Colby Howard entered the 2019 season as a relatively unknown driver from the state of South Carolina. That all changed during the month of April when he scored Pro Late Model victories at Five Flags Speedway and Montgomery Motor Speedway. After sitting on his victories for nearly two months, Howard will return to the two tracks this weekend striving for an encore in for a highly-anticipated weekend doubleheader.
Howard enters this weekend’s doubleheader looking to double up at both tracks and earn the $1,000 bonus given to the driver with the best average finish between Friday night's Allen Turner Pro Late Model race at Five Flags and Saturday's Show Me the Money Series race at Montgomery.
Despite his success earlier this season and the high stakes, he is focused on doing his job and beating some of the best in the business.
“There’s a little bit of pressure going down there and winning races like that against guys like Augie Grill and Casey Roderick,” Howard told Speed51.com. “I’m just having to go in here not thinking about anything like that and just go out there and do my own thing.”
Winning both races at Montgomery and Five Flags in April was a huge accomplishment for the 17-year-old. During his time racing Late Model Stocks in his home state of South Carolina, he had heard stories about guys like Roderick and Grill winning all over the Southeast.
“When I was running Late Model Stocks all I would hear about is those guys: Casey, Bubba, Augie all over Speed51 winning all these races,” he said. “To be able to race against them and compete with them and win against them was something that was really special to me, to be able to go out there and race against somebody you looked up to”
Anthony Campi Racing has been the team to beat in the southeast to this point in the year. ACR has won races with three different drivers: Howard at Montgomery and Five Flags, Giovanni Bromante at the Rattler 250 and the Blizzard Series opener at Five Flags, and Sammy Smith during Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway.
With the success coming out of the Anthony Campi stable, Howard says he has to put it behind him and focus on his race anytime it’s his turn to get behind the wheel.
“They’ve had a really, really strong season. My first few races, I was kind of nervous thinking I had to win and compete like how all those other races were going,” he stated. “I couldn’t think about it and I had to put it behind me and go out there and do my thing. It paid off those first few races but they’re still having all this success. I still just got to put it behind me and not think about it and stay calm and do what Anthony (Campi) says and what my spotter Bruce says and we should be good.”
With the rising summer temperatures in the Gulf Coast, it adds another element to the race track come race day. Howard has been doing a lot more away from the track to prepare himself for the heat inside the race car. No matter the conditions, he says the approach at the track remains the same as he goes for two in a row at Five Flags and Montgomery this weekend.
“It’s gotten really hot so I’ve been hitting the gym a lot more recently and running outside, getting my stamina built back up,” he said. “We just got to go there and adapt to the track, it’s definitely been changing a little bit. I just got to listen to Anthony and do whatever he says.”
Both ends of this weekend’s Pro Late Model doubleheader at Five Flags and Montgomery will be streamed live on the Speed51 Network. Race fans can watch both races by becoming monthly or yearly subscribers today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51.com State Editor (IN & MI)
-Photo credit: Speed51.com