle Milke, Clean Boost, GRP Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for all of their help this season.

 

Madison Qualifies Third and Makes it to the Semis in Norwalk



Norwalk Ohio - Madison Payne, driver of the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster went all the way to the semifinals at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals. Madison qualified third with an exceptional 5.206 at 276 MPH. In fact, the top three qualifiers all hit the 5.20 mark!

In round one, Madison took on former National Champion Alan Bradshaw. At the starting line, Bradshaw left too soon giving Madison an automatic win. Madison ran a 5.28 at 270 MPH to advance into the second round.

In round two, Madison raced Canadian stand-out Shawn Cowie driving a blown alcohol combination. At the line, Madison left first with a .075 reaction time to Cowie's .097. It was a close battle to the finish line with Madison taking the win with a 5.27 at 279 MPH to Cowie's 5.28 at 276 MPH. "Shawn is my friend but he always finds a way to beat me. This time we came out on the winning side and it feels good to finally get around him" Madison said.

In the semis, Madison raced Cody Krohn. At the hit, it was Krohn out first with a .048 to Madison's .091 giving Krohn a sizable advantage. At the finish line, it was Krohn with the holeshot win as he rang up a 5.24 at 271 MPH to Madison's quicker 5.21 at 279 MPH. In spite of the late-round loss, team owner Duane Shields was happy with the team's overall performance but was looking for more. "The car made solid runs all weekend and we made it to the semifinals but we would have liked to have gone further. It's now back to the west coast where we will regroup and hopefully get some wins" Duane said. Madson added "Duane and Dana (Hopewell) are getting a little more aggressive with the tune-up and it's helping"

Next, the team heads to the Northwest for a regional Lucas Oil event at Woodburn Dragstrip July 13-16 where Duane has had past success. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, Brad Anderson Enterprises, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, and Clean Boost for all of their support in 2023.


Duane Shields Ends Driving Career with Solid Effort in Reading

Reading PA - Duane Shields hit the quarter-mile one last time behind the wheel of his Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster. This was the second of two farewell appearances as a driver. The first was in Las Vegas at the Four-Wide Nationals before wrapping up his storied career in Reading, PA where he has a lot of friends and fellow competitors that he enjoys spending time with. "For 26 years of driving, I’ve had a lot of fun and made lots of friends" Duane said.

Duane could not have picked a harder race to qualify for as 18 cars were fighting to get into an 8-car field on race day. Duane made it into the field on his last qualifying attempt and landed the Muscle Milk car in the 6th position with a 5.27 at 275 MPH. After qualifying, Duane received a special well-crafted trophy to commemorate his past accomplishments from fellow Top Alcohol Dragster competitor Tom Fox. It was inscribed with Duane's NHRA World Championship along with his win at the NHRA US Nationals.

In round one, Duane raced Mike Lewis who was making his first appearance in seven years driving the always-tough Samsel Racing entry. At the hit, both cars left the line together with Lewis having a slight starting line advantage with a .062 light to Duane's very close .064. By half-track, the cars were still side by side but at the finish line, it would be Lewis by half of a car length. Lewis stopped the clock with a 5.27 at 274 MPH to Duane's very close 5.31 at 274 MPH. "It was a good race. I’m so proud of my team and all the work they do. I am glad to stay out here as the team owner and watch Madison continue our team's legacy" Duane said after his final run.

The next event on the team's schedule is the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, in Norwalk, Ohio, June 22-25. Duane would like to thank Muscle Milk, Clean Boost, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Rods, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their long-time support of Shields Racing.

 

Madison Payne Qualifies on the Pole at 4 Wide Nationals in Charlotte



Charlotte - Madison Payne behind the wheel of the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster nailed down the pole position at the Circle K NHRA 4 Wide Nationals in Charlotte with a sizzling 5.16 at 277 MPH. This was the second pole for Madison with her first being at the Auto Club NHRA Finals in Pomona last season. "It was fun to see that 5.16 come up on the scoreboard" car owner Duane Shields said.

