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ROBERSONVILLE, N.C. :: Matt Bowling entered this weekend leading the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National points standings. Looking to bolster that advantage, Bowling made the trip to East Carolina Motor Speedway and earned his fifth victory of the 2016 NWAAS season.

The victory came in the first of two 35-lap features at the 0.375-mile oval in Robersonville, North Carolina.  Louis White led the field to the green flag for the first 35-lapper, and led the first 13 laps. Bowling claimed the top spot on lap 14 after starting fourth in the 16-car field.

“We just kept working on it, man,” Bowling said after winning the first feature. “We got it freed up a little bit through the middle. Probably still need it a little bit more. We get really good forward drive off turn two, and that’s what won us the race, it felt like.”

“I was just trying to get a win,” Bowling said. “I think we’ll have enough. We’ll see. We’ve just got to free it up some more, try to get it to rotate in the middle some more.”

The second race proved slightly more challenging for Bowling, but he still performed well enough to tally a third-place finish. Bowling started outside of Louis White on the front row for the second feature, but lost the runner-up spot to a hard-charging Michael Fose in the closing stages.

“I thought we were going to be really good the second race,” Bowling said. “I was really just biding my time, waiting to make a move. We come back really free after that caution [on lap 16, for a spinning Justin Carroll]. Louis did what he needed to do to win and drove a great race. Congratulations to him. We’ll go on to next race, I guess.”

The two strong races should bolster Bowling’s position in the National Title hunt.

“That win definitely helped out some,” Bowling noted. “We shouldn’t have lost anything this week. We’ll move on to South Boston next week and try to get two full-field wins there.”

Altogether, the start of the 2016 season has been a promising one for Bowling. The Ridgeway, Virginia native currently leads the points at South Boston Speedway, with four wins to his credit at that facility.

“It’s been a really, really good start. It’s the best start I’ve had, ever. We’ve just got to keep the ball rolling, and keep racing, keep trying to get wins. At the end of the day, to win the national championship we’ve got to win races.”

While the summer is still young, Bowling understands the importance of racing – and winning – every week when pursuing the NWAAS national crown.

“You can’t get too wrapped up in [the points standings], but you’ve got to think about it some when you’re leading,” Bowling said. “You’ve just got to try to get wins, that’s all you can do. Race every week, go race where the cars are at, and try to win.”

Zach Evans is in his second season covering short track racing, A 2012 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Evans is a proud alumnus of The Daily Tar Heel, the school's award-winning independent student newspaper.

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