Howell just misses in Bristol
BRISTOL, TN – Coming off one of the best performance of her career, when she qualified for the tough field in Englishtown, N.J., second-year NHRA Pro Stock driver Grace Howell was frustrated to miss qualifying for this weekend’s NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Howell drove the Cunningham Motorsports Ford Mustang to a best of 6.755-seconds, just missing the 6.746-second bump spot.
“This is not at all what we expected, that’s for sure,” said Howell. “We made some decent runs, but obviously they weren’t’ good enough to qualify. This car has been running strong lately, but we haven’t tested much and to be honest, we don’t have a tune-up for the hot and humid weather we had this weekend. If I had made a perfect run, I think we could have qualified, but it just didn’t happen this time.
“I feel like I have been driving well, and I’m very comfortable in the car but this Pro Stock class is so tough that you have to be almost perfect just to qualify. That’s where we need to improve a bit.”
Although she was not a part of Sunday’s final eliminations, Howell managed to stay busy. After signing autographs for her fans, Howell joined NHRA announcer Bob Frey as a color commentator for Pro Stock eliminations. Howell also celebrated father’s day with her dad, Bill, who was racing in Super Stock Eliminator. With Grace acting as his crew chief, Bill Howell went on to post a quarterfinal finish behind the wheel of the family’s Cobra Jet Mustang.
“I had a lot of fun racing with my dad, said Howell. “He is the one that introduced me to this sport and he’s been my biggest supporter from the time I started racing Jr. Dragsters when I was nine. We had a great Father’s Day together. I also had a lot of fun announcing. That’s something I haven’t had a chance to do before and I hope I was able to give the fans a little insight into the Pro Stock class.”
Howell and the rest of the Cunningham Motorsports team plan to test in St. Louis in the coming days in anticipation of the next event on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series tour, the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill., June 28-July 1.