POMONA, Calif. - Defending Division 5 Federal Mogul Dragster Champion Bruce Bowler lost to Mike Strasburg in the first round of this past weekend's AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. Bowler's injected nitro entry fell off of it's ...
POMONA, Calif. - Defending Division 5 Federal Mogul Dragster Champion Bruce Bowler lost to Mike Strasburg in the first round of this past weekend's AutoZone Winternationals at Pomona Raceway. Bowler's injected nitro entry fell off of it's earlier 5.3 second performances in the weekend to a 5.546 elapsed time at 260.11 mph that could not catch Strasburg's holeshot-aided 5.562 at 251.06 mph.
Bowler, who owns Phoenix Custom Apparel out of Denver, qualified No. 4 with a near career best 5.399 at 265.38 mph, and ran two more 5.41's in qualifying before losing to Strasburg in round one.
"The weekend was a good one for us," said Bowler. "We didn't expect to unload off the trailer and run a 5.39 at 265. That was a pleasant surprise since we had made several changes to the motor over the winter. We're disappointed that we didn't run any faster and especially that we lost in the first round. It looked like I was a little slow on the tree after being out of the car for several months. The car went a little south as well; we dropped three cylinders during the run, and that doesn't help you out any."
"Overall, the team is pretty excited about the way the car is performing, and the potential is there to run better."
The next stop for the Phoenix Motorsports team will be the Checker's-Schuck's-Kraegen Nationals, February 15-18, at Firebird Raceway just outside of Phoenix. Last year during this race, Bowler recorded his career best e.t. and mph with a 5.33 at 266 mph blast that propelled him to a semifinal finish. Later on that year, Bowler finished a story book year by winning the last Division 7 race there; clinching the Division 5 Championship for him. With his history of successes at Firebird, Bowler looks forward to returning.
"Phoenix is a track that we're used to," stated Bowler. "We're not used to Pomona, I have to admit. We won the race there at the end of the year, and I think that effects our whole mental state as we go into the race, which is quite a bit better than when we went into Pomona. So, coupled with what we know the car can do, along with getting more used to national event settings, our hopes are high again. Your hopes are always high for the next event. If they are not, you wouldn't be a drag racer."
"I don't have any question that the 5.33 at 266 mph is a reachable number for us," continued Bowler. "Of course, weather has a huge role in how we run, but the weather was pretty hot this weekend, and Baca still ran that 5.22, so we know the car can still make some power. There is no question in my mind that we can better that number this year. Baca is going to be in Phoenix, and so will we, so we're looking forward to slugging it out with him."