Shelby Howard Finishes 11th at Home Track in KHI Debut CLERMONT, Ind. (July 24, 2010) - In his first-career start for Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), 25-year-old Shelby Howard earned a top-15 finish at his home track in the No. 2 Foretravel Motorcoach...
Shelby Howard Finishes 11th at Home Track in KHI Debut
CLERMONT, Ind. (July 24, 2010) - In his first-career start for Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), 25-year-old Shelby Howard earned a top-15 finish at his home track in the No. 2 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet Silverado.
After laying down a qualifying lap of 22.780 seconds (108.411 mph), Howard took the green flag for the AAA Insurance 200 from the 11th position, and slipped back into the 14th position by lap five, reporting the truck was too tight for this liking.
When the first caution flag of the night waved on lap 10 for a single-truck spin, it was too early in the race to pit, but Howard began to receive advice from team co-owner Kevin Harvick, who was watching the race from atop the pit box. Harvick informed the young driver that the truck looked better in the bottom groove, and to "drive the heck out of" the No. 2 Foretravel Motorcoach machine.
Restarting on lap 18 in the 13th position, Howard relayed that the truck was still difficult to turn in the corners. It took 18 laps before Howard could pick off one of his competitors, and another 11 laps before he would work his way into the 11th position on lap 55.
After once again mentioning his tight condition, crew chief Butch Hylton assured his driver that he would free up the truck if he could hang on until the first pit stop of the race. That opportunity wouldn't come until lap 86 when debris on the racetrack brought out the second caution of the night. Hylton called for major changes to the truck, and when the No. 2 came down pit road, it received four tires with air-pressure adjustments, a full tank of fuel and a track-bar adjustment. Harvick once again offered Howard his advice, telling the driver not to be afraid to get aggressive and use his door to battle for position. "We'll put a new door on it after the race if we have to," Harvick mused.
However, Howard still struggled for the opportunity to "use his door" once the green flag waved on lap 91 due to the "tightness" of the truck and his inability to turn in the corners. The yellow flag waved again on lap 97 for a three-truck incident, and Howard still remained in the 11th position. Harvick instructed his driver to clean off his tires while under caution, but it was not enough to prevent Howard from losing a position after the restart. Howard would remain in the 12th position until lap 130, when he slipped to 13th. Howard managed to maintain his position until the yellow flag waved for the final time on lap 142 for a two-truck incident.
With the opportunity to bring the No. 2 down pit road for the final time, Howard informed Hylton that the truck hadn't gotten much better, and was still running tight in the corners. Hylton called for another major round of adjustments, once again providing Howard with four tires, fuel, an air-pressure adjustment and another large track-bar adjustment.
Restarting 12th on lap 148, Howard would fight his way up to 11th on lap 157. Although Howard was now running lap times as fast as the sixth-place truck, the long green-flag run spread the trucks out so far that he was unable to gain another position before the checkered flag.
"I really enjoyed my first race with KHI," said Howard after the race. "I had a really great truck, despite the tight condition we were fighting all night. I wish we could have broken into the top 10, but I'm pretty happy with our finish. I can't thank Kevin and DeLana [Harvick] enough for the opportunity to drive their truck. I'm looking forward to Chicagoland when I can get back into KHI equipment."
Howard's KHI teammate Ron Hornaday scored his first win of the 2010 season after leading 129 of 200 laps. The No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado now sits third in the Owner's Point standings, 26 points out of first place.
The Truck Series hits the track again on Saturday, July 31, for the Inaugural Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, where Elliott Sadler will be behind the wheel of the No. 2. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 12:30 p.m. ET.