By Bill Choy

Triplicate Sports Editor

With about three laps to go, local race car driver Howard Ford was looking to pass the leader and gain the win at the Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore., at the Windmill Inns 250 on Saturday night.

Unfortunately for him, things did not turn out quite the way he had hoped.

Ford was able to pull alongside race leader Willy Thom on the backstretch. As they both entered Turn 3, Thom's car spun into Ford. Ford was able to jump out in front for what looked like could be the win. But, North State Challenge Series officials said that Ford had made contact that resulted in a yellow flag, and because of that alleged infraction, he was sent to the back of the lead lap cars.

Ford ended-up finishing 8th. The eventual winner of the race was Riley Watson.

Ford insists that he did not touch Thom's car and that it was a discretionary call that should not have been made, considering what had occurred.

andquot;I think it was a poor call, I believe,andquot; he said. andquot;We thought we were going to win another one for the year. It's a bummer.andquot;

While disappointed, Ford is glad he still maintained the overall points lead in the NSCS and did well against 25 other competitors. Currently, he has more than a one race lead over his nearest competitor in the NSCS overall points lead.

While coming so close and coming up short, Ford said he felt a positive was that many fans came up to him after the race and told him things like 'We know who the real champion is.andquot;'

Ford estimates around 75 local fans came to Oregon to cheer him and his Rumanio racing crew on.

andquot;That means a lot to us,andquot; he said.