Anderson Bowen captured his first career Super Late Model victory two weeks ago at Gresham Motorsports Park in the Sunoco 125 and in the process became a bonafide championship favorite in the Southern Super Series.
The triumph, which came at the expense of defending champion Daniel Hemric, gave Bowen a 28 point championship advantage over Bubba Pollard, the dominant force of the season who suffered a mechanical failure early in the event.
The shakeup gives the tour a multi-team shootout for the championship with five drivers separated by 56 points with just seven races remaining. The next event is a Gulf Coast doubleheader at Pensacola Five Flags Speedway and Mobile International Speedway on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Bowen says he and his No. 29 team never even planned to run the whole season in the Southern Super Series because they honestly never expected to contend for a championship with names like Hemric, Pollard, Augie Grill and Donnie Wilson likely posting a majority of the victories.
“Honestly, we had originally planned on going to IRP this weekend to run the CRA race because we didn’t really expect to be in the championship mix in the Southern Super Series,” Bowen told Short Track Scene. “We came into this season just wanting to go out there, have some fun and win races. We’re doing that and we’ve been able to lead the points.”
He doesn’t expect the championship lead to change his approach moving forward, believing that the status quo has worked thus far.
The 16-year-old has truly arrived as a national player in the short track ranks this season, contending in numerous Super Late Model divisions as well as the ARCA Racing Series. Much of that success has been attributed to Ricky Turner — the 2002 Snowball Derby winner turned crew chief that most recently anchored the short track career of Chase Elliott before he departed for the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season.
Bowen says Turner has provided him more than just fast race cars. He’s also been a much-needed mentor in navigating the competitive and fierce stock car ladder system.
“Ricky has brought a lot of knowledge and information to our race team this year,” Bowen said. “He’s a genuine nice guy and has been awesome to work with. Then you look at what he’s done with Chase and now we’re getting to see firsthand all that he provides.
“He’s been great.”
With Elliott, Turner won all four crown jewel Super Late Model events at Pensacola, Gresham, Winchester and Nashville but never had the chance to chase a season championship. He now has that opportunity with Bowen and the driver of the No. 26 hopes to make the most of it.
The updated Southern Super Series championship standings entering the Gulf Coast doubleheader at Pensacola and Mobile can be viewed below.
- Anderson Bowen Ldr.
- Bubba Pollard -28
- Augie Grill -34
- Daniel Hemric -47
- Donnie Wilson -56
- Kyle Grissom -106
- Hunter Robbins -184
- 99 Casey Smith -210
- 47 Allen Karnes -336
- John Hunter Nemechek -383
Tim Bryant asks Escambia County Florida for $25k for Snowball Derby Marketing
Southern Super Series co-founder and Pensacola Five Flags Speedway track promoter Tim Bryant is asking Escambia County, Fla. for $25,000 from the county to help expand their marketing reach for the Snowball Derby according to a report on WEAR 3 TV on the Gulf Coast.
“We concentrate on an area probably 150 miles outside the Pensacola area,” Bryant told the television station. “What we want to do is go beyond that and go into some of the major markets.”
Bryant said that nearly 12,000 fans attended the 2012 Derby, a marquee event won by NASCAR Truck Series driver Erik Jones. Escambia County has told the track that any money given will come from the tourist development tax.
To argue his case, Bryant told the county that over 40 percent of their fans stayed one of more nights in a local hotel and dumped over $1,000 into the local economy per fan during their stay.
“Our event is growing and we don’t want to become stagnate with our event,” Bryant said. “We want to continue to add more things, more community related events.”
The county will discuss whether to give the money at the meeting Thursday. It should be noted that the track also hosts four Southern Super Series points-paying events.