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Sep 04, 2010 - 03:49 PM
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2010 Kentucky: Shelby Howard NASCAR Truck Race Recap
Posted by: MSulka on Sep 04, 2010 - 03:45 PM
NASCAR News
2010 Kentucky: Shelby Howard NASCAR Truck Race Recap


Shelby Howard recorded his career-best finish at Kentucky Speedway with a 19th-place finish in Saturday night's Built Ford Tough 225. Howard fought a loose-handling truck all night, but was able to record a top-20 finish in the Bluegrass State..

"We sort of missed the set up tonight," said Howard after the race. "I was really loose all night. We couldn't make it to the end of the race on fuel if we had pitted under the last caution flag, so we had to make a green-flag pit stop late in the race and that kept us from a top-10 finish. I have to thank all the guys at Kevin Harvick Inc. (KHI), they have been great to work with and I have really enjoyed my time in the No. 2 Chevrolet."

 

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Howard began the 150-lap race from the 15th position and quickly radioed crew chief Butch Hylton that the No. 2 truck was wicked loose. The No. 2 team decided to take the opportunity to make adjustments to the truck when the first caution of the night waved on lap 20. Howard gave up the 15th position to come to pit road for fuel, spring rubber and wedge adjustments to help the loose condition. Howard lost track position but was able to make his way back up to the 14th position by lap 33.

While his KHI-teammate Ron Hornaday led the field, Howard worked inside the cockpit of the No. 2 truck turning off all the tire blowers to try and build up air pressure and help his truck turn better. The caution waved for the second time on lap 45. Howard said the truck was 50 percent better, but he needed more to be able to race with the leaders. The No. 2 team went to work on pit road giving Howard four fresh tires and fuel. On the pit stop, the team made large air-pressure and track-bar adjustments.

Howard restarted the race from the 14th position on lap 50. Eight laps later, the No. 2 took over the 11th position, looking the best it had all night. Howard began to run lap times as fast as the leaders. Once again, Howard radioed to the crew that he still needed to be tighter and that he was loosing time in the corners because he was lifting off the gas to save the truck from jumping sideways. The caution flew for the third time of the evening at the half-way point of the race on lap 75. Hylton made the call to bring Howard back down pit road for a track-bar adjustment and to take on fuel only allowing Howard to gain track position and restart the race in the fourth position.

As the race restarted on lap 80, the leaders began to battle for position taking it four wide into the corners. Howard wisely backed out of a four-wide situation settling in the ninth position when the caution flew for a spin by leader Todd Bodine on lap 82. The fifth caution of the night waved on lap 91. The No. 2 team determined that they could not make it to the end of the race on fuel and decided to remain on track as some of the leaders came to pit road. Following adjustments to try and tighten the No. 2 truck, Howard finally told the team on lap 100 that he was tight through the center and off the corner.

Howard brought the No. 2 truck to pit road under green on lap 120 for the final scheduled pit stop of the race to take on four tires and fuel. With many of the leaders on different pit strategies, the stop mired Howard two laps down in the 21st position. Howard was able to gain two additional positions before the checkered flag fell coming home with a 19th-place finish, his career-best Truck Series finish at the 1.5-mile track.

Bodine won the Built Ford Tough 225 followed by Johnny Sauter, Aric Almirola, Jason White and Ricky Carmichael. The Truck Series returns to action on Saturday, September 18, for the RaceDayRaffleSeries.com 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway where KHI co-owner Kevin Harvick will be behind the wheel of the No. 2 truck. The race can be seen live on SPEED at 2:30 p.m. ET.



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