Updated: Thursday, 13 May 2010, 11:22 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 05 May 2010, 8:59 PM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - IndyCar driver Jay Howard was a rookie driving for Marty Roth when he got five races under his belt in 2008, but after weeklong rains at the Speedway kept him from getting valuable seat time in the month of May, Roth pulled the plug and gave Howard's 500 ride to veteran John Andretti.
The young Brit said the experience made him even hungrier.
"After 2008, when I thought I was going to run the Indy 500 and I was stripped of that, this is extra special for me and I'm chomping at the bit to get going," he said.
"It's really a tough place for a rookie right now, you're faced with all of this rain, if it wasn't so wet, it would be a different story," Roth said in defending his decision.
Said Howard, "It was tough to say the least. You have this big build-up, something you've been working for your whole career, started when I was seven years old, and you build up and up and suddenly it's gone. I was gutted and it was painful watching the race that year."
It wasn't until three seasons later his perseverance and patience finally paid off, long enough for most to find a new way of life. Late last year, Howard's driving career got a new lease on life. Sarah Fisher signed him to drive her second car, so a dream that came so close to realization in 2008 will finally come true.
Last week in Kansas, Howard finally got back behind the wheel in an IndyCar race, years that have taught him some very tough life lessons.
"I got down a little bit, but I kind of snapped out of it, I was determined to get back in, even if it kills me. It's good to see that hard work does pay off, I'm happy as can be’" said Howard.
He'll be easy to spot at Indy. Howard will be the driver with the biggest grin in Gasoline Alley.