Illinois: Shelby Howard preview

Springfield, IL (August 12, 2003) -- 'Almost' only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. ARCA RE/MAX driver Shelby Howard knows 'almost' won't put him back in Victory Lane, but if he's continues his current trend, he will soon find himself ...

Springfield, IL (August 12, 2003) -- 'Almost' only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. ARCA RE/MAX driver Shelby Howard knows 'almost' won't put him back in Victory Lane, but if he's continues his current trend, he will soon find himself clutching a trophy and accepting congratulatory handshakes and high-fives.

Model of Consistency -- All season long, Howard has been consistent. Over the first 14 races, the Greenwood, Indiana resident has qualified in the Top 5 six times. He was on the outside of the front row at Kansas, where he wound up winning his second race. Howard has only qualified outside the Top 10 twice this year.

It's not where you start, it's where you finish -- The numbers get even better when you take a look at the all-important, end-of-day position. Eight Top 5 finishes, five of which he finished third or higher. Only points leader and four-time defending ARCA RE/MAX champion Frank Kimmel has more Top 5s this season. Add to that nine Top 10s and only once did Howard finish outside the Top 15 when he was running at the end of the race.

That being said, the 18-year-old faces a different animal this weekend. The ARCA Series' unparalleled diversity shines through as Howard and his competitors do it in the dirt on Sunday at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois. Howard finished 20th on the 1-mile clay oval last year, despite being severely hindered because of a missing crush panel.

Keep in mind, though, that Howard has shown a tendency to improve on his previous race at a racetrack. He has improved on 10 of 13 tracks this year over last (Lake Erie was new to the schedule). Howard hopes to continue the pattern on Sunday in the Allen Crowe Memorial 100 at Springfield. "I like racing on the dirt," said Howard. "Last year was a cool experience, running on dirt in a stock car. I used to race on the dirt in midgets and mini-sprints, so I knew going in it would be an adventure. I know it will be a good show for the fans. I think it's important for ARCA to not forget racing's roots. Running on dirt is where it all started. The Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge team appreciates that and hope to show it with a good run on Sunday."

The Allen Crowe Memorial 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds goes green at 1 p.m. CST on Sunday, August 17. Practice is from 9-10 a.m. and qualifying begins at 11 a.m.

-www.shelbyhoward.com-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Frank Kimmel , Shelby Howard