In her first-round quad of cars, which coincidentally were made up of all female drivers, Madison had the slowest reaction time of the four and lost by just three thousandths of a second with a competitive 5.26 at 275 MPH. "I hesitated at the tree and there was nothing I could do to change that. It's unfortunate that it happened when the car is running so well. Dana Hopewell and the crew have the car running phenomenally right now" Madison said.

Duane Shields agreed "We are disappointed, but we now have the car to beat. This was the third race where we lost by only three thousandths. The problem I have with the four-wide races is that if you are the top qualifier, you would normally race against the slowest car which qualified sixteenth. But here at the four-wide the first round gets diluted with other very competitive cars, so your chance of winning is not as good. Also, we didn't want to give it too much power and risk tire shake which had happened at our last race in Las Vegas" Duane said.

Next, the team moves on to Reading, PA for Duane's final race at Maple Grove Raceway, May 26-28. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Clean Boost, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their ongoing support.

 

Madison Payne Loses a Close One at the Las Vegas Regional

Las Vegas - After last weekend's big celebration of Duane Shields' final national event, it was back to business for Madison Payne who returned to the driver's seat of the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster at the Las Vegas regional race. The regional was switched back to the two-lane format following the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals where four lanes were used at once.

Madison qualified fifth with a 5.33 at 268 MPH in a tough eight-car field where the slower eight of the sixteen cars that were there didn't make the cut to compete on race day. 

In round one, Madison raced Kim Parker from the Seattle area. At the hit, Madison was out first with a .059 to Parker's .091. Madison had the lead just before half-track but had to pedal twice en route to the finish line. As the cars crossed the stripe it was Kim Parker with the victory by twenty feet which is a little more than half a car length. Parker rang up a 5.34 at 270 MPH to Madison's 5.43 at 270 MPH. "Madison did a great job pedaling twice to get the car settled down after shaking the tires. We will try to do a better job this next weekend in Charlotte" Duane said.

Madison added, "It was a good weekend with Duane, the team, and both of our families. It didn't go the way we wanted but we are really looking forward to Charlotte" she said. 

Duane and Madison would like to thank their great sponsors including Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Clean Boost, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for their support this season


Duane Shields Finishes National Career in Front of Home Crowd


Las Vegas - Las Vegas racing icon Duane Shields closed out his national event driving career in front of his family and friends at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals held at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I wanted to have fun and celebrate my career with my family and friends and that's really what this weekend was all about" Duane said. Duane qualified eighth with a 5.29 at 272 MPH in a surprisingly tough field of over 20 cars.

In the Four-Wide format, the two cars that cross the finish line first move on to the next round. Duane came in third and missed moving into the second round by only three-thousandths of a second as he scored a decent 5.30 at 274 MPH on his final pass ever at his hometown track. "We wanted to finish here with a win but still the car ran great all weekend and I'm happy with that. I wanted to repeat that 5.29 run we made in qualifying and had we done that we would have made it to the next round. But I still ended my career here on a high note with a strong performance and had a lot of fun" he said.



On Saturday night after qualifying, there was a celebration of Duane's career in the team's pit. "We had a great time and a lot of people showed up including friends from the other teams we have competed against over the years" Duane said. The race was also special for Duane as he was interviewed by Amanda Busic during FOX Sports' TV coverage. He was also added to the pro driver introductions at the pre-race ceremonies and was interviewed in front of the home crowd.



This coming weekend the Muscle Milk team returns to the Las Vegas track for an NHRA regional event with Madison Payne resuming the driving chores. "Madison will be back in the driver's seat and I will hand off the torch to her. It will be a much tougher race because it's only an eight-car field rather than sixteen at the national event and a lot of teams are staying over, so it will be hard just to qualify" Duane said.


