(MOORESVILLE, N.C. - July 4, 2012) - Even though Alex Bowman finished 13th in the All-American Race Weekend presented by Global Barter Corporation at New Jersey Motorsports Park, the finish is not indicative of what he accomplished over the weekend.
Since Bowman had never raced a full-bodied stock car on a road course, he was apprehensive about how his weekend would go. But, the two practice sessions proved that Bowman could adjust quickly to any race track. He posted the third quickest time in the first practice session and 4th in the final session.
Starting in the 5th spot, Bowman quickly began his climb to the lead. He picked up one position on lap 1, posting the fastest lap. By lap 11 he had moved to 3rd and continued to climb to 2nd on lap 13. As he continued to improve his road course skills, the first caution, a full course yellow, came out on lap 25. After telling crew chief, Paul Andrews that he only needed small changes, the pit crew gave the Dodge four fresh Hoosiers, Sunoco fuel, an air pressure adjustment and a track bar adjustment. Bowman lined up in 3rd after the caution, as a result of him stalling the #22 after he left the pit stall. That little hiccup didn’t deter Bowman as he passed for second half way through the first lap after the green on lap 28.
Once again, Bowman was the fastest car on the track, inching closer and closer to leader, road course specialist, Andrew Ranger. Bowman made the pass on Ranger as the caution came out on lap 33. During this yellow, the top-7 did not pit, with Bowman in the lead. Another quick caution came out after the green on lap 35. With Bowman still leading on the lap 41 green flag, the St. Jude Children’s Research Dodge started pulling away from runner-up, Chase Elliott. On lap 48, after Bowman led 16 laps, the Dodge began falling off the pace. With Bowman reporting that the throttle linkage had broken, he brought the car in so the crew could get a look under the hood. After making three stops during the ensuing caution periods, the crew made adjustments to get Bowman back to competitive speeds. With Bowman restarting in 14th, one lap down, in the “lucky dog” position, the team desperately wanted and needed another full course caution. But, they didn’t get one. Even though Bowman was racing at speeds that could match the leader, he couldn’t make up the lost lap, finishing a disappointing 13th.
With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees, an exhausted and disappointed Bowman said, “I am so disappointed. Cunningham Motorsports gave me such a great race car. It was so amazing to lead at the road course. I just wish we could have finished better. I can’t thank everyone here at Cunningham and Penske Racing engines enough. We will be ready to win at Iowa, where Cunningham has won before.”
Next up for the Cunningham Motorsports team is the Prairie Meadows 200 at the .875-mile Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 13. The first practice session is scheduled for 11:30am-1:00pm EST, with final practice following from 2:00pm-3:00pm. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will take place at 5:30, with the green flag falling at 9:00pm EST. The race will be covered live on SPEED, with coverage of all on-track activities live on arcaracing.com. Cunningham Motorsports will also have live up-to-date reports on their twitter @cunningham_race.
Follow Alex Bowman on twitter @AlexBRacing