Kyle Fowler Finishes 15th In His ARCA Racing Series Debut at Toledo Speedway Toledo, Ohio (May 23, 2010) - On a beautiful May afternoon, fans lined up on the frontstretch of Toledo Speedway for an autograph session put on by the ARCA Racing...
Kyle Fowler Finishes 15th In His ARCA Racing Series Debut at Toledo Speedway
Toledo, Ohio (May 23, 2010) - On a beautiful May afternoon, fans lined up on the frontstretch of Toledo Speedway for an autograph session put on by the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards.
"Today is my first ARCA Racing Series race," exclaimed the fan.
"Mine too," said Kyle Fowler, a 17-year-old driver from Georgia.
Like the fan, Fowler received his first taste of the ARCA Racing Series Sunday when the series took to Toledo Speedway for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care. The 200-lap, 100-mile event provided Fowler with many lessons learned and good track time for the young driver.
The weekend began with a 1.5-hour practice Saturday, and Fowler had the opportunity to get in 45 laps on an unseen track in a car he has never driven. He posted the 10th-quickest time the day with a time of 16.719 seconds (107.662 mph).
"We got here, and the car wasn't exactly how we liked it," explained Fowler. "We made some changes, which definitely helped the car. I got more and more comfortable as time went on. I've never been here before, so I was happy with our results on the first try."
Fowler's first-ever qualifying attempt came Saturday afternoon, where he laid down a lap of 16.359 seconds (110.031 mph), landing him in the 13th position.
"In qualifying, the car was just a little bit free," said Fowler. "I over-drove it a bit, but I'm still learning these cars. I've only had about 47 laps in these cars."
After a good night's rest and interaction with fans at the autograph session, Fowler was ready to compete in his first ARCA Racing Series event. In front of the packed grandstands at Toledo Speedway, Fowler began 13th, as the green flag waved.
The event began without a hitch, as Eddie Sharp guided Fowler around the track from the spotter's stand. "Hit your marks. You are doing a great job," radioed the spotter/team owner to the young driver.
Fowler continued to make his way around the track, moving up to the 11th position by lap 63. On lap 83, the No. 6 got caught up in lapped traffic, and suffered damage from contact from the scuffle.
"I was trying to get by a lap car, and I got a good run up beside him on the outside," said Fowler. "We all got together halfway down the backstretch and caused damage to the car, which was basically the start of all of our struggles for the day. It was definitely something I wish we could have avoided, but there really wasn't anywhere for us to go."
The yellow flag waved again on lap 98, when a five-car accident caused the field to pause for the eventual red flag. Although stopped on the track, the problems did not pause for Fowler.
"Another issue began on the next caution, right after our incident on the backstretch," stated Fowler. "The battery became disconnected, the car died, and I had to come back in and make a pit stop for that. That's what got us behind on laps. We never got back to where we were truly capable of running. "
The cars started moving again on lap 101, but Fowler had to be pushed back to the pits because of the battery problem. The No. 6 team worked with persistence to get Fowler back on the track on lap 104.
Although he was two laps down, Fowler continued to push through the field in the 18th position. "One thing I learned today was definitely perseverance," Fowler reflected. "It was great to have Eddie on the spotter stand for me, because he has a ton of experience and just encouraged me to just be there till the end.
As the laps ticked by, Fowler was able to move his way into the 15th position, racing behind Craig Goess, his ESR teammate. Both drivers were two laps down but showed promise and perseverance until the very end. Fowler crossed the finish line 15th.
"I'm so thankful to be able to compete in the ARCA Racing Series," stated Fowler. "I'm learning right now, but I hope to be able to contend in the future. I had a great time today."
Chris Buescher grabbed his first-ever ARCA Racing Series win, as he brought the field victory after leading from the pole.
Fowler's next scheduled ARCA race is July 10 at Iowa Speedway for the Prairie Meadows 200.