Duane would like to thank all of his fans and sponsors that have supported his racing program over the years including his current sponsors: Muscle Milk, Clean Boost, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Connecting Rods, and Brad Anderson Enterprises

Legend Duane Shields Celebrates Final National Event in Las Vegas


Las Vegas - As Duane Shields' transporter rolls into the Strip at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the team begins to unload the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster, Duane will have good reason to pause and look back on a great driving career. After winning 23 national events and a whole host of regional and divisional events in the Top Alcohol Dragster class, this weekend marks the last time Duane will be at the controls of his A/Fueler at an NHRA national event. 

For over 26 years, the Las Vegas businessman has been touring the country like many of his professional counterparts in search of championship points and an enjoyable life on the road. While he'll still be doing that, his role will change to a tuner and mentor as Madison Payne steps in the driver's seat on a full-time basis except for the Las Vegas event at his home track and a regional race in Reading, Pennsylvania. "I have accomplished everything I want to accomplish so now it's time to step out of the driver's seat and let Madison take over. It's the changing of the guard. I selected these two races as my last hurrah so my friends and family can be there one more time to see me race" Duane said. 

Duane began his storied racing career like a lot of Southwest racers competing at the sand drags for 15 years before the attraction of the pavement with its quicker times, high speeds, and large NHRA events become too much to ignore. Duane attended Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School in 1997 and after both he and his team gained some racing experience, they won their first Top Alcohol Dragster title in Sonoma, California in 1999.

The team's winning momentum opened the door to many more impressive accomplishments including the 2011 NHRA National Championship, seven Regional and Divisional Championships, and the highly coveted US Nationals title. Duane's last national event win came in Las Vegas when he won the Dodge NHRA Nationals in 2019 with a brand-new dragster.

Anyone with that kind of success eventually has to come to terms with the end of their career and when it's the best time to step out of the limelight. Duane came up with a well-thought-out plan. "I thought about it long and hard over the last year and I've had my time. But I'm not going anywhere because I still want to be out here as a team owner and spend time with my racing family" he said. With the torch ready to be passed on to Madison it's highly probable that Shields Racing will continue to be a regular in the Winner's Circle for years to come.


Madison Opens New Season with Semifinal Finish in Phoenix

Phoenix - Madison Payne returned to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park the scene of her first-ever win in Top Alcohol Dragster.  Madison driving the Muscle Milk A/Fuel dragster, started where she left off last season by qualifying second with a red-hot 5.21 at 271 MPH. 

Madison's no. 2 qualifying position set up a first-round match-up with number 7 seed Mitch Myers in the Epha-sponsored entry from Oregon.  At the starting line, Myers narrowly red lit giving the win automatically to Madison. Madison still made a race of it and recorded a 5.25 at 273 to his 5.42 at 265 MPH to advance to the next round.

In the semi-finals, it was a showdown between Madison and the reining five-time World Champion Joey Severance. At the starting line, it was Severance out first with a .030 to Madison's .048. But then Madison's car began to shutter and then went into a short wheelstand. Madison had no choice but to let up as Severance was long gone and recorded a decent 5.27 to take the win. Madison ran an off-pace 7.29 at 123 MPH as a result. Car owner Duane Shields was surprised that the car didn't make a competitive pass. "It threw us all a curve ball. Up until that moment, the car was running very well all weekend and we were confident going into the semis. But it was a good weekend overall and we are looking forward to Pomona. I also want to congratulate Toby Payne for getting his first win here in Phoenix where his sister Madison and father Jay also got their first wins" he said.

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

Madison Qualifies in the Top Five at Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals


Pomona - The Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals debut of the newly designed Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster went very well in qualifying with impressive runs that put Madison Payne in a position to go far into eliminations. Madison qualified fourth with a highly competitive 5.21 at 278 MPH to land in the top five of an elite field that featured over 19 cars vying for a tight sixteen-car field. 

