Top-10 at Martinsville Punctured Late in the Race In his first outing at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Jason Bowles showed veteran prowess as he overcame several obstacles in route to a top-20 finish. In typical Martinsville fashion, bumping and...
Top-10 at Martinsville Punctured Late in the Race
In his first outing at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Jason Bowles showed veteran prowess as he overcame several obstacles in route to a top-20 finish. In typical Martinsville fashion, bumping and banging was the norm throughout the 200 lap event. Bowles, along with the No. 15 Billy Ballew Motorsports team, weren't immune to the melee. On track incidents left Bowles with damaged fenders, quarter panels and tires. Despite the carnage, the No. 15 team played a near-perfect pit strategy that had Bowles in contention to capture a top-10. But, as was the norm, a flat tire on Bowles' truck foiled the plan in the final 20 laps. Still, Bowles rallied to finish in 18th-place.
Bowles qualified his BBM Tundra in 16th-place. At the start of the event, Bowles reported that the truck was "way too tight off the corners." Nonetheless, he pedaled past three trucks before the yellow flag halted the pace on Lap 39. The majority of the field decided to pit during the caution period, but the No. 15 team elected to stay on the track. They planned on making one stop for tires and fuel, and needed to wait until Lap 50 before calling the driver down pit lane for service. As a result, Bowles moved into third-place for the restart.
The race went back to green on Lap 58. Even on older tires, Bowles held strong in the top-five and held onto fourth-place until the next yellow flag waved, Lap 58. Since the caution period fell under the team's preferred pit stop window, they called Bowles into the pits for service. The team changed all four tires, topped off the fuel cell and made a wedge adjustment to loosen up the truck. After returning to the track, Bowles ran over debris that littered the speedway. Bowles was unsure if his tires were punctured and decided to be safe instead of sorry. He returned to pit road and had the team change his left-side tires before the race went green. He rejoined the field in the 30th-place.
Bowles began blasting through the field when the race went green on Lap 61. He picked up 10 positions by Lap 90, when the next caution flag waved. Bowles remained on the track and inherited sixth-place after several trucks made pit stops.
Green flag action returned on Lap 99. Shortly after the restart, Bowles began racing with Ron Hornaday for position. The trucks made contact, which peeled back the left-front fender of Bowles' Tundra. Fortunately it was not rubbing the tire, but the damage disrupted its handling. He fell back to 16th-place before a caution flag slowed the action on Lap 148. The team called Bowles into the pits, where the team performed routine service and added Bare Bond to the injured fender. Bowles went back on the track in 20th-place.
On Lap 155, the race went green. Bowles piloted his way into the top-15 and was running lap times consistent with the leaders. He moved into 12th-place and was closing in on the top-10 when another truck slammed into his left-rear quarter panel. The incident caused Bowles' tire to blow. Luckily, a caution flag waved and allowed his team to change the tire without losing any laps, but the exchange left him in 23rd-place when he left pit road.
The race went green again on Lap 187. Bowles continued to do what he had done all race long and moved up the leader board. He climbed up five positions before running out of laps. He finished in 18th-place.
"It was definitely a top-10 truck we had today," said Bowles after the event. "We fought back all day long. It seemed like every time things were going our way, something would happen and derail us. We never gave up, though. I felt like our truck was better than our finish showed, but I'm really proud of what this team accomplished. There were several times that we could have let the race get the best of us, but we weren't about to quit.
"This was my first time working with this Billy Ballew Motorsports team. There's usually an adjustment period with new team members and it takes to build chemistry, but we really worked well together. For us to come away with a top-20, especially under these circumstances, says a lot about us."
-source: jason bowles PA