IRVINGTON, Ala. (July 17, 2014) – During the summer months when school is out, most 16-year-olds can be found at the lake or the mall with their friends. Anderson Bowen, however; has elected to spend his summer break in a different place – a racecar.
A native of Suwanee, Georgia, Bowen could easily be the busiest driver in racing. Besides a full-time effort in the Southern Super Series, he will have also raced in the ARCA Racing Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, CRA and occasional races in a pro late model when the 2014 season comes to an end.
Although his way of spending free time is quite different than most his age, Bowen wouldn’t want it any other way.
Despite a slow start to the season, Bowen has found his footing in Southern Super Series competition – and it all culminated on July 12th at Gresham Motorsports Park.
Most racecar drivers dream of winning their first career race in a series at their home track or following a last-lap pass. Bowen, however; accomplished both at the same time.
Passing defending Southern Super Series champion Daniel Hemric on the penultimate lap, Bowen led his first two laps of the season in the series, but they were the most important ones: the last. After a battle with Hemric that was side-by-side or close to it for nearly the entire final 50 laps, Bowen was able to pass Hemric to score his first win in the Southern Super Series in dramatic fashion.
“Getting our first (Southern) Super Series win at Gresham was a really big deal since it’s our home track,” said Bowen earlier this week. “All of my family came out to support me. Especially with a last-lap pass to gain the lead was really huge for me especially racing with Daniel Hemric – he’s done a lot of great things with his career.”
“Racing with someone who is that clean of a racer is unbelievable to do.”
Not only did the late-race heroics at Gresham boost the young driver’s confidence as a result, but it also catapulted him to the series points lead. On top of that, the 16-year-old has all the momentum in the world as the Southern Super Series returns to Mobile International Speedway on July 26th for the third time in 2014.
On May 24th, the last time the Southern Super Series was in action at Mobile, Bowen finished second despite catching race winner Donnie Wilson in the closing laps. Although second is the first loser according to most, if not all, racecar drivers, the runner-up finish propelled him to a strong month of June where he would finish no worse than sixth.
When his No. 29 team unloads at Mobile on July 26th, and Bowen takes to the track for practice in his No. 29, he will most certainly be one of the drivers to beat – and he agrees.
“Yeah, I really do,” replied Bowen after being asked whether or not the momentum from his win will carry over to Mobile. “We had a really good car that time, but track position just caught us a little bit. I feel like going forward, we know what to do to be better and will have a good shot.”
With the seven events remaining in the Southern Super Series season, there is still a lot of racing left to be completed. Although anything can – and usually does happen – Bowen appears to have a slight edge in the championship picture. With eight top-five finishes in nine starts, he and his team have proven to be a consistent threat for the win each time they unload to race.
Despite winning just once this season, he holds a 28-point lead over Bubba Pollard who has won four times on the season and appeared to be the runaway champion earlier in the year.
“I feel like we have a good shot at it, but it’s going to be hard” said Bowen about his championship chances. “We haven’t put a big emphasis on winning the championship. We just want to win races and have fun this year. I feel like we have accomplished having fun. Yes, we have won a race, but I think we need to concentrate on winning more races.”
“I know consistency has helped us, too, with finishing in the top-five for a lot of the races,” he continued. “I feel like we have to keep on doing what we’re doing now and I feel like a championship might be a success later down the road.”
Besides being admittedly fond of banked tracks such as Mobile, Bowen has recorded countless laps at Alabama’s fastest half-mile in a variety of different cars, but with the same impressive results. With both the Southern Super Series and Miller Lite Series (Mobile SSS series) titles a strong possibility, the 16-year-old looks to wrap up the second half of the season hoisting both trophies.
Be sure to catch the cars and stars of the Southern Super Series presented by Sunoco do battle in the third Miller Lite 125 of the season at Mobile International Speedway on Saturday, July 26th at 7pm. Along with local racing from the Pro Truck, Super Stock, Sportsman and Bomber divisions, it will a night of short track action that can’t be missed.
About Mobile International Speedway: Mobile International Speedway is the longest continuously operating sports facility in Mobile County. It was built in 1964 and has presented weekly motorsports events every year since then. As an indication of increasing community acceptance and enthusiasm, both the Mobile Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Mobile Sports Authority became MIS partners beginning in 2013.
Family attendance and participation have been the keys to the track’s continued success. Kids 5 and under are always admitted free to the grandstands. Family nights and family-oriented shows have always been staples of the annual MIS schedules. Over 30,000 people will attend the 14 scheduled MIS events in 2014.