By: Ashley McCubbin
With four top-20 finishes this year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Colby Howard has already announced his plans for 2022, which will see him run the full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing.
NEWS FROM THE PITS recently caught up with the South Carolina native to get his thoughts on the opportunity, and more.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts on going truck racing?
COLBY HOWARD: I’m excited for it. Being in the Xfinity Series, a lot of people say they feel like I’m stepping down, but I feel I’m stepping down to take a big step forward after that, or just being a top-tier equipment and being able to compete and win races, and that sort of thing. I feel that’s a huge thing for my career, whereas I’m running 25th or further back with the Xfinity stuff. It’s really fun to think about competing up front again.
ASHLEY: Along those lines, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing recently announced the switch to Chevrolets and a partnership with GMS Racing. As a young driver, what does it mean to you in having the likes of Bill McAnally and GMS to lean on, but also confidence in the equipment?
COLBY: McAnally – they were already a good team. They were already competitive before that, and getting that alliance with GMS is just going to take them the next step further, I think. It doesn’t do anything except make me more excited about 2022.
GMS is obviously a really good team. They’re extremely strong and have shown that over the years, and built something great there. So to be aligned with them, and actually be moving into a shop next door, I think is going to be a really good deal on both parts and I’m really looking forward to working with them and Bill (McAnally), and Derek (Kraus), and all the drivers at GMS to see what we can do next year.
ASHLEY: What are your goals and expectations in knowing this is your first season in the Trucks?
COLBY: I haven’t thought about too much. I’ve been talking about winning, but realistically, I’d like to just keep the trucks clean and make Bill happy, and make Chevrolet happy. Just do what we can. I think we’re going o be competitive for wins but if not, then running clean, making the playoffs, and seeing how far we can go, and earning all the respect from everybody in the truck series garage.
ASHLEY: What track are you most looking forward to?
COLBY: Probably Darlington or Bristol. Those are two of my favorite tracks on the schedule. I actually did the Truck race at Darlington and Bristol this year. We had some really good runs. At Bristol, we got some damage that hurt us a little, but at Darlington, that was really good for us in finishing 13th. Those are two of my favorite tracks.
ASHLEY: What are your thoughts on your Xfinity Series experience has gone?
COLBY: I think they’ve gone good. I’ve learned a lot especially on these big tracks. The air is so much different than I’m used to, so just to learn that and earning some of the respect from the other drivers has been good. But I feel that main thing that will help me next year is learning some of the tracks and with the Xfinity races being sometimes longer than the truck races, I feel that will help me a lot next year, because the races will be shorter so I’ll be pretty prepared for those distances.
ASHLEY: We’ve seen people going back and forth between the two series, but what’s the biggest difference you realized in the limited starts that you made?
COLBY: I feel like the biggest thing is the aero. That’s a really huge thing in the truck series. They have so much more downforce and punch such a bigger hole in the air a lot more, but also the drivers. The drivers in the truck series seem to e a lot more aggressive, more rough than the Xfinity series, so that’s something to get used to. It seems to be a common thing for them to beat and bang and race like that and be that aggressive, but defiantly the aero and how the drivers race is a good bit different than the Xfinity series.
ASHLEY: How did you get started in racing?
COLBY: I actually started in dirt bikes. I broke my leg and femur and my collarbone in dirt bikes racing those for two years. Once I broke those bones, my dad said it was time to get to four wheels and a roll cage. My grandpa raced cars, my dad raced cars, and here I am now.
ASHLEY: What has been your most memorable racing moment?
COLBY: Probably winning my first ever race on asphalt was the most memorable, in having both my grandpa and my dad there in victory lane was pretty special for me.