In round one, Madison drew NASCAR icon, Tony Stewart. The Muscle Milk crew headed by team owner Duane Shields hoped for a repeat victory over Stewart which occurred during the final round of Stewart's well-publicized debut in Las Vegas last season but that wouldn't be the case. As both cars left the starting line it was Stewart out first with a .052 light to Madison's .070.  Madison's car then began to lose traction while Stewart sailed on for the win, laying down his best pass of the weekend scoring a 5.29 win over Madison's troubled 8.64 run. 

Duane and Madison would like to thank Clean Boost, NGK Spark Plugs, GRP Rods, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Muscle Milk for their continued support in 2023.

several other teams were able to run just a little quicker than her 5.25. 

In round one, Madison faced former National Champion, Alan Bradshaw. Unfortunately for Madison, her car lost fire after the burnout and had to be pushed back. Bradshaw then ran a single and advanced to the second round.

The Muscle Milk team will correct the problem and concentrate on the NHRA US Nationals held on Labor Day Weekend. Madison and team owner Duane Shields would like to thank Muscle Milk, Clean Boost, GRP Connecting Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, and Brad Anderson Enterprises for all of their help this season.

 

Madison Named Primary Driver of the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster

Las Vegas -  Shields Racing team owner Duane Shields has announced that third generation drag racer Madison Payne will be the primary driver of the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster for the upcomming 2023 NHRA season. 

Madison had a sensational rookie season winning events in both national and regional competiton and finished eighth over all. Madison won a close storybook national event victory over NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart at the NHRA Nevada Nationals in Las Vegas, and she also won her first regional event in Phoenix at the beginning of the 2022 season.

Madison will drive at eleven national events and six regional races. Duane will drive the Muscle Milk entry at the NHRA Fourwide Nationals in Las Vegas, April 14-16 and at the Maple Grove Regional event, May 26-28 at Maplegrove Raceway in Mohnton, PA.  

This year the team's schedule is slightly different from years past but will still have a good balance of both national and regional events throughout the country.

The team will begin the season in Phoenix for the Lucas Oil Regional event, Feb. 24-26 before competing in Pomona and then will race at a pair of events in Las Vegas. From there the team will compete at events on the east coast and the Midwest. For the first time in nearly a decade, the Muscle Milk team returns to the Pacific Northwest in July for races in Woodburn and Seattle before moving east again. The team will finally return to the west coast for the last three events of the season in Las Vegas and Pomona.

The full schedule can be found on the side bar of this web page.

Duane and Madison would like to thank their returning sponsors Muscle Milk, GRP Rods, NGK Spark Plugs, Brad Anderson Enterprises and Clean Boost for their support in 2023.

Muscle Milk Team Take First Pole at Season Ending Auto Club Finals

Pomona - Muscle Milk Team Wraps up Season by Qualifying on the Pole at Auto Club FinalsThe Muscle Milk Team finished off the 2022 season with another great showing, this time at the NHRA Auto Club Finals in Pomona, CA just outside Los Angeles. Madison Payne went to the semi-finals and she had her first number-one qualifying position.

Madison qualified on the pole with a scorching 5.17 at 281 MPHIn round one, Madison faced Oregon's Mike Austin. Austin was off the starting line first with a .038 to Madison's cautious .082 light. Racing down Pomona's historic quarter mile it was all Muscle Milk as Madison took low ET of the first round with another 5.17 at 280 MPH to Austin's slower 5.59 at 214 MPH.

In round two, Madison raced Jasmine Salinas as the two have quickly become tough competitors by the close of the season. At the hit, it was Salinas out first with a .023 to Madison's competitive .028. At the finish line, it was Madison by a sliver with a 5.284 at 278 MPH to Salinas' close 5.297 at 277 MPH. "We fought off a hard charge by Jasmine Salinas" said car owner Duane Shields

In the semis, Madison took on Taylor Vetter. As the Christmas tree lights came down it was Madison out of the box first was a .074 light to Vetter's .077. It looked like Madison was on the charge for another final-round finish. However, Madison got loose 150 feet out and clicked the car off. Meanwhile, Vetter was on a clean pass and took the win with a 5.24 at over 278 MPH over Madison's 7.30 at 123 MPH. "We missed the tune-up otherwise we would have likely gone to our third national event final in a row" Duane said.

