By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

Saturday could be the day race car driver Howard Ford once thought would never happen to him againwinning the North State Challenge Series title.

Winning the NSCS season points race will become a reality if he finishes third or better at the Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka. He currently has a 137-point lead in the standings

Ford, of Crescent City, last won the NSCS title in 1999 and said there were years afterwards where he struggled on the race track and wondered if he would ever return to form again.

andquot;It's been great,andquot; he said about this racing season. andquot;I didn't think we would win another one. There was a point where I couldn't win a race. I thought maybe I was washed up.andquot;

This racing season proved that Ford is far from finished. On the contrary, he has accomplished some pretty impressive feats.

After placing second the first race of the season in Eureka in April, Ford went on to win three races in a rowthe first time, to Ford's knowledge, this has happened in NSCS racing action.

Ford did so well, in fact, that NSCS race officials completely took apart his car on two occasion to make sure he did not do any illegal modifications. Both times, the car passed with flying colors.

It has been a while since Ford last raced. On Aug. 18, Ford placed third at the Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson.

andquot;It's been nice to take a break but it's been too long,andquot; he said. andquot;I'm excited about racing again. I've missed it.andquot;

Ford said he and his Rumiano racing crew have been hard at work on the car, making modifications and preparing for the race on Saturday.

andquot;The car's ready and we're all ready to go,andquot; Ford said.

He said he's determined to do well in Eureka.

andquot;We're going out there for the win,andquot; he said. andquot;We know we can put it away this time.andquot;

Ford said it's important for him to make sure to race smart on Saturday and put himself in position to have a chance to win in the final 20 laps.

If Ford places first in Eureka, he said he will not be required to compete in the last race of the season, which will be the following Sunday in Anderson.

But Ford said he has every intention of competing in the last race of the season regardless of how he fares on Saturday.

andquot;It's my favorite race of the year,andquot; he said, adding he enjoys the competition, which includes race car drivers from all over the country and Canada.

Ford said he's excited to race in Eurekawhich is the closest race track to Del Norte County.

He said many area fans have come to his races and Ford is looking forward to seeing them on Saturday and having them cheer on him and his team.