Talladega: Shelby Howard race report

Trouble finds Howard at Talladega Talladega, AL (September 29, 2003) -- Trouble found Shelby Howard early and often in Saturday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Food World 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. The 18-year-old had his Dodge dialed in and moving ...

Trouble finds Howard at Talladega

Talladega, AL (September 29, 2003) -- Trouble found Shelby Howard early and often in Saturday's ARCA RE/MAX Series Food World 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. The 18-year-old had his Dodge dialed in and moving to the front until a multi-car accident on lap 68 knocked him into the inside retaining wall and out of the race. Howard was ok, but unable to continue. He finished 27th.

Howard started the day from the 16th spot, but had steadily moved into the top ten until pitting under caution on lap 36. That's when the first hint that the day would be a difficult one occurred. Unable to see because oil coming from the #26 had covered his windshield, Howard missed his pit and had to go another lap around the monstrous, 2.66-mile tri-oval before completing his stop. That miscue forced him to restart 25th.

Back under green with four fresh Hoosier tires and a clean windshield, Howard quickly climbed the charts until another pit stop under caution (on lap 56) again proved tricky. This time, Howard came in too hot and slide through his pit stall. Despite the minor misstep, Howard came back out in the 8th position.

Taking advantage of another quick caution, the Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge crew brought Howard back in, hoping it would be their last stop of the day. With fifty-four laps to go, they figured they could make it on fuel, but the car was stuck in fourth gear, so they spent extra time in the pits remedying the problem.

Coming out in 22nd, Howard knew he had the Dodge working well enough for at least a top-five finish, provided he was able to avoid any more bad breaks on the day. Unfortunately, that would not be the case.

Unable to avoid a sliding Boris Said in the #99 entry, Howard's day ended much earlier than planned. Howard didn't dwell too long on the fact that he had a car that would outrun most of the leaders because he was already thinking about his upcoming NASCAR Busch Series debut this Saturday.

"The #64 Mack Trucks-Beck Dodge had awesome power today," said Howard. "We could catch anyone in the straight-aways. I saw the wreck and thought I had made it through. At the last second, I saw the #99 coming down in front of me and I just couldn't react fast enough. It's a shame because this Dodge was super-fast. That's Talladega, I guess.

"I'm pumped up about taking the Dr Pepper Dodge to Kansas for Saturday's Busch race. If I can keep all four fenders on it and be competitive, it will be a good day."

The three-time race winner in ARCA this year makes his NASCAR debut in the Mr. Goodcents 300 on Saturday, October 4th at 2 pm ET. The 200-lap race will be broadcast live on TNT and MRN.

-shr-

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About this article
Series ARCA
Drivers Boris Said , Shelby Howard