WS: Sonoma: Jason Bowles race report

Bowles and GGRT hold them and fold them in Sonoma Valley SONOMA, CA- For the entire weekend it appeared the Golden Gate Racing Team held four aces at Infineon Raceway for the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200. In the end, however, it was lady...

Bowles and GGRT hold them and fold them in Sonoma Valley

SONOMA, CA- For the entire weekend it appeared the Golden Gate Racing Team held four aces at Infineon Raceway for the Thunder Valley Casino Resort 200. In the end, however, it was lady luck who dealt a wild card against this Richard Childress Racing Development team and a weekend of success ended with an empty fuel tank just 100 feet from the finish line.

"We did what every team does on a road course, we took a gamble on fuel and we ended up being snake bit in the end," said Patti Offenbach, owner of the GGRT/RCR Thunder Valley Casino Resort #31 Chevrolet. "But we are all really proud of how this team performed over the weekend and what an exciting race they were part of so close to home."

Defending K&N Pro Series Champion Jason Bowles of Ontario returned to the Golden Gate Racing Team stable for the Infineon event. Bowles is a two a time winner of the road course located short drive from the home of this San Francisco based NASCAR team. Up until the final moments of Saturday's race, Bowles was well on his way to a top three finish if not a victory. A weekend of triumph for Bowles and this team ended in heartbreak, just feet from the finish line when he ran out of fuel while running a strong second place.

"I am so bummed to come away with the result we ended up with," said Bowles, who sat helplessly parked near the finish line as 21 cars flew past him to capture the checkered flag. "I was really happy with the way the car ran and I think we showed that we had the pace by getting the pole and leading at the beginning of the race"

On Friday afternoon, Bowles drove to the pole position of Saturday's race with a 78.127 second lap. The effort was the 10th career pole for Bowles in the NASCAR West Series and marked the first time the Golden Gate Racing Team earned the top starting spot since the days when crew chief Steve Portenga was behind the wheel at the helm of his driving career.

Leading the 37-car field to the green flag it was apparent early that Bowles and the Golden Gate Racing Team had the car to beat Saturday afternoon as he quickly muscled into the lead holding off the charges of road race veteran Boris Said to claim the point. As Bowles raced into the lead, he knew it would be short lived at the early stage of the race with the pit strategy that the team had laid on the table before the green flag even dropped.

After leading the first 16 laps of the race, Bowles was one of the first cars into the pit lane for a splash and go and returned to begin his battle back to the front of the pack. The journey was intense but Bowles made it look easy to the thousands of onlookers as he found his way back into the top three by lap 31 and moved back into the bridesmaid position to challenge Canadian entry Andrew Ranger for the lead in the closing laps.

After looking inside of Ranger on a few occasions, Bowles went into turn 11 on the white flag lap looking as if he had a little more to offer in his contention for the lead as they approached the checkered flag. When he came out the hairpin turn his car rolled to a stop as not a drop of fuel remained. Like any respective gambler, Bowles accepted the loss and paid his debt in humble fashion.

"I'm thankful for this opportunity that the Offenbach's, Richard Childress and Mike Dillion have given me," said Bowles. "They gave me a great car and we will back at Miller Motorsports Park to put it in victory circle."

Saturday's event was one of the few races on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West tour that Childress has the opportunity to spend time with the Golden Gate Racing Team since the Sprint Cup Series competes here the same weekend. Saturday's race was tough on Bowles as well as GGRT primary driver Blake Koch who led an early part of the race but was later the victim of damage that placed him 29th on the grid. Despite the hardships, Childress was pleased with the strength both cars displayed.

"I would like to thank Richard Childress and everyone who worked so hard to make this race happen" added Offenbach. "I think we gave the Thunder Valley Casino Resort some great exposure in Sonoma. We just got dealt that bad hand at the end."

-source: jason bowles PR

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Boris Said , Steve Portenga , Andrew Ranger , Jason Bowles , Blake Koch
Teams Richard Childress Racing