(TOLEDO, Ohio - July 16, 2012) - Alex Bowman's race-winning car at Iowa Speedway had not previously seen Victory Lane at the 0.875-mile oval, but the minds behind the car had.
Friday's race win was the third at Iowa Speedway for Cunningham Motorsports. The team also won with Parker Kligerman on July 11, 2009 and again with Tom Hessert on July 10, 2010. Hessert finished in a race-record one hour, 39 minutes, and 24 seconds, an average speed of 105.634 mph.
Bowman's winning chassis was No. 81 from the Cunningham shop, which now stands three-for-three after prior wins at the high-banked Salem and Winchester Speedways in Indiana.
"It's kind of cool that we brought chassis No. 81, which has won every race it's run this year, all three of them," Bowman said. "Cunningham Motorsports has won here twice in the past. They have great car setups, but to be honest, we didn't take the car that has won here in the past. We kind of risked it here a little bit, but we just prepared by going back on previous notes from Parker Kligerman and Tom Hessert, so it was a great job by everybody."
Bowman (No. 22 Manatt, Inc./St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Dodge) had to succeed on long and short runs at the end of the race for his third win of 2012 and his fifth victory in 13 ARCA Racing Series attempts. He had to persist through several caution-interrupted runs before passing Frank Kimmel (No. 44 Ansell/Menards Toyota) at the start of a long run on Lap 152. In the end, he was forced to hold Grant Enfinger away on a two-lap dash, part of a green-white-checkered finish.
"At the end of the race, we got really, really tight on short runs," Bowman said. "I knew I got through (Turns) 1 and 2 better than Grant did, so I would just try to get through 1 and 2 and protect through 3 and 4. On that green-white-checkered, we were getting so tight going into 1 on short runs that I just had to get to the bottom and protect, so that's what we did and it worked out."
Bowman is the 68th driver in ARCA's six-decade history with five wins in the national touring series.
Dodge Fills Top Two for First Time Since 2010: July has recently been a good month for Dodge entries. Since 2009, the manufacturer has won seven of 12 races in the year's seventh month, far ahead of three for Toyota and two for Chevrolet. The maker is two-for-two this July with wins by Andrew Ranger at New Jersey and Alex Bowman at Iowa on Friday.
Like Bowman, runner-up Grant Enfinger drives a Dodge, so Dodges filled the top two positions in an ARCA Racing Series finish for the first time since July 31, 2010, when Robb Brent won over Dakoda Armstrong at Pocono Raceway.
Adding Bowman's wins at Salem and Winchester earlier in the year, Dodge has four wins in 2012, just as many as Chevrolet. Chevrolet continues to lead the manufacturer standings over Dodge, Ford, and Toyota, respectively, but Dodge trimmed the deficit Friday from 11 points to eight, 72-64. Ford is third with 55 and Toyota fourth with 48.
Bowman Takes Race Awards, Closes on Poole Overall: Brennan Poole seemed like a runaway winner of the Aaron's Lap Leader Award for Friday's race, if not the race itself, through the first 74 laps. A cut right front tire on Lap 75, though, ended his run in contention.
Instead, Alex Bowman led 93 laps overall, including the last 51, to take the Aaron's Lap Leader Award for Friday's race and close in on Poole's lead in the year-long category. Poole now leads by just 24 laps, 430-406. Bowman has led in a series-high eight of 11 races this year, including each of the last four.
Bowman also earned his sixth 30-point score in the Team Messina Rookie Challenge, defeating all registered rookies in the race. More importantly, his success - matched against Poole's struggles - now draws him ahead of Poole in the overall rookie standings, 276-274. Bowman had trailed Poole by 16 points entering Friday.