Pony feels that Shepard’s greatest advantage is his love of life, and he uses this to his gang’s advantage.
Tim Shepard’s gang is one of the “downtown outfits,” according to Ponyboy (Ch. 1). They are a wild gang, and a sometime rival and sometime ally of Pony’s greaser gang. Although the gangs get into arguments, they are supportive of each other.
For example, it seems that Dally was spotted slashing Tim Shepard’s tires, and Tim wanted to fight. However, it would be a fair fight, as long as Dally did not pull a knife on Tim. Slashed tires “ain’t no joke” because they cost money, so Shepard has a right to be angry, but Pony explains to Cherry that tires or no tires, Shepard will be there for Dally.
Our one rule, besides Stick together, is Don't get caught. He might get beat up, he might not. Either way there's not going to be any blood feud between our outfit and Shepard's. If we needed them tomorrow they'd show. (Ch. 2)
Pony comments that Tim Shepard actually enjoys life, whereas Dally is just hardened to it. Pony is closer to Dally, and seems in awe of Shepard. He knows that Dally and Tim Shepard are close.
Only last week Tim Shepard had cracked three of Dally's ribs. But Dally and Tim Shepard had always been buddies; no matter how they fought, they were two of a kind, and they knew it. (Ch. 8)
He seems to have more respect and admiration for Shepard and more or less fear and familiarity with Dally. Pony knows that the two groups working together are strong, because they support one another.
The Socs have an advantage over the greasers in every respect. The one advantage the greasers have is their easygoing nature. Tim Shepard and Dally’s relationship, and the closeness of their gang, helps them support one another in their never-ending battle against the Socs.