Pocono II: Shelby Howard preview

Howard and CIMCO make change on Speedways. Indianapolis, IN (7-23-02)-- Five top ten finishes in thirteen starts is a very commendable start for a rookie team. When you add the fact that the driver has only been racing full-bodied stock cars ...

Howard and CIMCO make change on Speedways.

Indianapolis, IN (7-23-02)-- Five top ten finishes in thirteen starts is a very commendable start for a rookie team. When you add the fact that the driver has only been racing full-bodied stock cars for three years, eyebrows start to rise and people begin paying a little more attention.

Perhaps a bit surprising for a team that has a successful short track history is the fact that each one of those top tens has come at tracks over 1-mile long. Regardless of the success they have experienced on speedways this year, ARCA RE/MAX rookie Shelby Howard and the CIMCO Racing team have"changed gears" on their speedway package for the rest of the season, starting this week at Pocono.

The #64 team will be campaigning their new Dodge Intrepid for this weekend's Pepsi ARCA 200 at Pocono Raceway. They will have Ernie Elliott horsepower providing the driving force behind their effort.

Ernie Elliott, Inc. (EEI) builds engines for notable teams such as Chip Ganassi Racing (Sterling Marlin and Jimmy Spencer) in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, Terry Cook and Rick Crawford in the Craftsman Truck Series, and Braun Racing (Chad Blount) in the ARCA RE/MAX Series.

The Indianapolis-based team has raced Chevrolets since joining the series last September, except for Daytona where they had a Pontiac.

"We felt like we would be better off to make the change now rather than wait until the off-season," said team owner Shelby Howard III. "We've performed fairly well on the big tracks, but we know we are better than what we've shown. Dodge has proven they bring an excellent racecar to the track, plus making the jump now gives us a head start on next season, so that's why we decided to make the change."

Shelby Howard, the 16-year-old driver, is excited and can't wait to shake the car down to see exactly what kind of difference having the Dodge will make. "From what we've already learned about the car, we know we can be in the top five this weekend," Howard said. "Of course, we have to have a little racing luck, but we feel that taking this combination (Dodge and EEI Engines) to the track will help us get the results we need."

For the time being, Howard and the team plans to stick with Chevrolets on the short tracks and will use engines built in-house.

They have only had the Dodge for a week, so they haven't had time to paint the car to match their new purple and neon yellow scheme. As a result, there will be at least two red Dodges on the track (Chad Blount and Shelby) and possibly a third since Winston Cup regular Casey Atwood will be driving an ARCA car for 3-time Winston Cup championship crew chief and car owner Ray Evernham, who fields two red Dodges in that series. "When the race is over, I want to be the (red) one that's in the front," laughed Howard.

Howard is also excited about returning to Pocono, where he finished 19th in his first race there earlier this season. "I like the track a lot. I like the challenge of it; having to shift gears made it fun," Howard said. "I've been looking forward to coming back here ever since we were here in June."

Race Info:

Event: ARCA RE/MAX Series Pepsi 200; Time and Date: Saturday, July 27, 1:00 p.m. EDT; Site: Pocono Raceway; Qualifying: Thursday, July 25, 3:00 p.m. EDT; Happy Hour: Friday, July 26, 10:00 a.m. EDT.

-www.shelbyhoward.com.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Jimmy Spencer , Sterling Marlin , Casey Atwood , Chad Blount , Terry Cook , Rick Crawford , Shelby Howard , Ray Evernham
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing