It’s no longer a one-off finish for Mills to be among the top-10 contenders. Instead it’s a weekly occurrence to see the ABC Taxi/Dibbits Excavating No.78 there.
“I’m happy with where I am and with finishing eighth and being consistent. I know I’ve gotten an eighth before and then fallen back to tenth the next week. I’m happy that it’s more consistent,” Mills explained, “but even I can see there’s still mistakes I’m making. It’s just little things I’m going to have to learn as I go.”
Mills’ boyfriend and Dirty Fast Racing teammate Justin Ramsay jumped in the car for one night on July 23 and drove the car to a heat win and fifth-place finish in the main event. The experiment was incredibly helpful for Mills to have another experienced driver offer his advice on the car.
“I have a little difficulty explaining to them what is wrong. They could kind of see what was wrong, but I still wasn’t driving it as hard as I should,” Mills said, adding she’s still getting accustomed to her new ride. “Justin could tell this thing has a serious push in the corner. They changed some things around and made some adjustments after and it made a world of difference.”
Since then, Mills has posted back-to-back eighth place results to end July and kick start August. The transition from 2015 Comp 4 champion at Brighton Speedway to a purpose-built, open-wheel racecar is tough. Now that Mills has grasped the basics, she’s focused on having more fun as she improves.
“The speed is awesome. This weekend when I was at the back of the pack, I was able to make it through traffic. I didn’t stay at the back. I was able to pick off a few cars,” smiled Mills. “I raced side-by-side with Derek Bowers for three laps. We were both racing really hard and that was really fun.”
Her progress on the track has been clearly evident to weekly fans at Brighton. Even those watching from afar would notice her laps times have consistently improved and her finishes have along with it.
“It puts it in to perspective a little better for me when I can see the numbers,” Mills said of the lap times. “I’m way more confident. At first I thought ‘this is easy, I can drive it’. I certainly can drive it, but I think I’ve learned since then driving it versus racing it hard are two different things.”
Mills and her entire DFR team are in to the dog days of summer. The challenging, grueling portion of a very hot summer leads in to the biggest events at the speedway.
The Canadian Modifieds will race topless on Sunday, September 4 as part of Brighton’s Labour Day Classic Weekend. The biggest race of the season follows on September 10 with the 50-lap Danny Reid Memorial. Mills hopes to use the next three weeks to make sure she is at her best for those two races.
“I think making small improvements on the car and driving more aggressive is important. For the rest of the year it will be trial and error,” she said. “I think testing the limits and seeing how close I can get to the numbers of the other guys is the goal.”
Mills will be back in action on Saturday, August 13 at Brighton for Fan Appreciation night. Racing starts at 7:00pm. Event details are available at www.brightonspeedway.ca.
Shelby Mills 2016 Season: 12 Starts – 0 Wins, 0 Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
RACING FOR A CAUSE
Shelby Mills is racing in support of Muscular Dystrophy research via the Laps 4 MD program. Shelby will donate $1 for every lap she leads during the 2016 season. For more information on the Laps 4 MD program, visit www.muscle.ca/laps-for-muscular-dystrophy/.
Shelby Mills’ 2016 Canadian Modified season is supported by a number of dedicated corporate sponsors, including: ABC Taxi, Dibbits Excavating, KD Transmission, C. Smith Machine Shop, Rest Easy Home Inspection, Empey Tire, Hennessy Point Landscaping, Mike’s Fries and Hotch’s Auto Parts.
Prepared By Clayton Johns Media