Second-generation NHRA drag racer Grace Howell announced on Monday that she has parted ways with the Cunningham Motorsports Ford Pro Stock team owned by Jim Cunningham, effective immediately. Howell, 26, was tabbed as the new driver to replace Buddy Perkinson in the Cunningham entry at the NHRA U.S. Nationals last September and entered 15 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events, qualifying for the race day field at three of those. She recorded a career best of 6.558-seconds and 210.67 mph in the Cunningham Mustang.
“For as long as I can remember it has been my dream to race as a professional in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and I can’t thank Jim and Gloria Cunningham enough for helping to make that dream come true,” said Howell. “Over the last 11 months, I have had the opportunity to compete alongside some of the sport’s best Pro Stock racers and I have learned a lot. Although the time has come for me to move on I wish for nothing but the best for the Cunningham Motorsports organization.”
Howell is already working on the next phase of her racing career — which she hopes includes a return to the NHRA professional ranks on a full-time basis — but in the meantime will return to her roots in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where she’ll once again race alongside her father, Bill. The Howell family owns a stable of NHRA Super Stock and Stock Eliminator entries, including a Ford Mustang Cobra Jet that Grace drove to the AA/SA class crown at Indy in 2010.
“I’ve been racing since I got my first Jr. Dragster at age 8, so no matter what, I plan to continue racing,” said Howell. “I love the Pro Stock class, and I feel like I made a lot of progress as a driver in the last year. Pro Stock is where I want to be but at the same time, I would certainly consider a switch to Top Fuel or Funny Car if an opportunity became available. The bottom line is that I want to continue racing professionally and right now, my focus will be on continuing to make that a reality.”