ROOKIE JASON BOWLES CAPTURES FIRST CAREER WIN IN INAUGURAL NASCAR VISIT TO MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK TOOELE, Utah (July 14, 2007) - Two rookies stole the show at Miller Motorsports Park, with Jason Bowles scoring his first career win in the Big...
ROOKIE JASON BOWLES CAPTURES FIRST CAREER WIN IN INAUGURAL NASCAR VISIT TO MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
TOOELE, Utah (July 14, 2007) - Two rookies stole the show at Miller Motorsports Park, with Jason Bowles scoring his first career win in the Big O Tires 150 as the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series made its inaugural visit to the state-of-the-art road course on Saturday.
Bowles won the 41-lap event by 3.510 seconds over fellow rookie Alex Haase, who registered his best career finish.
Bowles, who started third in his Sunrise Ford/Turbo Torq Ford, raced into the lead on lap 30.
"I don't know that I expected to win my first race in my rookie year," said the driver from Ontario, Calif. "When we unloaded on Friday, the car was really good right out of the trailer. We just all kind of had a feeling that it might be our weekend."
With his win, Bowles secured a spot in this year's NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. The prestigious post-season event will be held at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway on Oct. 19-20.
Series veteran Mike David, who competed in his first road course race just over a year ago, demonstrated how quickly he has adapted to turning left and right. He won the Bud Pole Award in qualifying, with a lap around the 3.06-mile circuit at 93.225 mph in his Bennett Lane Winery Ford, and paced the field through the first 15 laps.
When David opted to pit during the third of four cautions, Bowles inherited the top spot. He relinquished the point a lap later, however, to make a pit stop. Long-time series veteran Scott Gaylord, who was making a return to the series after an eight-race absence, ran out front until Eric Hardin slipped by on lap 27. As the field cycled through pit stops, Bowles progressed back to the front. He closed in on Hardin and charged by him on lap 30 as they headed into a series of turns known as the attitudes.
Brian Ickler, who had won the last two West Series races, started the race at the back of the pack after his brakes failed in his qualifying run. Pit strategy aided his charge to the front, as he closed in on the lead late in the event. Ickler moved into second with six laps to go and ran 1 1/2 seconds faster on lap 35. Bowles responded with the fastest lap of the race and a lap later Ickler slid off the course and lost several spots. He wound up sixth.
"My crew chief said he was about a second a lap faster, so he said see you if you can pick it up a little bit," Bowles said. "And I did."
The win, at an average speed of 70.384 mph, netted Bowles $14,388 in prize money and posted awards. Haase charged forward in the closing laps. The 17-year-old from Las Vegas, Nev., made it to the runner-up spot in his Motorway of El Paso/Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet to secure his career-best finish. David finished third, his sixth podium finish in 10 races, to extend his lead in the championship standings. Johnny Borneman took the fourth spot, while Gaylord came home fifth. Finishing out the top 10 were Ickler, Eric Richardson, Hardin, Rick Wall and Jim Inglebright.
David leads the series standings by 114 markers, with 1,548 points. Borneman is second with 1,434. Mike Duncan, who encountered mechanical trouble and finished 14th, slipped to third with 1,418 points. Bowles is fourth with 1,406 and Ickler is fifth with 1,358. Completing the top 10 are Hardin at 1,352, Brett Thompson at 1,319, Justin Lofton at 1,312, Haase at 1,270 and Richardson at 1,217.
With his win, Bowles extended his lead in this year's challenge for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. He leads with 82 points, followed by Richardson and Haase with 65 each, Ryan Foster with 57, Stan Silva Jr. with 42, Moses Smith with 41, Mike Gallegos with 30 and Wall with 29. Others in the rookie program include David Mayhew, Jamie Dick, Lloyd Mack, Kevin O'Connell, Brandon Riehl, Thomas Martin and Garland Self.
The next event on the West Series schedule is at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash., on Aug. 4.