Bowler looks to get back on track in Phoenix

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Defending NHRA Division 5 Federal Mogul Dragster Champion Bruce Bowler will be returning to the place where he clinched the Division 5 Championship last year, Firebird Raceway, just outside of Phoenix for this weekend's ...

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Defending NHRA Division 5 Federal Mogul Dragster Champion Bruce Bowler will be returning to the place where he clinched the Division 5 Championship last year, Firebird Raceway, just outside of Phoenix for this weekend's Checker's-Schuck's-Kraegen Nationals. Bowler also posted his career best elapsed time and mph at this event last year with a 5.33 at 266 mph.

Bowler, who owns Phoenix Custom Apparel in Denver, qualified No. 4 two weeks ago at the AutoZone Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., with a great 5.399 at 265.38 mph, only to lose in the first round after dropping cylinders. Bowler feels that going back to a track he has won at before will give him a better shot at victory this weekend.

"In Pomona, we got the first race of the year out of the road," laughed Bowler. "Hopefully we got rid of the jitters that go along with that. What we did find out there, was that the car is going to work really well. We're going to Phoenix with some pretty high optimism in the team, so we just can't wait to get to the track and make some runs. We've enjoyed some good success in Phoenix, and we know the track really well. We're just going to try to pick up where we left off last time we were there."

Bowler feels given what he learned over the offseason and in Pomona, that he could possibly better the 5.33 he ran here last year, and maybe even dip into the 5.20's.

"At the end of last year, when we were there for the points race [Division 7 FMDRS] we were still having a problem torching heads," stated Bowler. "On several of the runs we had going, at half track, we were really blistering the track until the motor let loose. We feel at this point in time that we have found the problem and cured it. If we can find some of the performance we had last year without having the heads go off the block, we should be able to do a lot better than what we've done in the past. That's what we're looking to do in Phoenix, put all that horsepower back in the motor and not have to worry about lifting heads."

"David Baca's 5.22 in Pomona convinced us that we are on the right track," Bowler continued. "It showed us that it can be done, it doesn't change what we plan to do, it just encourages us that what we're focusing on has the potential we thought it had."

Qualifying begins on Friday for the Federal Mogul Dragsters, with two sessions at 9:30 a.m. and noon. Stay tuned to SummitRacing.com's Drag Race Central for round by round updates of the action from Phoenix.

-Will Hanna

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Series NHRA
Drivers David Baca