Alex Bowman lost his qualifier, but he's not losing the party in Tulsa

Alex Bowman lost his qualifier, but he's not losing the party in Tulsa
Lee Spencer

TULSA— Alex Bowman’s prelim night for the Chili Bowl Nationals was over not long after it started.

On Lap 2, Daison Pursley spun and collected the No. 55X Ally midget and ended Bowman’s run.

After winning his heat and starting fourth in Tuesday’s Warren CAT A Feature, the driver/owner remained optimistic despite finishing 23rd.

“I think we're plenty capable of challenging for the win or running on the podium,” Bowman said. “Obviously, really fast in our heat race. The qualifier, I kind of got boxed in, made a little mistake on decisions and still came from the very back, came to third. Then running third or fourth there and Daison spun out in front of me and I had nowhere to go, so bummer.

“I'm pretty sad that I gotta wake up earlier on Saturday now because my cooler is very full and that's going to change between now and Saturday.”

Local racer Hank Davis held off Spencer Bayston for the win in Tuesday’s prelim feature. Both drivers will advance to Saturday’ A Main. Sixteen-year-old Jade Avedisian became the first female to finish on a qualifying night podium at Tulsa Center In her Chili Bowl Nationals debut, Avedisian came from ninth to finish third.

For Bowman, Tuesday’s performance started out as one of his best at Tulsa SageNet Center.  He started fifth in his heat race, took the lead on the first lap, and held on for the win. Bowman then drove from sixth to third in his qualifier.

The speed in the Alex Bowman Racing midgets offered the 28-year-old racer promise for the remainder of the week. His fellow ABR drivers Jake Swanson and CJ Leary qualify on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

“I think our race car was really fast,” Bowman added. “Really pleased with the direction we've gone with things. I think that's good for Jake and CJ. So, yeah, I hate it. I think we had a really fast car. That's the best I've felt in the midget. That's the only time I've been comfortable being really aggressive in a midget.

“So, I feel like we gained on it. Coming from the “E” (main) or whatever, we're probably not gonna have much to show for it, but they definitely knew we were here tonight.”

Bowman is expected to start from the E-Main on Saturday where he’ll be in good company with Michael Pickens, the nine-time New Zealand Midget Car champion. Pickens’ 4x midget flipped on Lap 4 after a poorly executed slider by Davis knocked the Kiwi out of second place.

Bowman, who drives the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series, has been making the most of his downtime in the offseason. Bowman experienced a concussion following a brutal shunt at Texas Motor Speedway that left him sidelined for five races before returning for the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.

The affable driver isn’t sure what HMS has in store for him before the season starts. For now, Bowman intends on savoring this opportunity with friends and family. He knows it will be back to business soon enough.

“We'll see when I get back to normal life,” Bowman said. “I went to Colorado for a couple of weeks and then came here. So I've kind of been in 'La La Land,' living the dream for the last couple of weeks. I’ve got to get back to reality soon.”



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