(MOBILE, Ala. - March 3, 2013) - Anderson Bowen, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Suwanee, Ga., was one of several rookies who tested Saturday at Mobile Int'l Speedway in preparation for the second annual ARCA-Mobile 200 Saturday, March 9.
Bowen will make his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards debut in the No. 22 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge. The ninth grader spent a full day at Gresham Motorsports Park Friday to get ready for the Mobile test. Call it the test before the test.
"Everything went really good," Bowen said. "We dialed the car in at Gresham. I got comfortable with the car. Gresham is a similar track so we were able to carry some information from Gresham to Mobile."
Plans for Bowen's 2013 season include three ARCA races (Mobile, Salem and Madison) and both Iowa Speedway NASCAR K&N events. In addition, he will compete in a full super late model racing schedule with his family's Anderson Bowen Racing team.
The back-to-back tests were the first time Bowen ever sat in a 3400-lb. ARCA car, a good bit heavier than the late models he's used to racing.
"The ARCA car took a while to get used to. They're a little harder to turn, but a lot of fun to drive. There's a lot more throttle management involved to get up off the corners so that the horsepower can pull you down the straightaways."
Bowen is one of two 15-year-old drivers who will be racing at Mobile. The other is rookie Kyle Benjamin, who will debut with Venturini Motorsports. Bowen understands his ARCA debut is the next big step in his young career.
"This is really a big deal for me," continued Bowen. "To get this opportunity with Cunningham Motorsports and to work with Paul (Andrews) is really something special."
Andrews, the 1992 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion crew chief with the late Alan Kulwicki, has tutored several ARCA winners over the last few seasons, including Dakoda Armstrong and Alex Bowman to name a couple.
"Working with Paul is awesome. He really taught me a lot the last few days.
"I really think we can compete for a top-five finish, maybe even a win. I feel like the car will be competitive enough. If we stay out of trouble, who knows. There's no reason we can't run in the top-10, but a top-five is definitely possible. Anything is possible."
Bowen began his 2013 season with a fourth place finish in January's ARCA/CRA Super Series SpeedFest at Watermelon Capital Speedway in Cordele, Ga. He followed the January race with some super late model action at New Smyrna Speedway during Daytona Speedweeks, finishing eighth.
Despite his rookie status, Bowen has already raced at Mobile in a late model.
"It's a fast, little, fun track. I'm looking forward to Mobile being my first ARCA Racing Series start. Thanks to everyone at Cunningham Motorsports for this amazing opportunity. I plan to make the most of it."
During his 2012 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour season, he was awarded the 2012 Rookie of the Year honors. Bowen completed his 2012 season at the 45th annual Snowball Derby weekend at Pensacola, Florida's Five Flags Speedway in December, earning a 12th place finish in the Snowflake 100.
Bowen's path to the ARCA Racing Series also included the 2010 Southern Pro Challenge Series Championship, the 2010 AMS (Atlanta Motor Speedway) Winter Series and Winter Flurry Championships, and the 2009 QMA (Quarter Midget Association) National Championship.
In addition to Bowen and Benjamin (right), other rookies that tested Saturday at Mobile included Venturini Motorsports teammates Taylor Ferns and Justin Boston, Win Tron Racing's Mason Mingus, Hixson Motorsports' Thomas Praytor, and Roulo Brother Racing's (defending champions) Mason Mitchell.
The Aircraft Pavilion for the USS Alabama will provide the backdrop for the kickoff Thursday, March 7 for the ARCA-Mobile 200 weekend, with ARCA haulers, cars and teams on display from 3-6 pm CST. Fans can meet the drivers during an autograph session from 5-6.
Practice and Menards Pole Award Qualifying presented by Ansell takes place Friday, March 8 with two practice sessions from 2:30-3:15 and from 4:15-5:00. Qualifying follows at 7:00. The second annual ARCA-Mobile 200 gets the green flag at 2:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon, March 9. ARCA teams can also participate in an optional practice session on Saturday, March 2, one week ahead of the race, from 2:00 - 8:00 p.m. The testing opportunity will coincide with Mobile's weekly race card, and offer the chance to test in the evening, about the same time ARCA teams will be qualifying the following Friday.
The RV Collision Repair Infield Camping is already sold out and there are a limited number of spots in the RV Collision Repair Outside Camping Area. For more information on purchasing tickets or camping lots for the ARCA-Mobile 200, please visit www.mobilespeedway.net or call 251-343-2929.
Opened in 1964, Mobile International Speedway is Alabama's fastest half mile and is currently host to the Sunoco Gulf Coast Championship Series and Miller Lite Late Model Series, along with a regular schedule of Saturday night racing.
The Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is among the leading and most diverse auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country. Founded in 1953 by John and Mildred Marcum, the organization administers more than 100 events each year in multiple racing series, including the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, the ARCA/CRA Super Series, the ARCA Truck Series and the ARCA Midwest Tour, plus weekly racing at Toledo and Flat Rock Speedways.