Bowen wins tulsa, closes in on dro series points lead

The Mickey Thompson Tires AA/FC Challenge presented by COMP Cams and Victory Performance visited historic Tulsa Raceway Park for the first time on Sept. 21st -22nd. It was the fifth of six races on the 2012 schedule.

The results included first-time winner Shawn Bowen driving the “Violator” ‘77 Pontiac Firebird, a new series E.T. record of 5.707 by the Fred Mandoline-tuned “Flashback” Pontiac driven by Marc White, and the quickest side-by-side race in the series’ history -- a 5.707 to 5.717 epic race between White and defending DRO national champion, Texan John Hale.

In the first round of eliminations Ronny Young and the Texas-based “Blue Max” AA/FC, who were at the team’s first DRO AA/FC Challenge race of the season, ran his best E.T. of the year (5.79) but unfortunately was up against the hottest team on the circuit and lost to Bowen’s 5.74.

No fewer than five teams recorded E.T.s in the 5.70s in the first round of eliminations, a record for the series that is completing its fourth season.

The final round was a classic between Hale, the number-one qualifier and current series points leader, and Bowen. Hale appeared to have the edge as he had run a 5.717/249.30 to beat White’s quicker 5.707 in the semi-finals, while Bowen beat California racer Dennis La Charite, driving his Cory Lee-tuned “Back in Black” GTO, with an off-pace 6.046 to La Charite’s troubled 6.123.

At the flash of green in the final Bowen had his best RT of his career with a .061 to Hale’s very respectable .082. Hale spun the tires early but managed to stay with Bowen for a while before getting his car sideways in the lights while in the other lane Bowen burned a piston, blew a hole in the valve cover and oiled his right tire. He had to manhandle his car to keep it off the wall, but Bowen still managed a 5.926/217.11 for the win while Hale coasted to a 6.55.

The win brought the Michigan-based Bowen family team to within 100 points of Hale and ensured that the 2012 champion won’t be decided until the last race of the season.