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Howard said he first became interested in NASCAR while living next door to “huge NASCAR fans” in his hometown of Ogdensburg, N.Y.

“They had all the flags, all the bells and whistles, and they’d go to a lot of different tracks,” he recalled. “When we were running around in the neighborhood on Sundays, we’d pop through the house. They’d always have the race on. Growing up, my favorite was probably Ricky Rudd.”

Howard was asked which would be tougher _ playing goalie in a playoff game or driving a racecar in excess of 200 mph on a hot day?

“I’m going to have to say being in one of these cars,” Howard said. “I get scared to death when I get my vehicle up over 80.”