By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

Local race car driver Howard Ford won the North State Challenge Series Championship in convincing fashion on Saturday, placing first at the Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka.

He needed at least a third place finish to win the crown on Saturday night.

This was the fourth race Ford has won this season.

andquot;It hasn't sunk in yet,andquot; Ford said on Monday. andquot;We've got this week's race ahead of us and we're already preparing the car.andquot;

Ford last won the NSCS title in 1999 and said there were years afterwards where he struggled and wondered if he would ever win another race, let alone another title again.

andquot;I never though we would get into this position again and now we're racing harder and better than ever,andquot; Ford said. andquot;We just wanted to win real bad.andquot;

Saturday night, Ford took the lead on the 38th lap and did not look back after starting the race in the eighth position.

andquot;It went perfect,andquot; Ford said about the race. andquot; Everything we could do to secure the win we were able to do.andquot;

But the victory did come without some mix emotions when during the cool down lap after the victory on the 75th lap, another car did not realisze the race was over and hit Ford's car from behind, causing damage to his car.

Ford said his crew is now working hard to fix the andquot;substantialandquot; damage and should have the car ready to race on Sunday in the last NSCS race of the season.

The race is the Win-River 124 at Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson.

Ford said the victory on Saturday andquot;takes the pressure offandquot; of Sunday's race so he and his crew and just go out, not worry about the NSCS title and focus on winning in Anderson.

He said the race, the biggest short race on the West Coast, is one of his favorites each year, with drivers from all over the country and Canada taking part.

Last week, Ford said his crew thoroughly went over the car and found some worn parts that the Ruminao Racing team previously did not know about.

The parts were replaced and Ford said he felt it made a difference in him having such a good race.

Ford commended his Rumiano Racing crew with doing such an amazing job this season and said he could not have done it without them.

He also thanked all his sponsers, which include Rumiano Cheese, Bayside Reality and Haban Construction for their help and support.

Members of the Ruminao Racing crew are: Dee Kinney, Brett Uselton, Scott Spinas, Kavin Conn, and Vestal Skaggs.