Pocono: Shelby Howard preview

Ready to tackle the triangle, Howard has proven he's up to the challenge. Long Pond, PA (6-5-02) -- Backing down from new challenges is not something 16-year-old Shelby Howard can comprehend. With no racing in his family heritage to rely upon,...

Ready to tackle the triangle, Howard has proven he's up to the challenge.

Long Pond, PA (6-5-02) -- Backing down from new challenges is not something 16-year-old Shelby Howard can comprehend.

With no racing in his family heritage to rely upon, he decided to try his hand at it after attending a dirt race at the age of 10. He proved to be a quick learner by finishing 5th nationally in the Junior Sprint division in his first season.

His plan for learning the best way around Pocono won't be any different. The teenage ARCA RE/MAX rookie won't see the 2.5-mile, triangular-shaped track located in the middle of the Pocono Mountains for the first time until he rolls out for practice Thursday morning. No problem, just another challenge to meet.

"We've never been to Pocono before. Of all the tracks we go to this year, this is the one I would've liked to test at the most,' Howard said. "Unfortunately, we're going in there blind.'

The track with its three distinct turns and three straight- aways, is unlike any other racetrack.

"I know you have to shift at least twice and you have to approach each turn totally different, so there's no way the car can be set up perfectly. In spite of that, I hear it's a fun track and I'm ready for it.'

Even though the long grind of the season is just now really beginning, Howard remains optimistic and upbeat. He feels the iHigh.com team is starting to make some progress after making the transition from the Indiana-based Sunoco Super Series.

"We're starting to get real busy and will be for the rest of the year. We race almost every week from now until we go to Talladega in October,' commented Howard. "The team is beginning to figure things out. We're adapting to the heavier cars, increased horsepower, and the Hoosier tires. This is our first full season in the ARCA RE/MAX Series after running late models the past three years, so our confidence has been growing by leaps and bounds each week.'

Because of his age and everything he has accomplished in 7 short years of racing, one might assume Howard would be hard-charging, arrogant, or conceited. That's hardly the case after you watch him race and talk to him. He's actually the exact opposite ^Ö deliberate, quiet, and modest.

"Each time I climb in a race car, I know there's something to be learned that will help me,' said Howard. "I try to soak it all in so I can do a better job the next time out.'

If Howard continues to have that type of attitude, watch out. He might just sneak up and take a victory or two later this year.

DRIVER STANDINGS: Currently sixth in the standings, Howard is 15 points behind Jason Jarrett in fifth and trails Andy Belmont by 25 points, who is in fourth.

RACE INFO: The Pocono 200 is set to take the green flag on Saturday, June 8 at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Speed Channel will air the race on a tape-delayed basis on Monday, June 10 at 5 p.m. EDT.

-www.shelbyhoward.com-

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Series ARCA
Drivers Jason Jarrett , Shelby Howard