The race for the 2016 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national championship may be over, or at least close to it. Virginia racer Matt Bowling used a bold schedule – racing seven races in four days – this past weekend to produce two much needed wins in the penultimate week of points competition.
With his home track of South Boston Speedway (VA) not having a scheduled race, Bowling hit the road early this past weekend. He first traveled to Dominion Raceway (VA) for a 150-lap Late Model Stock race on Thursday night. Bowling suffered a flat tire midway through the race relegating him to a 17th-place finish.
After another winless night at Anderson Motor Speedway (SC) in Twin 50 competition on Friday night, Bowling made his way back north for a two day stint in North Carolina. Starting at Southern National Motorsports Park on Saturday, Bowling came home third in the first 40-lap feature, while coming back to win the second race for his 13th win overall in 2016.
When the day and busy weekend was finally over, Bowling was ready to take a much needed breather.
“I’m ready to have an off day I’ll tell you that, it’s been a long weekend,” Bowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “To come away with two wins is good for us, it’s what we needed. We needed to get ahead of them this weekend on wins and we were able to that.”
While Bowling had originally planned on running both Dominion Thursday and Southern National Saturday, an opportunity to get as many shots at victory as possible was too hard to turn down. In order to do so, he was required to do a little bit of deal making in order to compete at Anderson on Friday.
“We saw the opportunity being available and just kind of went for it,” Bowling said. “As far as today, I ran the same car yesterday as I did today, everything worked out the way it could. It was a great weekend. There was no way we could take our equipment down there (to Anderson), it’s a long ride. We got hooked up with Lee McCall and put a deal together last minute and tried it. Things didn’t go the way we wanted. They put in a good effort and we had a good run. I was happy with that.”
With fellow contenders Keith Rocco and Ty Majeski unable to collect wins on the weekend, Bowling is expected to have an advantage heading into the final week of points racing in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series competition. Despite returning home to South Boston, Bowling knows he will have to stay at peak performance.
“We’ll see what happens, we got one more week left. It’s still probably going to come down to the wire, they could get two wins and they’re right back in the hunt,” Bowling stated. “It will be a long weekend for sure, but we’ll see if we can pick up a win at South Boston. It’s always nice to go there. We’ve got more laps there than anywhere. It ain’t going to be easy, the competition is as tough there as anywhere. A lot of heavy hitters, we just got to try and win.”
While Bowling is happy to be in the thick of things, he is already feeling the pressure of maintaining near perfection. At the same time he has gained a lot of respect for those who have won the title before, including fellow Virginia racer Lee Pulliam.
“I had a lot of respect for him prior to this year and I got even more for him now. The pressure is unreal, what you have to go through, and it takes a toll on everyone to be in contention for one and to possibly win one.”
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com State Editor (CT, MA, Long Island) – Twitter @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Matt Bowling Racing