By Brian Eberly, Contributing Writer
After finishing eighth in his ARCA Racing Series debut in April at Salem Speedway, Colby Howard indicated he hoped to put more races together in 2018 with Mason Mitchell Motorsports. That hope has come to fruition, as the team announced on Tuesday that Howard would compete in Friday’s Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Madison International Speedway.
The Simpsonville, South Carolina native will pilot the team’s flagship No. 78 Chevrolet with sponsorship from Champion Power Equipment and the Howard Family Foundation. Taking what the teenage driver learned at Salem, he is confident he can earn a top-five result in his second start in the series.
“The biggest takeaway from my debut at Salem was how fast the race pace is,” Howard stated. “I think I was a little too conservative throughout the race because I’m not used to having six tires in the pits. I’ll definitely be working on that more when practice at Madison starts.
“Having a race under my belt and having experience with the team is really going to help me get up to speed quicker at Madison. Crew chief Mark Setzer and I are more comfortable working together after our race at Salem. If we can stay out of trouble and complete all 200 laps, we should be able to earn a top-five finish. That’s my overall goal for Friday evening.”
Howard is a third-generation racer whose grandfather Buddy and father Rodney achieved great success running on the short tracks in the Southeast. Rodney made 33 career starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series from 1983-1986, earning his best finish of fifth at Rockingham Speedway.
The 16-year-old Howard began his career racing dirt bikes before switching to mini stocks and limited late models. In 2016, Howard earned seven wins and finished runner-up in the Southeast Limited Late Model Series. Howard moved to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Late Model Stock division in 2017, where he finished second in South Carolina state points. Earlier this year, Howard won a late model stock race at the historic Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina.
The Herr’s Potato Chips 200 is set to take the green flag this Friday, June 15th at 9:00 p.m. ET with live coverage on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will have live timing and scoring of all on-track activity on Friday at Madison.