Bowsher Duplicates Season's Best Finish
September 19, 2005 -- Springfield, OH -- Todd Bowsher, driver of the Safe Auto Insurance Ford, qualified 24th and finished 5th Saturday in the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic by Advance Auto Parts at the .555-mile Salem Speedway.
With high expectations coming into the final short track race of the ARCA RE/MAX series 2005 season, the Jack Bowsher & Associates Motorsports team did not disappoint themselves or their fans. When practice began Todd quickly posted the 8th quickest speed. By the end of practice he was 14th on the speed chart. As Bowsher was making a simulated qualifying run, he spun off of turn 2, causing major radiator and front end damage when he made contact with the inside backstretch wall. After 2 ½ hours of endless efforts from the crew, the #21 was ready to qualify, with only minutes to spare before the car was to take to the track. Under ARCA rules, a car gets only one qualifying lap if it must go to the back of the line for qualifying. Despite this, Bowsher posted the 24th fastest speed. After qualifying Bowsher said, "I definitely put myself and my crew behind the 8 ball with the damage we sustained in the practice spin. The front end damage was pretty extensive, but my crew did a great job to get everything ready to qualify."
Since practice and qualifying had taken place in the heat of the day and the race began after dark, the handling on the #21 had changed when the race began. Soon after the start of the race, Bowsher asked for some minor adjustments. On lap 34 of the scheduled 200 lap event, he brought the car in for right tires, fuel and a handling adjustment. As Bowsher was coming off of turn 2 on lap 56, he was hit from behind and spun. On lap 60, the crew changed left side tires and added fuel, returning Bowsher to the track in 16th position, which was near the back of the lead lap cars. The changes made on the pit stops helped Bowsher move to the 11th position before the next caution on lap 92 when the crew once again went to work changing four tires and adding fuel.
As the last one hundred laps began, Bowsher started his climb toward the front. By lap 128 he was 10th, lap 157 he was 7th and by lap 163 he was 5th. And, as has happened too many times this season for the Bowsher team, lady luck disappeared. Bowsher radioed his crew that he had a flat tire from contact with another race car. The crew went to work changing the left rear tire. At this point, the entire team could see another chance at a good finish going out the window. But Bowsher was not going to let this one get away. With 32 scheduled laps remaining, Bowsher "got up on the wheel" and drove the #21 to a 5th place finish. With 5 laps to go the caution flag flew with Bowsher in the 6th spot. When the green flag flew for the green/white/checker, Bowsher restarted with his eyes set on the 5th spot. And he did not disappoint. On the restart, as the car in front of him did not come up to speed as fast as Bowsher, he passed the #35 car of David Odell. But the race was not over on lap 200, as the caution flag flew on that lap for a late race spin. When the green flag finally fell on lap 212 for the green/white and checker flap, Bowsher was able to maintain the 5th spot.
After the race an excited Bowsher said, "The crew deserves this one. Not only did they work extremely hard here at Salem today, but all year long. This (the celebration on the front stretch for the top five finisher) makes it all worth it for me and for them. We would have liked to have had about 20 more laps and I think we could have had a 3rd place finish. But after our struggles today we are pleased to put the Safe Auto Insurance Ford in 5th. We had a good points day and equaled our best finish of the season, which was also a fifth here at Salem."
Joey Miller, Ken Weaver, Michael Simko, Billy Venturini and Todd Bowsher were the top five finishers. Todd remains in 7th in the year long series points battle, only 65 points behind 6th.
The last race of the season is Saturday, October 1, at the 2.66 mile Talladega Superspeedway for the Food World 300. The 300 mile race will begin at 2:05 EST. It will be carried on same day tape delay at 9:30 pm EST by SPEED Channel.
-Jack Bowsher & Associates Motorsports