Chicagoland: Shelby Howard race report

Strong Run for Shelby Howard Goes Up In Smoke No. 2 Experiences Engine Failure on Lap 28 JOLIET, Ill. (August 28, 2010) - The night was looking promising for Shelby Howard, who appeared to have a top-10 finish ahead of him in his second start...

Strong Run for Shelby Howard Goes Up In Smoke
No. 2 Experiences Engine Failure on Lap 28

JOLIET, Ill. (August 28, 2010) - The night was looking promising for Shelby Howard, who appeared to have a top-10 finish ahead of him in his second start for Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), but catastrophic engine failure on lap 28 mired the No. 2 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet in the 31st position.

After running fourth in final practice and qualifying sixth, Howard and the No. 2 KHI team were confident going into the EnjoyIllinois.com 225.

Taking the green flag, Howard initially lost a position as he and his competitors organized themselves on the racetrack, but by lap two he regained his starting spot.

Once the field began to string out on lap three, Howard was able to assess his truck. Reporting to crew chief Butch Hylton that the No. 2 Chevy was turning a little bit too freely in the center, Howard focused on hitting his marks and he slowly began to encroach on the trucks in front of him.

With KHI teammate Ron Hornaday behind him, Howard began to encounter lapped trucks on lap eight, but he skillfully navigated through the slower traffic. By lap 13, he was running faster times than every truck besides the leader, and on lap 22, he passed the No. 31 to advance into the fifth position.

By lap 23, the truck was now perfectly balanced for the cooling racetrack, and Howard concentrated on reeling in the fourth position. Closing in on the bumper of the truck in front of him, Howard felt the No. 2 Foretravel Motorcoach begin to shake badly in turns one and two on lap 28, and a cloud of smoke began to stream from the truck.

"We blew up," said Howard, coasting around the apron. With feedback from Howard and his spotter, the crew determined that the engine failure was terminal, and Howard brought the truck straight to the garage. Crew members inspected the engine in the garage, but they were unable to do anything to repair the truck, and the team officially retired in the 31st position.

"Something in the engine just let go," said Howard after he emerged from the No. 2 machine. "I can't complain about it, these engines make great power, and this was probably the best truck I've ever driven on a mile-and-a-half track. I can't thank Butch Hylton and the entire KHI team enough for giving me a great truck, and I have to thank Kevin and DeLana [Harvick] for giving me this opportunity. I had a lot of fun tonight. I'll be back next week in Kentucky and hopefully we can make it happen there."

"The engine failure was catastrophic," said crew chief Butch Hylton after the race. "We won't know what happened until we get back to the shop, but this in no way reflects on ECR, who builds our engines. We haven't had an engine failure all year, and we've had awesome motors all season. We'll just have to see what went wrong."

The No. 18 of Kyle Busch visited victory lane, followed by Todd Bodine, KHI teammate Ron Hornaday, Johnny Sauter and Justin Lofton rounding out the top five. The No. 2 dropped one spot to fourth in the Owner's Point Standings, now 250 points out of first place.

The Truck Series hits the track again on Friday, September 3rd for the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway where Howard will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 truck.

-source: khi

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Todd Bodine , Kevin Harvick , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Shelby Howard , Johnny Sauter , Justin Lofton , Kyle Busch