After 15 years of Late Model racing throughout the province of Ontario, Jim Bowman is making the transition to run a full-schedule in 2012 with the OSCAAR Outlaw Super Late Models. Bowman will be driving the #63 Re/Max Canada, Cash Inn Loans, TMG Mortgages, Hanover Holidays, Grisdale Racing Products Chevrolet Camaro. The Fergus, Ontario native is the third generation of Bowman’s in Ontario motorsports as his uncles Lloyd and Albert have both raced stock cars, while his father Roy raced a font-engine dragster.
After running primarily at Flamboro Speedway, but also spending seasons at Varney Speedway, Sauble Speedway, and Delaware Speedway, joining the OSCAAR Super Late Model Tour has been an aspiration of Bowman’s since his childhood.
“OSCAAR is the thing that has been my want and desire probably since I was eight years old, watching Don Biederman, Junior Hanley – all those guys,” said Bowman. “You’re talking about the cream of the crop, running the best cars there is, the best race tracks, with the best kind of format and the best people running it. This is a no-brainer.”
There are inevitably challenges that come with moving to a new division, but Bowman believes the freedom within the OSCAAR rules will allow him to make the adjustment smooth while also getting the best performance possible from his Howe Racing Enterprises built Outlaw.
“It’s not so rigid in the rules where you’re looking for an edge as much as, with this class, you’re looking for performance,” explained Bowman.
Having competed for points on a weekly basis at a number of tracks, Bowman is familiar with many of the tracks on the OSCAAR tour, but has a few that are always circled on the calendar.
“I remember running (Sunset) in the ALSTAR series. That was exciting enough, but I’m looking forward to getting to (the new) Sunset. Delaware, of course, is always in the back of my mind,” said Bowman while also adding he would like to someday return to the currently closed Cayuga Motor Speedway.
After six drivers earned points in the chase for Rookie-of-the-Year in 2011, OSCAAR is set to welcome another class of rookies this season, with the list already at five and counting. In addition, veterans Rob Clarke, Mike Beyore, and George Wilson are expected to return to full-time action in 2012. Bowman believes that this, coupled with the addition of a new modified series, can only mean growth for Ontario’s top touring series.
“You’ve got some really quality guys already running for the top-ten positions. You take that in to effect, you’ve got good management in this series, and they’re all headed in the same direction,” explained Bowman. “And with the addition of the modifieds… it’s just showing that much more growth. I’m excited to see it all come together. “
Bowman may be entering OSCAAR with rookie status, but Bowman brings nothing but experience to the table. Regardless, his goals are simple. Bowman intends to challenge for the Rookie-of-the-Year title, but remain consistent and clean in the process.
“Our goals are pretty simple. We’re going to finish races. We want to maintain that every lap is a learning lap. Whether it’s in practice or in a race, every lap is a learning lap for the team, for the car, for the driver,” said Bowman of the team’s principle objective in 2012. “Anybody who comes in with a rookie status, they want to hold that title. That’s a pride and joy thing. Whoever wins it, my hats off to them. I know I’m going to throw my 100% at it and I know they will too.”
Bowman is also aiming to finish in the top-ten in the overall OSCAAR championship points standings this year.
For Bowman, at the end of the day it’s not simply about who wins and who doesn’t, it’s about the fan experience. And according to Bowman, there has never been a better time to be an OSCAAR fan or an Ontario short track fan.
“The fans have been waiting for OSCAAR to take its place as the premier series in Ontario, but what I mean is Canada. These cars here are made to go fast and turn left hard. It is just plain what the public wants to see each and every night they come,” explained Bowman. “They want this to be a premiere series, they want that support group with them. The best of the best coming together to put on the best show possible and the end result is that it’s all for the fans. Without the fans, we don’t have racing.”
Bowman is eager to get the 2012 season underway and will hit the track with a full field of OSCAAR Outlaw Super Late models for the season opener on Sunday, May 20 at Sunset Speedway.
By Clayton Johns