Topics: Jason Bowles, Bashas’ Supermarkets 200
Phoenix, AZ (4-11-2010) – Jason Bowles, the 2009 K&N Pro Series West champion, made his debut with RAB Racing behind the wheel of the No. 09 Sunrise Ford Fusion at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday. Bowles, who had one previous start at the 1-mile tri-oval in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, brought home his first top-25 finish, finishing 25th in Bashas’ Supermarkets 200.
Bowles, who finished 2nd in the Jimmie Johnson Foundation 100 on Thursday at PIR, started the 200-lap event in the 29th position following a qualifying time of 28.363 seconds (126.926 mph). The Ontario, California native lost positions early on due to a tight handling Ford Fusion but was a mainstay inside the top-30 during the opening laps.
In an attempt to aid in the handling of the machine, Crew chief Ben Gable brought the No. 09 Ford Fusion down pit road three times in the opening 114 laps. However, Bowles lack of experience on radial tires left him re-learning a track that he was otherwise very familiar with and also has one win at.
At lap 138, a 10 car pile-up on the front stretch brought out a red-flag, ultimately breaking Bowles and Co. into the top-30 for the first time during the 200-mile event.
Restarting 27th, Bowles maintained his position over the closing laps until the evening’s final caution flag was waved for debris in turn-1. Gable made the call to leave the Sunrise Ford Fusion out on the racing surface. The No. 09 machine would restart 25th with just eight laps remaining.
Bowles would maintain his position and take the checkered flag 25th behind race winner Kyle Busch.
“I want to thank Robby (Benton), Brack (Maggard) and all the guys at RAB Racing for the opportunity they gave me this weekend at Phoenix,” said Bowles. “To finish in the top-25 and bring the car home in one piece was our goal and we met that, so I am pleased.”
“Obviously, I wanted to have a bit better result,” continued Bowles, “but I think I learned a lot during the race about the cars and the tires that will help me as I get some more races under my belt. The team did a great job all night making changes to try and get the car where I was comfortable and I think now I have a better understanding of what I need to do in practice to get the car where it needs to be in the race.”
The top-25 performance leaves RAB Racing’s No. 09 Ford Fusion 21st in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series owner point standings; a mere 36 points outside the top-15.
Up next for RAB Racing is the O’Reilly 300 on Saturday, April 17 at Texas Motor Speedway. The seventh event on the 2010 NNS schedule will be televised live on ESPN2 beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET and can be heard on the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 3:00 p.m. ET.
For more information on RAB Racing please visit: www.teamrab.com
For more information on Jason Bowles please visit: www.jasonbowles.com