Daytona Beach, FL (February 4, 2003) -- When asked what his main goal was for the new season, Shelby Howard said that was easy. "Win races...lots of them," he said. While it was easy for him to answer the question, he knows it won't be easily ...
Daytona Beach, FL (February 4, 2003) -- When asked what his main goal was for the new season, Shelby Howard said that was easy. "Win races...lots of them," he said. While it was easy for him to answer the question, he knows it won't be easily achieved.
Howard, who will be running his second full campaign in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2003, faces stiff competition each and every week. After finishing an impressive 5th place overall in his rookie season, the young Indiana native is up to the challenge and ready to build on the solid foundation he and his team established in 2002. "Having most of the team return this year should be a major boost to us," commented Howard. "We added a couple of guys in the off season and they've fit in well. Our pit crew is tight, so they've all worked together to stay in shape the past few months. We are all set for Daytona."
His first ever Daytona start came last February and proved to be a fairly memorable one. Howard moved into the lead late in the race before an untimely pit stop in a rain- shortened event shuffled him back in the field, ultimately crossing the line in 27th.
This year things are different. Howard knows the track, knows the competition, and knows he has the equipment to be a force to be reckoned with. As a result, the 17-year- old is full of confidence. "We definitely have the car to do it this year. We have a Dodge Intrepid with Ernie Elliott engines, so it's all coming together early on. I'm excited and feel really good about how things have taken shape. But the best part of this new season is I don't have to attend the rookie meeting anymore," joked Howard.
Not being able to test at Daytona back in December due to a fuel spill on the track briefly set Howard back in his preparation for this year's season opener. A test at Talladega later on proved to be the cure to that problem. "We had an awesome test at Talladega. That has allowed us to really focus and we feel pretty good about our chances this coming weekend," Howard exclaimed.
"Last year, we were new to the series so we didn't know what to expect at Daytona and a lot of other tracks. We are much more relaxed and sure of ourselves this time around," added Howard.
Last season in his rookie year, Howard scored three top five and nine top ten finishes in 21 starts. He received national attention last November when he appeared on ABC's news magazine show "20/20".
Howard will run the full ARCA schedule this year while keeping his eyes and ears open for a chance to jump into the NASCAR Busch Series once he turns 18 in July.
The Advance Discount Auto Parts 200 kicks off the 2003 ARCA season at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 8th. SPEED Channel will carry all of the action live.