KALISPELL, Montana — For Agni Howell, driver of the Howell’s Auto Repair Chevrolet, the Coors Light Montana 200 powered by Kalispell Toyota is a labor of love. Having made one attempt in the mid 1990s, Howell has consistently been in the pit area vying for a chance to make the Montana 200 field since 2004.
“I came out here back then (in 1994) and was running my Limited Sportsman in second place in the Last Chance Qualifier, the only metal-bodied car in the field, when I had trouble and didn’t finish the race. From there I have always looked at the 200 as a way to improve myself and the race car and not so much focus on getting into the race. I have made it far more then missing the 200 but to me it’s all about trying to be better and what I’m doing as a driver,” Howell said.
Having overcome many obstacles in his personal life, Howell uses faith, a little racing luck and many long hours to get his race car to the track each week, he added.
“I am pretty lucky to be able to do this.”
As an instructor for Alcoholics Anonymous, Howell knows first-hand that hard work and dedication are top priorities in leading a successful business, race team and life.
“With me it’s all about having to balance work, life and the racing. I know that without a successful business I wouldn’t be able to race or live the life I have.”
Being down-to-earth is a routine for Howell.
Looking over the list of drivers who have registered for the 21st Annual Montana 200, Howell was not intimidated by the competition but more moved by how far their willing to travel to compete in the event.
“To see (former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver) Chad Little’s son Jesse on the list and know he’s coming all the way from (Sherrills Ford) North Carolina is pretty impressive for me. That’s a long way to travel for this race and I sure hope he has success. I was also surprised to see (past NASCAR Northwest Tour champion, who hails from just outside Vancouver, BC) Pete Harding on the list. That’s a guy who always has wanted to run the race from what I know and he’s finally able to come all the way here and race,” Howell noted.
When it’s all over Howell’s goals for the Montana 200 weekend remain simple, he added.
“I just want to go out and compete. To me being able to stand in the pits and see all of those great drivers and know I could have a chance to race against them is pretty cool. Whether I win, make the race or get to watch in the stands it will have been a good weekend because I was here and got to be part of the show.”
Tickets for the 21st Annual Coors Light Montana 200 powered by Kalispell Toyota set for July 14-16, are on sale now at www.montanaracewaypark.com or at the track box office beginning July 11. A two-day pass gives race fans access to all on-track activity throughout the week, dinner on Thursday night and breakfast on Friday and Saturday mornings. For more information please dial (406) 257-RACE (7223).
NEWS & NOTES:
- Montana Raceway Park’s RV area will be open for parking beginning at Noon on Monday, July 11. There is no charge to park in the RV area. All RV’s are asked to park in an East-West direction and stay within the marked lines of the space.
- State Farm FanFest gets underway Thursday, July 14 at 5 p.m. and offers a free dinner to those in attendance (while supplies last). There is no cost for admission.
- Grandstand viewing of Thursday’s practice session is free to the public beginning at 10 a.m. No access to the hot pit area is allowed without proper credentials.
- Qualifying for the 21st Annual Coors Light Montana 200 powered by Kalispell Toyota is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, July 15 with opening ceremonies set to follow.
- Two more starting positions have been added to the 21st Annual Coors Light Montana 200 powered by Kalispell Toyota bring the total number of starters in the finale to 26.
- The 21st Annual Coors Light Montana 200 powered by Kalispell Toyota will air live on KOFI 1180AM and 103.9 The Monster Saturday night beginning at 9 p.m. Updates will also be provided throughout the weekend at RacingWest.com and on the track’s Facebook page.
Pre-Entries as of 7/9/2011
Car Num./Name/ Manufacture/Hometown
03 Jesse Little Ford Sherills Ford, NC
05 Eric Schmidt Chevrolet Roseville, CA
0 Brent Harris Chevrolet Wenatchee, WA
1 Agni Howell Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
5 Ryan Wells Toyota Hingham, MT
6 Chris Skelton Chevrolet Calgary, AB
7 Mark Sundberg Ford Seattle, WA
9 Kelly Mann Chevrolet Monroe, WA
10 Owen Riddle Ford Naches, WA
12 Giles Thornton Toyota Whitefish, MT
12o Dan Obrist Chevrolet Portland, OR
14 Shelby Thompson Chevrolet Mead, WA
15 Forrest Bauer Ford Frenchtown, MT
16 Blake Williams Ford Newman Lake, WA
17 Trevor Emond Chevrolet Leduc, AB
20 Jay Sauls Chevrolet Puyallup, WA
20h Todd Havens Chevrolet Spokane, WA
21 Jared Vorse Chevrolet Olympia, WA
22 Chris Eggelston Chevrolet Erie, CO
22g Jonathon Gomez Chevrolet Twin Falls, ID
24 Cameron Hayley Chevrolet Calgary, AB
27 Tim Elliott Chevrolet Creston, BC
31 Jason Fraser Chevrolet Snohomish, WA
36 Wrango West Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
36m David Miller Chevrolet Coquille, OR
37 Mike Longton, Ford Moxee, WA
38 Grant Brown Chevrolet Red Deer, AB
39 Pete Harding Chevrolet Surrey, BC
41 Junior Roddy Chevrolet Gualala, CA
42 Jeff Jefferson Chevrolet Naches, WA
42h Ronnie Hults Cadillac Centennial, CO
44 Mark Owens Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
44l Jeff Little Chevrolet Sandpoint, ID
47 Ken Kaltschmidt Chevrolet Marion, MT
49 Brian Levant Cadillac Calgary, AB
51 Erick Hargraves Pontiac Yakima, WA
53 Alex Lessor Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
55 Billy Salmonsen Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
69 Brandon Riehl Chevrolet Boring, OR
73 Gary Lewis Chevrolet Snohomish, WA
75 Troy Schweigert Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
76 Amanda MacDonald Chevrolet Ephrata, WA
76j Brian Johnson Jr. Chevrolet Machesney Park, IL
77 Bodie Morton Chevrolet Kalispell, MT
77v Greg Vangool Chevrolet Riverside Estates, SK
83 Braeden Havens Chevrolet Spokane, WA
88 Cory Wolfe Ford Ronan, MT
93 David Garber Pontiac Spokane, WA
96 Jake Bisset Chevrolet Valleyford, WA
97 Jason Jefferson Ford Naches, WA
99 Shane Mitchell Chevrolet East Wenatchee, WA
99r Bill Royce Chevrolet Cranbrook, BC