Duane also made a special announcement regarding the next season. "We will return in 2023 with Madison driving the car for the entire year. She did a great job driving this season and we are excited about what the future holds. Additionally, my crew did a good job preparing the car and getting it ready to go down the track " Duane added.

Finally, Duane and Madison would like to thank their sponsors for a great year including Muscle Milk, GRP Connecting Rods, SRI, NGK Spark Plugs, Brad Anderson Enterprises, and Clean Boost.

 

Madison is Victorious in Vegas Beating Tony Stewart in the Final


Madison faced off with Stewat in the final round of the Las Vegas Nationals and won by an inch!

Las Vegas - Madison Payne won her first national event driving the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster in convincing fashion and beat former NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart in the final round of the NHRA Nevada Nationals held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "I wanted to race him and was very relaxed doing so" Madison said. "Tony is good for our cla and good for the sport. I'm glad he's here" car owner Duane Shields added. Madison had a stellar car all weekend and qualified fourth with an impressive 5.242 at 278 MPH. 
In round one, Madison faced Jasmine Salinas whom she lost to in the finals of the Texas Fall Nationals just two weeks ago in Dallas. Madison got out in front of Salinas with an .056 reaction time to her .183. Madison held on for the win with a 5.30 at 275 MPH to Salinas' close 5.33 at 272 MPH.

In the second round, Madison raced Hunter Green under the lights to earn her way to a Sunday afternoon semifinal. At the hit it was again Madison getting out of the box first with an .084 to Green's .139 reaction time. Green then struck the tires and it was all Madison from there with a consistent 5.31 at 274 MPH to Green's 6.41 at 144 MPH. 

In the semifinals, Madison was paired with New Jersey racer Jackie Fricke. Fricke was all business as her crew shed the Ghost Busters Halloween costumes they wore from the night before. Fricke was off the line first with an 0.37 light to Madison's .055. At the top end it was all Muscle Milk with Madison ringing up a 5.25 at 275 MPH to Fricke's competitive 5.30 at 274 MPH.
In the final round, it was a dream matchup between two notable rookie drivers in cars that have battled each other on the east coast for years as Tony Stewart was driving a car owned and tuned by Rich McPhillips. All weekend the spotlight was on Stewart, possibly the most famous sports celebrity to ever pilot a dragster and a first time win for him was sure to make national headlines. 
As the cars left the starting line it was Madison out of the gate first with a .061 light to Stewart's close .065. As the cars flew down the track side by side it looked like it could be anyone's race. At the starting line, jubilation broke out by the crew in the left lane as Madison's win light came on and she won her first national event title with a 5.262 at 275.80 MPH to Stewart's valiant and very close 5.258 at 271.57 MPH. Only two ten thousandths of a second, about one inch separated the two cars! "I saw the nose of Tony's car at 1,000 feet and then realized I won when I saw the win light. After we turned off the track Tony came over and gave me a big hug and congratulated me. I was in shock at first but I'm very exciting since all of my friends were here to see it" Madison said.
Duane was ecstatic with his first national event win in Vegas since debuting the Muscle Milk A/Fuel Dragster at his home track in 2019. "It was an excellent day and a big win at our home track. Madison did a great job as we raced nothing but tough competitors all weekend. This year we gave her a first Regional win and now her first national win. We have moved up to eighth nationally and now with two races to go we can have some fun" He said. Madison added "this win is for Duane's first grandson Memphis who I am the God Mother of".
Next, the team will compete at the Lucas Oil Regional event also in Las Vegas before moving on to the final race of the year in Pomona. Duane and Madison would like to thank Muscle Milk, Clean Boost, GRP connecting rods, NGK Spark Plugs and Brad Anderson Enterprises.

 

Click here to Read More 2022 Event Coverage Here

 

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