Former ARCA National Champion Has Huge Impact On Racing
Jack Bowsher, whose 58-year racing career included 10 national championships as a driver and team owner, died in Springfield, Ohio Saturday, April 8. He was 75.
Born in Harmony, Ohio on October 2, 1930, Bowsher was introduced to racing early on where he would gain an addiction to motorsports he would never shake.
Throughout a racing career that reached into seven decades, Bowsher’s tenure mixed in some of the most famous names in racing, including AJ Foyt, David Pearson, Parnelli Jones and Mario Andretti, all of whom raced for Bowsher with notable success. In addition, four sons would race under his regime through a mix of ARCA and USAC stock car competition.
Bowsher earned 75 career national championship-driving victories in ARCA and USAC stock car competition, three ARCA national driving titles, six ARCA national car owner titles and one USAC national car owner title.
Bowsher, who always donned the #21, also drove for the Ford Motor Company beginning in 1966 through the
renowned Holman-Moody team where he would gain national prominence with the likes of Foyt, Andretti, Al and Bobby Unser.
Bowsher, the driver, earned three consecutive ARCA national driving titles in 1963, 1964 and 1965 when he amassed a record 54 series victories in three seasons, still third on the all-time win list. In 1964, Bowsher won 16 races in 35 attempts including a qualifying race at Daytona Int’l Speedway; and in 1965, Bowsher’s 25 wins culminated with his third consecutive ARCA national championship. Bowsher also won the Daytona ARCA 250 in 1966. Bowsher also won 21 USAC stock races during his driving career and finished second in national championship driver points in 1971.
Bowsher, the owner, won six ARCA national car owner titles, three with himself at the helm, and the others with his son Bobby driving. In addition, Foyt drove for Bowsher in four USAC stock car seasons clinching the national championship in 1968. Bowsher and Foyt were also the first to test stock cars at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the late 60s conducting tire tests there for Goodyear. In addition, Bowsher’s Ford won the stock car class at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1976 with his sons Gary and Jim sharing the driving duties with NASCAR legend David Pearson and son Larry Pearson. Jim and Gary also drove for Jack in USAC stock car competition, with Gary winning at Texas World Speedway in 1978.
Bowsher, the innovator, built the first down-tube open-wheel modified racecar, which became prevalent in open-wheel divisions throughout America today.
In 1988, Bowsher returned to his ARCA roots with son Bobby as driver. The Bowsher duo produced 17 ARCA national victories en route to national titles in 1992 and 1994.
In 1989, a month shy of his 59th birthday, Bowsher, who had not driven in a decade, reluctantly stepped out of retirement subbing for defending ARCA champion Tracy Leslie on the Springfield mile-dirt where he won the pole and finished 10th in the race on the lead lap. Leslie and
Jack Bowsher was one of the pioneers of the sport.
Todd is carrying on the Bowsher name in ARCA.
ARCA veteran Bob Strait both won ARCA races in Jack Bowsher prepared Fords.
Bowsher’s son Todd had been his primary and most recent driver since 2001 procuring their best points finish of sixth that same year. The newest father/son duo also finished seventh in points in 2005, ninth in points in 2004 and 10th in points in 2003. Todd most recently finished 20th in the 2006 Daytona ARCA 200 in their 130th career start together.
He is survived by wife Julie Bowsher, sons Jack Bowsher Jr., Gary Bowsher, Jim Bowsher, Bobby Bowsher and Todd Bowsher, and daughter Jodie Bowsher.
JACK BOWSHER FUNERAL ARRANGEMENTS
As per Jack's wishes, there will be no funeral home viewing. Graveside Services open to the public will be Tuesday April 11 at 1:00pm at Fletcher Chapel Cemetery, 5920 Fletcher Pike, Harmony Township, Springfield, Ohio 45505
There will be a memorial gathering open for family and friends immediately following the graveside service from 3:00pm to 7:00pm at: VFW Post 8673, 2825 East Leffel Lane, Springfield, Ohio 45505
In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Jack's name to: