Bowles Becomes Another Rookie Winner in West Series
First Trip to Miller Road Course Works Well For Newbies
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, raced into the lead on lap 30.
“I don’t know that I expected to win my first race in my rookie year,” Bowles said. “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.
Brian Ickler, who had won the last two West Series races, 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.”
Series veteran Mike David finished third, his sixth podium finish in 10 races, to extend his lead in the championship standings.
Completing the top five were Johnny Borneman and long-time series veteran Scott Gaylord, who led 10 laps midway through the race in his return to the series after an eight-race absence.
Jason Bowles enjoys victory number one in the West Series. (NASCAR / Denny Strimple Photos)
Two rookies stole the show at Miller Motorsports Park with Jason Bowles scoring his first career win as the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series made its inaugural visit to the state-of-the-art road course on Saturday.
David leads the series standings with 1,548 points, followed by Borneman with 1,434. Mike Duncan, who encountered mechanical trouble and finished 14th, slipped to third in the standings with 1,418 points.
POST-RACE NOTES – MILLER MOTORSPORTS PARK
Leading rookie breaks through with win … Jason Bowles (No. 22 Sunrise Ford/Turbo Torq Ford) scored his first career victory in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series in only his 10th start – winning the Big O Tires 150 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, on July 14. The 24-year-old driver from Ontario, Calif., had registered a third-place finish and several fifth-place finishes this season – but had not led a lap prior to the Utah event. Bowles, who won numerous karting titles between 1996 and 2005, is the leading candidate for this year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in the West Series and is fourth in the overall championship standings.
Car owner Bob Bruncati two-for-two on road courses … The win at Miller Motorsports Park gives the Sunrise Ford Racing team of Bob Bruncati victories in both road course events that have been run this season. David Gilliland took the win in a second entry for the team at Infineon Raceway in June. The remaining road course event on the West Series schedule is at California Speedway on Aug. 11.
David takes second Bud Pole Award … Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) has not been known for qualifying up front, but he is changing that this season. The Modesto, Calif., driver captured his second Bud Pole Award of the year, with a lap of 93.225 mph around the 3.06-mile road course layout at MMP.
Rookie Alex Haase captures spotlight, also … Jason Bowles was not the only rookie in the spotlight in Utah. Alex Haase (No. 88 Motorway Auto Group of El Paso/Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet) charged forward in the closing stages of the event to score a career-best second-place finish. The 17-year-old from Las Vegas is
tied for second in the Sunoco Rookie standings and is ninth in the overall championship standings.
Eight different winners in 10 races … The 10 races in the West Series this season have featured eight different drivers in victory lane.
Hardin charges out front … Eric Hardin (No. 5 Alta Dena Dairy Chevrolet) charged out front on lap 27 to lead his first laps of competition this season at Utah. He came away with an eighth-place finish after a late-race pit stop.
Aero Exhaust Lap Leader … After winning the Bud Pole, Mike David went on to lead the first 15 laps and capture his second Aero Exhaust Lap Leader Award of the season. The award goes to the eligible driver who leads the most laps in an event.
NASCAR GRAND NATIONAL DIVISION, WEST SERIES RESULTS
Official Race Results For The BIG O TIRES 150 - 07/14/2007
Miller Motorsports Park - Tooele, Utah - 3.06-mile paved road course
Total Race Length 201 K - 41L - 125 M Purse: $176,928
FinStrCarDriverTeamLapsPointsB/PointsTotal AwardStatus 1322Jason Bowles *Sunrise Ford/Turbo Torq Ford411855$14,388Running 2788Alex Haase *Motorway El Paso/Kyle Busch Mtrp Chevrolet4117010,088Running 312Mike DavidBennett Lane Winery Ford41175109,588Running 488Johnny BornemanTwisted X Boots/Red Line Oil Ford411606,088Running 5900Scott GaylordScott Gaylord Racing Chevrolet4116053,500Running 62016Brian IcklerNAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet411505,588Running 71320Eric Richardson *GreenFrogRoastingCo.com Chevrolet411464,388Running 8105Eric HardinAlta Dena Dairy Chevrolet4114753,288Running 91642Rick Wall *Xiser.com/Sube Sports/Puma Ford411383,188Running 1021Jim InglebrightJelly Belly Chevrolet411344,088Running 11418Moses Smith *Hasa Pool Products/White Flyer Chevrolet411302,658Running 121981Garland Self *Selco Air Conditioning/Catering by 5 Ford401271,800Running 131761Brett ThompsonPets Best Insurance Chevrolet371243,338Running 14119Mike DuncanLucas Oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet261213,288Running 15613Todd SouzaCentral Coast Manufacturing Chevrolet221181,650Brakes 161871Daryl HarrWestWorld Computers Chevrolet211152,188Overheating 171459Kevin O'Connell *Taleo Grill/GEM Chevrolet141121,575Engine 181544Andrew MyersToyota of Escondido/NEO Toyota61092,138Accident 19566Justin LoftonLofton Cattle/Cometic/Klotz/Eibach Ford31062,113Engine 201221Ryan Foster *Golden Gate Petroleum/RCR Chevrolet31032,102Engine 212165Stan Silva, Jr. *A&S Metals/Stan Silva Jr. Trucking Chevrolet01002,088Overheating Fastest Qualifier:Mike David, Time: 118.166 Seconds, Speed: 93.225 MPH Time of Race:1 hrs., 46 mins, 57 secsAverage Speed:70.384 mphMargin of Victory:3.510 Seconds
AERO EXHAUST LAP LEADER AWARD: Mike David, 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford
BUD POLE AWARD: Mike David, 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford
FEATHERLITE MOST IMPROVED DRIVER AWARD: Alex Haase *, 88 Motorway El Paso/Kyle Busch Mtrp Chevrolet
POWERADE POWER MOVE OF THE RACE: Brian Ickler, 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
SUNOCO ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Jason Bowles *, 22 Sunrise Ford/Turbo Torq Ford
Caution Flags: Laps 5-6 (Car No. 66 smoke Back Stretch); 8-10 (Car No. 44 accident Turn 5); 16-19 (Car No. 59 oil Front Stretch); 24-25 (Car No. 13 stall Front Stretch). 4 for 11 laps.
Lap Leaders: Mike David 1-15, Jason Bowles * 16, Scott Gaylord 17-26, Eric Hardin 27-29, Jason Bowles * 30-41.
Total Laps Led: Mike David 15, Jason Bowles * 13, Scott Gaylord 10, Eric Hardin 3. 4 changes involving 4 drivers.
Top 10 Driver Points: Mike David 1548, Johnny Borneman 1434, Mike Duncan 1418, Jason Bowles * 1406, Brian Ickler 1358, Eric Hardin 1352, Brett Thompson 1319, Justin Lofton 1312, Alex Haase * 1270, Eric Richardson * 1217
* Denotes Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender
POWERade Power Move … Brian Ickler (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet) had to start at the back of the pack, after his brakes failed during qualifying. A strong run, coupled with pit strategy, put him as high as second in the closing laps. Despite slipping off course, he managed a sixth-place finish and won the POWERade Power Move of the Race Award. At each Grand National Division event, POWERade presents the award to the driver who advances the most positions.
Featherlite Most Improved … With his runner-up finish at Utah, Alex Haase captured the Featherlite Most Improved Driver Award – his third of the season. His finish there followed a 16th-place finish at Irwindale. Featherlite presents the award at each event to the driver who improves the most finishing positions from the previous event.
Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award … Along with his win at Utah, Jason Bowles also took home the Sunoco Rookie of the Race Award. He was the top finishing rookie in five of the 10 races so far this season.
The startign field at Miller.