By: Paul Reichert
July 16, 2022
While we love seeing new faces in victory lane and drivers scoring their first career feature wins, we also love seeing drivers we expect in victory lane claim a much needed win for the first time in quite a while. Various things like accidents, engine issues, suspension problems or a poor performing car in general can keep a front runner out of victory lane. Such was the case for Cole Howland, but both he and his father continued to preserve and not lose faith in their racing program. Howland powered around Jackson Lewis with nine laps remaining and held back the field to capture his first feature win in three years.
The Altra 25 lap feature for the NASCAR Late Models saw Jackson Lewis (Elko New Market, MN) powered by Michael Haggar (Hanover, MN) and into the lead. Cole Howland (LaCrosse, WI) stuck right behind both drivers and maintained the number three position as Howland patiently waited for the right moment to strike. Haggar stayed within two car lengths of Lewis in second as he also waited for his golden opportunity to claim LaCrosse feature win number two. That lead trio was pulling away from the field and began their own race for the win. Howland dove low entering turn one on lap 12 to power his way past Haggar to take over the runner-up spot. Howland wasted no time in going after Lewis for the lead, but lap traffic on lap 13 made Howland take a step back and reset things. It finally paid off as Howland dove low on Lewis entering turn one on lap 16 and came out with the lead on the back straight. Haggar would not let Howland get away that easily as he wrestled second away from Lewis. Haggar could not make a late charge as Howland scored a long overdue victory that was three years in the making. After the race, Howland said “I almost lost faith in my abilities as a driver. I have to thank my dad and my wife for helping me not losing faith in our racing program.”
In the Sportsmen feature, Bill Schott (LaCrosse, WI) powered his way around Dexter Malin (LaCrosse, WI) to move into the top spot on lap five. Just when it looked like Schott might get an early birthday present, the yellow flag made an appearance with three laps remaining. Bob Fort (Fountain City, WI) charged by Schott on the restart and was able to repel Schott’s many challenges to score his fourth feature win of the year.