Phoenix II: Jason Bowles race report

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT CUT SHORT FOR JASON BOWLES AT PHOENIX Avondale, AZ (11-14-09) -- Jason Bowles, the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series West champion showed signs of a promising performance during the Able Body Labor 200 but was ...

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES DEBUT CUT SHORT FOR JASON BOWLES AT PHOENIX

Avondale, AZ (11-14-09) -- Jason Bowles, the 2009 NASCAR Camping World Series West champion showed signs of a promising performance during the Able Body Labor 200 but was sidelined just prior to the half-way point when his No. 61 Specialty Racing Ford suffered heavy damage in an incident during his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.

Although Bowles was making his NNS debut at PIR, the 27-year-old champion is no stranger to the 1-mile tri-oval. Bowles, who earned one win and led 86 laps at Phoenix this spring, went into the weekend hoping to have a solid finish in the 200-lap event. While the Ontario, CA native's 31st-place finish and DNF was not what he was looking for, he didn't leave Phoenix empty handed.

"I think I learned a lot for sure," said Jason. "We did a good job moving up through the field and were probably going to end up with a top-20 finish, which was my goal for the day."

During Friday afternoon's two practice sessions the No.61 team worked primarily on race runs to familiarize Bowles with the power of a NASCAR Nationwide Series stock car and made a few mock qualifying runs at the end of the second practice to get the Specialty Racing Ford ready for qualifying.

Bowles toured the 1-mile raceway Saturday morning in 27.808 seconds (129.459 mph) earning the team a 33rd-place starting position for Saturday afternoon's main event.

The former karting and junior formula car standout wasted no time making a charge to the front of the 43-car field and was battling for a spot inside the top-25 in the opening laps. Although Bowles was fighting a tight handling race car he had broken into the top-20 when the afternoon's second caution flag was displayed at lap 79.

The Specialty Racing crew brought the No. 61 machine down pit road for four Goodyear tires, Sunoco fuel and an air pressure and chassis adjustment in an attempt to "free up" the handling on the machine. When racing resumed on lap 83, Bowles was scored in the 19th position.

Bowles, running 17th, was en route to the top-15 for the first time in his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut when Paul Menard lost control of his No. 98 Menards Ford out of turn-4, collecting two other machines including the No. 61. With terminal damage to the front end a tow truck would haul the silver Ford back to the garage and the team would be credited with a 31st-place finish.

"I'm not really sure what happened to Paul," said Bowles. "He lost it up in front of me and with all the smoke I couldn't tell where he was. When I got through the smoke he was stopped right in front of me. Unfortunately it was just one of those deals where 50 percent of the time you are going to make the right decision and I just got it wrong this time."

At this time, Bowles is uncertain of his future plans but hopes to stay within NASCAR's top-ranked series.

"I am working hard to put something together for next week to run Homestead as well as working on things for next season," continued Bowles. "As for 2010, hopefully I will be able to put together a deal to run in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series or the Nationwide Series, we will just have to see how things go next week and go from there."

-credit: rabr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Paul Menard , Jason Bowles