Pocono II: Shelby Howard race report

Highs and lows for Howard at Pocono Long Pond, PA (July 28, 2003) -- This past weekend held lots of promise for ARCA RE/MAX driver Shelby Howard in the beginning. The Greenwood, Indiana teenager celebrated his 18th birthday by collecting...

Highs and lows for Howard at Pocono

Long Pond, PA (July 28, 2003) -- This past weekend held lots of promise for ARCA RE/MAX driver Shelby Howard in the beginning. The Greenwood, Indiana teenager celebrated his 18th birthday by collecting another top five finish in Friday's rescheduled Giant Food Stores 200. Gaining substantial ground in the points was an added bonus, but that quickly disappeared with Saturday's 23rd place run in the Pennsylvania 200.

Starting 5th on Friday night, Howard had trouble getting his Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge to turn, but he still was able to keep his Dodge dynamo near the front early. Pitting under the first caution, Howard had to restart 18th, losing position due to a slight miscue in the pits. "I was pushing bad, but didn't realize we had changed the slam panel and had to come back in," Howard said.

Howard steadily moved his way back up to 9th by the halfway point and managed to keep picking off spots, nailing down his 7th top five outing of the year.

A solid qualifying run put him in the 10th spot for Saturday afternoon. Numerous changes to the Dodge still weren't what the car was looking for, forcing Howard to wrestle with it all day. "We changed a bunch of stuff to this car for Saturday, but just can't get it to turn at this track," Howard said. "We fought it all weekend."

Things got worse when Howard, who was running 14th at the time, was tapped from behind on lap 37. Going into a spin, Howard was able to keep his car off the wall, but the engine stalled and he couldn't get it restarted. The team took the Dodge behind the wall for 19 laps until returning to the event.

"Going into the tunnel turn, I felt the car slow a bit and I guess the #25 had a better run on me than he thought he did," said Howard. "After we pushed it behind the wall, we didn't think we were going to be able to get back out. We were about to head to the garage when I decided to try it one last time. Luckily, it fired back up. I was able to recover a few spots, but we took a pretty good hit in points today. It's pretty depressing, but we won't give up. We'll be ready to battle again at Nashville."

Coming up next for the ARCA RE/MAX Series is the Waste Management 200 from Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday, August 9th. SPEED Channel will televise the race live from 4-6 pm ET.

-shr-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Shelby Howard