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Bowman the man again at RPM
HAYS, Kan. — For a while, it seemed the only track Darren Bowman had any luck at was in Hutchinson.
When that track closed, Bowman was without a track he had won a race at.
But late last season, Bowman won the United Rebel Sprint Series feature at RPM Speedway in Hays. On Friday night during the track's Sprint Car Mania event, Bowman backed up that URSS win with his second victory in a row at the 3/8-mile dirt oval.
“I used to get along really good with Hutch, but now I'm starting to really like Hays,” Bowman said. “There's a lot of familiarity with that. Maybe it's the H's.
“That was the only place I could win, the only place I could do anything at. I said the other day Hays could start us off on a good note.”
Bowman started on the outside of the front row, alongside Jared Kern. The Kinsley Comet beat Kern to turn one and would go on to lead all 25 laps of the A-main.
“I don't know about the jump, but starting out front was real important because the track was real heavy,” Bowman said. “The car kind of stumbled on the start, but once I got going and Jared kind of went in, I never lifted. Every time after that, I never lifted in (turns) one and two. I wasn't as good in three and four, but the wind was kind of helping me.”
Bowman was the class of the field Friday night while the action was heated behind him. Four cautions marred the first half of the race, but each time Bowman was able to distance himself from the pack.
“Early on, I was thinking, ‘Man, I hope we loaded this thing up with fuel,’ ” Bowman said. “I know 305s don't eat a lot of fuel, but it's going to be interesting to pull the cap and see where it's at.”
Kern settled into the second spot behind Bowman and stayed there the entire race.
“I think if he wouldn't have got the jump on me and I wouldn't have run out of tear-offs, I think I would have been up front,” said Kern, whose second-place finish was the best of his URSS career.
Ray Seemann made a charge from his eighth-place starting spot and appeared to have a car that could challenge for the win as he quickly made his way through the field, moving up to fourth on lap nine.
But his car started to fade, and he got too high in turns three and four on lap 10, falling out of the top five.
That allowed Brian Herbert to move into the fourth spot behind Zac Taylor. Herbert tried to get around Taylor the rest of the race but couldn't make the pass.
Meanwhile, Bowman continued to distance himself. Only a lap car on the final two laps caused him to slow his pace just a bit.
“I couldn't tell,” Bowman said. “I got behind the 16 car for a little bit, and I heard engines and I was wondering if that engine was behind me or in front of me. I just didn't know. I just kept pushing and digging as hard as I could. I didn't know where anyone was. It seemed like I was getting to lap traffic quick, but I thought if I am cars behind me were, too. That's the fun part about sprint car racing — there's no rearview mirror. You have to give her all you can to the end.”
Kern finished a distant second, followed by Taylor and Herbert. Tyler Knight finished fifth as 22 cars checked in for the night.
“It's a new car this year, and only the second race on it,” Kern said. “I didn't think I liked it, but I do.”
Heat race winners were Mark Walinder, Knight and Zach Blurton.
The Keizer Aluminum Racing Wheels Hard-Charger award went to Kade Hagans, who started 18th and finished eighth.
1. Darren Bowman, 2. Jared Kern, 3. Zac Taylor, 4. Brian Herbert, 5. Tyler Knight, 6. Keefe Hemel, 7. Ray Seemann, 8. Kade Hagans, 9. Mark Walinder, 10. Brian Hardman, 11. Butch Hardman, 12. Reed Bernbeck (DNF), 13. Toby Schwien (DNF), 14. Koby Walters (DNF), 15. Jeff Radcliffe (DNF), 16. Zach Blurton (DNF), 17. Kaden Taylor (DNF), 18. Shawn Radcliffe (DNF), 19. Ken Lutters (DNF), 20. Richie Dewell (DNF), 21. Barry Crane (DNS), 22. C.J. Johnson (DNS).
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