BAYTOWN, Texas - After looking unstoppable this past weekend, defending NHRA Division 5 Champion Bruce Bowler lost his second round matchup with eventual runner up Joe Fuentes during the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston...
BAYTOWN, Texas - After looking unstoppable this past weekend, defending NHRA Division 5 Champion Bruce Bowler lost his second round matchup with eventual runner up Joe Fuentes during the O'Reilly Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park.
Bowler, from Denver, Colo., lead most of the event, qualifying No. 1 with a career best elapsed time of 5.330 seconds at 270.21 mph. In round one, he put away fellow Division 5 racer Randy Meyer with an impressive 5.344 at 259.46 mph Saturday afternoon. The next day, different weather and track conditions lead to Bowler's demise, as he ran into heavy tireshake and was forced to pedal, running only a 5.515 at 261.47 mph to Fuentes' 5.446 at 255.92 mph. Even with the loss, Bowler feels the weekend was a big step in the right direction.
"We're real encouraged about what happened over the course of the weekend," said Bowler. "We've shown what the car's potential is. It's the beginning of the year, and we're trying to get used to the national event scene. I think we are making some progress. We're real happy with the performance of the car."
With the second round loss behind them, Bowler and crew feel they have a good idea of what caused the car to go into tireshake in round two.
"We have a pretty good theory of what happened," Bowler commented. "From the computer data, we have a pretty good idea of what happened. We've also came up with a possible solution to the problem. We'll just have to find out next time."
"The one thing about drag racing is there is about a million ways to lose," laughed Bowler. "We're on about 247,321."
After this weekend's outing, Bowler feels confident that his Phoenix Custom Apparel A/Fuel Dragster is on the right track for their next race, the Division 5 opener at Heartland Park, in Topeka, Kan., May 4-6. Bowler won this event last year on his way to the Division 5 Championship.
"Topeka has been a good track for us in the past," Bowler stated. "I don't think Topeka quite has the bite Houston has, and it has a little more altitude than Houston too. I'm not going to go there expecting to run the same numbers we ran in Houston, but with these A/Fuel cars, you really never know. If the air and track conditions are good, who knows what she could run out there."
Television coverage of the O'Reilly Nationals featuring the Federal Mogul classes will air on ESPN2 from 1-2 p.m. (EST), Wednesday, April 4.