Salem, IN (September 15, 2003) -- 18-year-old Shelby Howard swept up at Salem on Saturday night, claiming his second consecutive win at the Indiana short track in ARCA RE/MAX's Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200. The 18-year-old phenom took command on...
Salem, IN (September 15, 2003) -- 18-year-old Shelby Howard swept up at Salem on Saturday night, claiming his second consecutive win at the Indiana short track in ARCA RE/MAX's Eddie Gilstrap Motors 200.
The 18-year-old phenom took command on lap 84 and except for a late race challenge from Frank Kimmel, practically drove away from the competition in the 204-lap event. Once at the point, Howard led all but 22 of the remaining 121 laps and extended the gap to the second-place car to nearly 3 seconds on several occasions.
"The Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge was extremely strong all night," said Howard. "We only made one slight adjustment during our (pit) stop. The crew did an awesome job getting the car set up just right. It feels good to get back to Victory Lane here at Salem."
After starting third, Howard stayed in the top three until he surrendered the lead by pitting on lap 89. Darting through traffic, Howard powered his way back to the front, taking over for good on lap 112. He had stretched out to a dominant lead before a caution bunched up the field. With 34 laps to go, Howard not only had lapped traffic to deal with, but had to withstand pressure from series champion Frank Kimmel, who had moved around Justin Allgaier for second. On lap 180, contact between Howard and Kimmel sent Kimmel into the outside wall while Howard somehow hung on to his hot rod.
"The 46 car tried to go through a hole that wasn't really there and when he did, he bounced off a lapped car," stated Howard. "He came up and knocked me sideways and almost dumped me into the wall. We were both still trying to get our cars under control when his car slides up and we got together. It's unfortunate that it happened, but it's one of those racing deals. I guess I could've checked up, but with twenty-something laps to go, you've got to stay in the gas when you're racing for the win. It's one of those deals -- we see one way and they see it another. That's just the way it is."
Once back under green, Howard had checked out until a caution inside of ten laps to go set up a green-white-checkers finish. After the final restart, Howard eased away to a 1.0-second victory.
After 19 races, Howard has 10 top fives and 11 top tens. With the victory, Howard now moves into 4th in points and is only 90 markers out of 3rd heading into South Boston.
The ARCA RE/MAX Series returns to South Boston this Saturday for the re-scheduled Liberty 200. The race was postponed in July because of rain. The one-day show at the 0.4-mile bullring begins with practice at 10:45 am ET followed by qualifying at 3 pm. The 200-lap contest starts at 7:30 pm.