Ryan Howard Looking For Rebound Weekend In Kentucky SPARTA, Kentucky (Thursday, May 11, 2006) - - What should have been. ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate leaps into Kentucky Speedway this weekend looking to rebound from what ...
Ryan Howard Looking For Rebound Weekend In Kentucky
SPARTA, Kentucky (Thursday, May 11, 2006) - - What should have been. ARCA RE/MAX Series Rookie-of-the-Year candidate leaps into Kentucky Speedway this weekend looking to rebound from what looked to be a career-run at Winchester Speedway last weekend only to finish 25th.
After posting strong laps in the only practice session of the weekend at Winchester, Howard lost a motor in his No. 59 Williams Bros Lumber Chevrolet. The Mark Gibson Racing team came to his aide, replacing the motor putting the Tipp City, Ohio native back on track. During the course of the 200-lap event, Howard had the fastest machine on the track. Closing in on the leaders with three-fourths of the race complete, Howard once again developed mechanical gremlins putting him out of the show with a devastating finish.
"I hope we have some luck this weekend," said the driver Ryan Howard. "I cannot believe the weekend we had at Winchester. It started off good and went bad. It went the same in the race, I only hope the gremlins found their way home and we'll put the Williams Bros. Lumber Chevrolet Monte Carlo upfront."
Despite no previous ARCA RE/MAX Series starts at Kentucky Speedway, the No. 59 has a solid track record at the 1.5-mile Speedway. "Mark (Gibson, car owner) has some pretty good finishes including a third in 2004," explained Howard. "We've put together a good setup underneath one of our favorite cars in the shop. Hopefully we can bounce back from the bad luck at Nashville and Winchester and prove that our team still has what it takes to run upfront."
The weather is looking gloomy for this weekend's first race of the season from Kentucky Speedway, but despite what Mother Nature may throw at the team's course, the goal remains the same to aim towards victory lane this weekend. "I would love to win at Kentucky. That would mean so much to me. The Williams Bros. Lumber Chevrolet has run very well at Kentucky. We all deserve a good run this weekend, but if we have the opportunity to win the race, we're going to steer for it. I like the bigger tracks, a win at Kentucky, wow what a feeling that would be."
Due to the unthinkable finish at Winchester, Howard dropped from 12th to 13th in the ARCA RE/MAX Series standings. "The run at Winchester didn't aid our efforts in the point standings, but at least we didn't loose a lot of ground. We're really not that far out of the top-ten, so that's what we are reaching for this weekend. I would like to collect the points the lost we last weekend, and put the MGR team back into the top-ten. Enough talking, we have to do it."
As for the potential starting grid, it's looking to be a very competitive field. "We've got some of the non-full time ARCA RE/MAX Series teams running with us this weekend. It will be tough to beat them since they have some help from the Nextel Cup and Busch teams, but we will persevere. We won't give up, the goal is to start and finish in the top ten."
Thundering into Kentucky, Howard has 22 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts under his belt with a career best finish of sixth at Salem Speedway in 2004. With 19 races left to add to his resume this season, Howard still is remembering his goals that he set at the beginning of the season. "I really would like to win some races, but more important consistency in the name of top-ten finishes. "I'm also really going to try hard and win Rookie-of-the-Year that would really mean a lot to me."
Said Ryan, "Williams Bros Lumber and all of our other sponsors deserve good finishes. Even with Mark taking a sabbatical from fulltime racing, all of our sponsors continued to believe in MGR and a rookie driver. That means a lot. We've had some up and down races this season, hopefully all the bad luck is gone and we can produce the finishes we know we can."
MGR (Mark Gibson Racing) will again run under a two-car effort this weekend. Johnny Leonard (Jack/Cole, Inc.) will run a second Chevrolet Monte Carlo entry this weekend in the No. 13. "Johnny looks like he is starting to turn his season around. He had a good clean run at Winchester and had his best finish of the season. He seemed really happy. Hopefully we both can unload with fast cars and maybe we can be battling for the win at the end."