(MOORESVILLE, N.C. - August 21, 2012) - After disappointment at Berlin Raceway, in which Alex Bowman and his Cunningham Motorsports team finished 14th, Bowman and the team needed to rebound and get the results that they were capable of producing.
They did just that at the first of two dirt tracks that the ARCA Racing Series visits in the 2012 season, when they finished 2nd in the Allen Crowe 100 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
With excitement and some uncertainty, Bowman took to the 1-mile dirt track for his first dirt course experience in a full-bodied stock car. After his first practice run, Bowman commented, “This is the most fun I have ever had in a stock car.” Throughout the one hour-long session, crew chief Paul Andrews made many changes to the Dodge, in an effort to figure out how the car would react to different adjustments. With the practice speeds showing Bowman 7th quickest, Andrews made some changes that helped Bowman post the fastest speed during qualifying, winning his 4th pole of the season. A surprised Bowman said, “It’s awesome. I can’t say enough about Cunningham Motorsports because in the past I’ve honestly been pretty bad on dirt in the sprint car and midget deals; I’ve always been a pavement guy.”
Starting from the pole position, Bowman pulled to a three car length lead before losing the top spot on lap 11, after reporting “really, really tight off (the corners)” to Andrews. As he fell back to 6th, he reported on lap 23 that he was able to start reeling the leader back in, when he said, “The track is coming back to us”. As the first caution flag flew on lap 24, Andrews called the #22 from the 4th spot to the pits for four Hoosiers, a track bar adjustment and Sunoco fuel. The green came out on lap 29, with Bowman in 5th. After another caution, for a spin in turn 2 on lap 38, Bowman lined up 4th for the restart on lap 42. At the halfway point, Alex told Andrews, “I’m trying to save it a little. These guys are running real hard.” Bowman picked up the 3rd spot and settled there until lap 61, when he grabbed second. When the caution came out on lap 75, with the Dodge in 2nd, Bowman told Andrews, “We are a little tight in the center. Good on long runs.” With the current leader, Frank Kimmel choosing to pit, Bowman took over the lead. With the green flag flying on lap 77, Bowman quickly pulled out to a 12 car length lead. That lead evaporated after 7 laps, as the new rubber that the #44 crew put on during the caution proved to make the difference, moving Kimmel to the lead. With two laps remaining Bowman got passed again, dropping to 3rd. On the white flag lap, Bowman gave everything he and the car had left and crossed the checkered flag with a 2nd place finish.
Madison International Speedway, the site of Alex Bowman’s first ARCA Series victory last season is the site for the 17th race of the 20 race season. Bowman is looking forward to returning to Madison, Wisconsin. “I am excited to return to Madison. So far this season, most of the tracks that we have been to are tracks that I have never seen before. It is a great feeling going back to a track for the second time, especially as the defending champion.” The Herrs Live Life with Flavor 200 will begin with two 45 minute practice sessions, at 2:00 pm and 3:15 (all times EST) on Saturday, August 25. Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will follow at 5:30. The 200 lap event on the .5 mile track will begin Sunday at 3:00, after a one hour on-track autograph session at 1:00. Live timing and scoring, as well as audio coverage of the race, will be available on arcaracing.com.