Strong Performance In 2008 Bolsters Confidence As Bowles Prepares For NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2008) -- Jason Bowles entered the 2008 season as possibly the hottest driver in the NASCAR Camping World...
Strong Performance In 2008 Bolsters Confidence As Bowles Prepares For NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 21, 2008) -- Jason Bowles entered the 2008 season as possibly the hottest driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series West on a road course. This year, however, the 26-year-old competitor from Ontario, Calif., demonstrated what he could also accomplish on an oval track by sweeping both races on his home track of Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.) and closing out the season with a victory at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.
That success has boosted his confidence as he looks ahead to returning to Toyota Speedway for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Jan. 23-24, 2009. The prestigious post-season event is considered the 'Daytona 500 of short-track racing.'
"With our performance at Irwindale this year, it gives the whole team a lot of confidence going in there and I'd like to think that we're going to be able to back up our performance," said Bowles, who was in his second year of driving the Sunrise Ford-sponsored No. 22 Ford for car owner Bob Bruncati. "When the Showdown comes, I know everybody is going to have to up their game a little bit, because when the East guys come we have to."
Bowles joins NASCAR Camping World Series champions Matt Kobyluck (East) and Eric Holmes (West), as well as NASCAR Camping World Series East Sunoco Rookie of the Year Austin Dillon as drivers to commit to running the all-star event.
"I think we're going to be good," Bowles said. "We've got a real good package to work on from what we had at the other two races."
It was Bowles' win at Irwindale in the NASCAR Camping World Series West race July 4 that earned him a secured spot in the starting lineup for the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.
Thirteen drivers have earned a secured spot by winning a NASCAR Camping World Series event this year. In addition to Bowles, other drivers with a NASCAR Camping World Series victory in 2008 include Holmes, Jeff Barkshire, Mike David, Todd Souza, Jason Fensler, Kobyluck, Dillon, Trevor Bayne, Eddie MacDonald, Peyton Sellers, Brian Ickler and Aric Almirola.
Champions of each of NASCAR's seven developmental series also earn secured spots in the race. In addition to Holmes and Kobyluck, Philip Morris (NASCAR Whelen All-American Series), Scott Steckly (NASCAR Canadian Tire Series), Antonio Perez (NASCAR Mexico Series), Ted Christopher (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour), and Brian Loftin (NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour) also won championships.
Bowles is coming off a great season, in which he won four races and nabbed five Coors Light Pole Awards. He finished just 48 points behind Holmes for the championship and he admits that success at the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown would go a long way toward taking the sting out of missing the title.
"That would definitely help," Bowles said. "The Showdown is such a huge deal nowadays, with the TV coverage we get and the recognition we get with the East and West. It would be huge to win there."
While he admits to being disappointed, Bowles is quick to point to the positive aspects of the season, however.
"All in all, with four wins and five poles, it's not a bad year," he said.
Bowles said there are several reasons for being so successful at Toyota Speedway this year.
"We ran a different car this year and I think we just had our stuff more together," said Bowles, who led 274 of the 400 laps in the two races there. "I was more together as a driver."
He also credits the addition of champion crew chief Bill Sedgwick, who joined the team at the first race of the season.
As his team prepares for the all-star weekend, Bowles recalls his impression of last year's event as a rookie.
"I was amazed with how much more competitive it got when the East guys showed up," he said. "Last year, we didn't run well at Irwindale -- during the season or in the Showdown -- so my expectations weren't super high. But I was really impressed with the level of competition and how everybody had to up their game a little bit."
Bowles also noted the overall attraction of the all-star weekend.
"The kind of recognition and the kind of effort that NASCAR put into promoting the event and promoting the drivers was a great deal all around," he said.