(MOORESVILLE, N.C. - August 6, 2012) - Cunningham Motorsports, with Alex Bowman at the wheel of the No. 22 St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Dodge, wanted to finish better the second time the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards visited Pocono Raceway.
After finishing 3rd in June at the speedway, Bowman and the crew expected to have more power this race and that their set-up changes would move them closer to the winning the checkered flag.
Practice on Friday showed just what Bowman and the crew had. They stayed at the top of the practice speed charts for the first 80 minutes of the 90 minute session, until the other teams started running mock qualifying runs. The Cunningham organization made one final adjustment and didn’t have enough time to prep for a mock qualifying run before officials closed the track at the completion of practice. With a few more adjustments crew chief, Paul Andrews had the Dodge ready to qualify. Going out second, Bowman didn’t have any speeds to gauge off of, but he laid down the 6th quickest time.
As the green flag flew Bowman, was anxious to see if the car was improved over practice. The #22 showed its power immediately after the green flag flew, as Bowman picked up 2 spots on the first lap and an additional 2 positions on lap 2. As Bowman and leader Brennan Poole, pulled away from the rest of the field, it looked like it could come down to a two car race. On lap 14, spotter Richard Coleman came over the radio and told the crew, “New leader, the 22!,” as Bowman took the point. He held the lead through lap 20, when the car started getting tighter and tighter and dropped to second. Bowman continued to give Andrews feedback on the Dodge’s handling. On lap 36 Andrews brought Bowman in for four fresh Hoosiers and fuel on a green flag pit stop. With 18 cars still on the lead lap, Bowman’s over –the-wall guys got him back out 10th, where he once again showed the power of the Penske Racing engines. Two laps after rejoining the field, Bowman was 3rd. By this time leader, Chad Hackenbracht had gained an insurmountable lead over Bowman and second place Poole, based on early pit strategy. The short 50 lap race only allowed Bowman enough time to catch the second place car, not pass him. For the second time this year Bowman finished third at the “tricky triangle.”
“It’s kinda interesting----myself and my team are disappointed with the third place finish. With our points situation, we cannot focus on the points. We are searching for wins and we obviously fell a little short today,” said Bowman.
The Berlin ARCA 200 presented by Hantz will continue the ARCA Racing Series’ long 8 race summer marathon next Saturday, August 11. Once again, like so many times this year, Bowman will see the .4 mile oval for the first time when the team pulls into the track. Bowman will have two 45 minute practice sessions to figure out the short track in Marne, Michigan. The first practice will begin at 2:00pm EST, with the final session from 3:15-4:00. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will follow at 5, with an on-track autograph session at 6:15. The green flag for the 200 lap race will fly at 8:30. All on-track activities will be covered at arcaracing.com. Follow Cunningham Motorsports on twitter @cunningham_race.