BOWLES GAINS WIN ON OVAL AT HOME TRACK IN FOURTH OF JULY EVENT IRWINDALE, Calif. (July 4, 2008) - Since joining the NASCAR Camping World Series West last year, Jason Bowles established himself as a dominant figure in road course events. Now...
BOWLES GAINS WIN ON OVAL AT HOME TRACK IN FOURTH OF JULY EVENT
IRWINDALE, Calif. (July 4, 2008) - Since joining the NASCAR Camping World Series West last year, Jason Bowles established himself as a dominant figure in road course events. Now he has demonstrated his ability on an oval, winning the California Highway Patrol 200 on the half-mile track at Toyota Speedway at Iwindale (Calif.).
The race was part of a special Fourth of July event before a packed house at the Southern California facility that featured an exciting driving exhibition by members of the California Highway Patrol as part of the pre-race festivities, with the night being capped off later with a spectacular fireworks show.
"It was nice to win on an oval," Bowles said. "I've never won here at Irwindale, even with it being my home track. I was really worried about coming here this week. I thought we were going to struggle and we would have to do all we could to salvage some decent points."
As it turned out, Bowles was fast enough to garner the Coors Light Pole Award, his second of the season - topping a field of 31 cars with a qualifying lap of 96.634 mph in the Bob Bruncati-owned No. 22 Sunrise Ford Ford.
Although he led the initial laps, David Mayhew charged from his starting spot on the outside of the front row to take the lead on lap 3. He appeared to have the car to beat, maintaining the top spot through the midway break of the race.
But Bowles had other plans. "We made a few changes at the break," said the 25-year-old driver from nearby Ontario. "The thing was just a rocket, especially on long runs. I was just trying to take it easy with lapped traffic and just be careful not to get involved in anything. I knew if we could go green for a couple of laps, I was going to be good."
"Once we started going, about 20 laps after the break, they were holding me up. I knew I had to go, because there was going to be guys coming from behind if I didn't go now. I saw an opportunity to get him stuck behind some lapped traffic. It didn't work the first time, but the second time it did and I was able to get by and never saw him again. "
Bowles gained the lead after a fierce four-way battle in traffic on lap 129. Although he pulled away slightly, that margin was erased by a couple of late-race cautions. Bowles was able to hold off all challengers, however, winning by a margin of .994 seconds. The victory, the fourth of his career, adds to his win two weeks before on a road course and his two road course wins as a rookie a year ago. He netted $7,500 in prizes and posted awards.
Eric Holmes made a late-race charge to take the second spot in the No. 20 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota. With his runner-up finish - the Escalon, Calif., driver opened up a slight lead in the championship standings. Johnny Borneman of Ramona, Calif., had a season-high third-place finish in the No. 8 Twisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford. Rookie Jeff Barkshire of Auburn, Wash., came home fourth in the Centennial Batteries/SPE Dodge. Veteran Jim Inglebright of Fairfield, Calif., registered his fourth top-five finish in seven races, by taking fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Austin Cameron, who made his 100th series start; Mike Gallegos; Mayhew; Moses Smith and Terry Henry.
The race featured two lead changes among two drivers. The average speed of the event was 73.424 mph - slowed by five cautions for 24 laps. One of those cautions, and a subsequent red flag, was for a nine-car pileup in Turn 3. Among those eliminated in the incident were top-10 runners Jason Patison and Jeff Jefferson. Defending series champion Mike David, whose car suffered some damage in the incident, was able to continue on to an 11th-place finish.
Holmes now holds a 42-point lead over David in the championship standings - 1,141 to 1,099. Bowles is close behind with 1,090. Fourth in the standings is Barkshire with 1,027, while Cameron remains fifth with 1,024. Completing the top 10 are Inglebright at 1,019, Smith at 933, Gallegos at 923, Borneman at 858 and Jamie Dick at 845.
Barkshire continues to lead the challenge for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. He has 65 points, followed by Jim Warn with 58. Next on the list are Jason Patison and Jamie Dick, each with 55. Trailing them are Wes Banks with 32, Lloyd Mack with 22 and Ryan Philpott with 15.
The next event on the schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Series West is the Toyota Bi-Mart Firecracker 150 presented by NAPA at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Ore., on July 11.