Dreams Do Come True; Phil Bozell Wins In Milwaukee Young Driver Dominates Late Stages of Governor's Cup 200 for First Career ARCA Win INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 28, 2006) -- The Bozell name is one that is synonymous with short track racing ...
Dreams Do Come True; Phil Bozell Wins In Milwaukee
Young Driver Dominates Late Stages of Governor's Cup 200 for First Career ARCA Win
INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 28, 2006) -- The Bozell name is one that is synonymous with short track racing success in the Great Lakes region. Andy and Jeff Bozell have been dominating the Super Late Model ranks in Michigan and beyond, with numerous track and big race titles to each of their credit. Young Phil Bozell, Andy's 21-year-old son, has made a name for himself in recent years, following in his dad's and uncle's footsteps in the Super Late Models, taking many victories.
That success led the young Bozell to chase his racing dreams all the way from his home in Portage, Michigan, to Indianapolis, Indiana, earlier this year. Bozell went to work for the ARCA RE/MAX Series team Hagans Racing that was coming off a stellar year in which Development Driver Joey Miller took the HR team to three victories and second-place in ARCA points at the end of 2005. Bozell turned wrenches day in and day out in the shop with the hopes of getting into the seat of the Eagle Creek Aviation #9 Dodge fielded by Hagans Racing in 2006. Since the start of the season, Bozell has had a few starts, racing well, but he and the team were never able to put forth a winning effort.
That all changed on Sunday, however. Bozell dominated the Governor's Cup 200 at The Milwaukee Mile in front of a packed grandstand full of rabid Wisconsin racing fans. In just his fifth start of the season, Bozell took the lead on lap 160 and cruised to a decisive victory -- one that he and the rest of the Bozell family will not soon forget.
"This is like a dream come true," said Bozell after the race. "I have a picture of my dad from 1992 here with the Governor's Cup logo on the top when he was running the ARTGO Super Late Models here. I got the same picture taken of me with the #9 car yesterday. "I have that picture of my dad hanging on my wall and now I'm going to put my picture next to it. All of the names that came out of this place, like Kulwicki, Shear, Kenseth and all the rest that came out of Wisconsin, it's unbelievable. You know you've done something when you win here."
Bozell and Hagans Racing showed that they had a car that was plenty capable of winning Sunday's Governor's Cup 200 at Milwaukee from the time the #9 car was unloaded from the trailer for Saturday's practice session. Bozell set quick laps in practice and backed them up with an outside-pole qualifying effort in Pork Pole Qualifying later Saturday afternoon. From the drop of the green flag, Bozell was in contention for the win. He raced inside the top-five for much of the race, only falling back on pit stop sequences. When it was time to go, however, Bozell went and never looked back.
"It was on all day; we just raced a smart race. Justin Allgaier checked out at the start and I could see him getting sideways and more sideways, burning his stuff up. I knew if I just kept being smooth and kept hitting my marks every lap, they'd come back to me as soon as their stuff burned up.
"I knew we had a good car for the long runs and that's when Bobby (Blount, crew chief) made the call to stay out there when those guys came in late in the race. We already pitted twice. We were only allowed 10 tires for the race so those guys could only put two tires on, and I knew that they couldn't run with us on only two tires. I stayed out there and kept staying smooth and hitting my marks."
Bozell checked out from the rest of the field, but lapped traffic made him earn the victory that he seemingly was walking away with. In fact, it was a lapped car that helped Bozell gauge his speed on the racetrack to make sure that he had enough speed left for the final sprint to the finish.
"When Blake Bjorklund passed me, I used him as a rabbit and chased him. I used him as a judge to make sure I wasn't running too fast or too slow. I just ran with him. He was a couple laps down and he was courteous to let us go, so I just used him as a rabbit as I went along."
As Bozell pulled away from the second-place machine of Tim Schendel in the closing laps, Bozell's father Andy was not going to let his son expect the win until the checkered flag flew.
"My dad kept coming on the radio saying, 'dig, dig, dig.' I thought that meant Schendel was coming closer. I kept looking in the mirror and I couldn't see him, so I knew I was pulling away. I kept hitting my marks and stayed smooth, but you never know you've won until you've crossed the checkered flag. We didn't count our chickens before they hatched, and luckily they hatched."
The win was by far Bozell's biggest of his still-young career, and if he has any say in the matter, there will be more big wins to come.
"We know what team we drive for. Joey Miller won some races in this Hagans Racing car last year and it's some great equipment. We've had good runs so far this year, but we've just had some bad luck. It just means a lot to prove to myself and to everyone else that I can run well and I can win in this series."