Still holds NSCS points lead

By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

Holding on to a 144-point lead in the North State Challenge Series, local race car driver Howard Ford goes into Saturday's race at the Lakeport Speedway hoping for at least a top 5 finish.

Ford is looking forward to the chance to race at Lakeport again.

The community, located northeast of Santa Rosa, is enthusiastic about racing, with standing-room-only crowds at an old-fashioned race trackthe kind found 50 years ago, although still very well maintained, Ford said.

And, the track is located in the middle of town next to a lake.

andquot;They really get into racing down there,andquot; he said. andquot;We love going down. It's probably one of my favorite places to race.andquot;

The quarter of a mile track is in an unique oval style, which means the race times are quite fast.

A few years ago, Ford set the track record by completing a lap in little more than 11 seconds.

andquot;It's a really fast track,andquot; he said.

Such a short track challenges drivers, who have to constantly turn their wheels throughout the race. Having the walls and other cars a lot closer presents another set of challenges.

andquot;There's not a lot of room,andquot; Ford said. andquot;If you make a mistake, you're going to hit something pretty hard.andquot;

Ford and his crew have been hard at working making adjustments to the car to better reflect the Lakeport track, so the vehicle will keep better balance and remain flat as he makes his constant turns.

Next week, Ford and his Rumanio racing team have an NSCS race at the Shasta Speedway in Anderson.

Since there is so little time between races, Ford said he needs to have the car in one piece by the end of Saturday's race.

For the season, Ford has placed first three times in a row and had a second place finish his first race of the season.

In his last race in Roseburg Ore., last month, Ford took 8th. At the end of that race, Ford had just taken the lead when NSCS officials said that he had made contact with the lead car, and Ford was sent to the back of the pack of cars on the lead lap.