Ryan Howard Awaits Winchester Debut WINCHESTER, Ind (May 4, 2006) - - After securing an 11th place finish two weeks ago at Salem Speedway Mark Gibson Racing's Ryan Howard heads to Winchester Speedway looking to raise the bar and gather his first...
Ryan Howard Awaits Winchester Debut
WINCHESTER, Ind (May 4, 2006) - - After securing an 11th place finish two weeks ago at Salem Speedway Mark Gibson Racing's Ryan Howard heads to Winchester Speedway looking to raise the bar and gather his first top-ten finish of the 2006 season.
After struggling in practice and qualifying at Salem, Ryan, the driver of the No. 59 William Bros Lumber Chevrolet picked up the pace considerably doing the 200-lap event dodging all the wrecks while continuing to battle handling issues. In the end, Howard crossed the line with minimal damage collecting his best finish of the season.
"We were a little off, but I was happy with the finish," said Howard, a native of Tipp City, Ohio. "We struggled at Salem. But, the Mark Gibson Racing team never gave up and we were turning laps as quick as the leaders in the end. This weekend, I'm hoping for a top-ten finish."
Despite an enormous amount of short track seat time, Howard will make his debut at the famed half-mile Winchester Speedway Sunday. The series returns to the Indiana track after a two year break. In 2003, car owner Mark Gibson qualified the No. 59 Williams Bros Lumber Chevrolet 13th and finished 19th.
"I've never raced at Winchester, but I will be surrounded by people that have," explained Howard. "We are using much of the same setup as Salem and with Mark's guidance I know we'll be okay."
With the weather looking sunny and cooler than normal temperatures, Howard hopes to heat up the track further with his first career victory. "I would love to win at Winchester. That would mean so much to me. Mark Gibson (car owner) has given me an opportunity of a lifetime and I would like to bring another win to the team and our sponsors on Sunday."
Thanks to his solid performance at Salem, Howard jumped from 25th to 12th in the ARCA RE/MAX Series standings inching him closer to the top-ten. "The run at Salem is exactly what we needed to help us in the points. We're not that far out of the top ten. Another good run would help that effort. The races are going to get tougher as we roll along in the season, so it's crucial to get as many points as possible."
As for the race lineup, it's shaping up once again to be a very competitive field. "With 40 plus drivers and teams entered, there is going to be a lot of good cars going home. We're locked into the field, but our goal is to qualify inside the top-ten," remarked Howard.
In addition to Williams Bros. Lumber who will serve as the title sponsor for the fourth event of the season, James Hardie Siding Products, AdvanTech Flooring & Sheathing, Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors, Owens Corning, Huber and G-Force Racing Gear will all serve as associate sponsors on the No. 59 Chevrolet Monte Carlo this weekend. "Again, all of our sponsors are back and that's great!," he explained. "We're still trying to find some additional help, but right now we are concentrating on keeping our current sponsors happy. A good run on Sunday would help our efforts."
Thundering into Winchester, Howard has 21 ARCA RE/MAX Series starts under his belt with a career best finish of sixth at Salem Speedway in 2004.JWith 20 races left to add to his resume this season, Howard has a few goals in mind. "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, "More importantly, I have to perform for our sponsors, they deserve it. Even with Mark taking a sabbatical from fulltime racing, Williams Bros Lumber agreed to stay onboard with the team and take a chance on me. That means a lot, they believe in me, and I plan on making the best of it."
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 had a tough break at Salem. He's having the same kind of luck he had last year. If anyone in the ARCA Series needs a good run right now, it's him. Hopefully on Sunday, he can stay out of trouble and we can put both of our cars in the top-ten."
The ARCA 200 Presented by Construct Corps (100 miles/200 laps) is the fourth of 23 events on the 2006 ARCA RE/MAX Series schedule. Winchester will mark the first of several one-day shows this season. Practice begins Sunday, May 7th with an hour and a half (9:30am-11:00am EST) session planned. Pork pole qualifying is scheduled to roll off at 12:30pm with the race set to take the green flag at 2:30pm. The race will not be televised on SPEED, but for the latest news and information, please visit arcaracing.com