Nelles Corners, Ont. (July 14, 2018) – Earlier this season, Dan Bowes listed that one of his primary goals in 2018 was to 'get that elusive first ISMA win'. In 2017, his sixth season with the traveling group, he was ever so close to achieving that goal. The 2011 ISMA Rookie of the Year was making his presence known last season scoring fast times at Jennerstown, Delaware and Oswego.He ended up with a fourth place in the competitive ISMA driver point standings but that coveted win did not come despite the fact he had nine top ten finishes, two of them podiums and nothing less than a 12th place.
Saturday night, at Jukasa Speedway, Bowes put it all together and finally brought home his career first win at the Queenston Chevrolet ISMA 50. And had it not been for one yellow that negated a pass by Jon McKennedy, Dan pretty much controlled his destiny the entire way.
The Epping, NH driver, a former 350 small block champion at Lee, Speedway stated in victory lane.
“I was trying to take it easy out there but I got really lucky when Jonathan got underneath me and the caution came out. I said then 'stop going easy and just go'. And, that's what I did. I can't thank my father and mother enough, and Brian Allegresso, who built a heck of a race car for me. He's been helping us a ton this year. This one is for Sheila. My crew member Dave Callihan lost his mother-in-law earlier this week. The whole family has been dealing with a lot. They didn't think they were going to make it this weekend but they made it happen. I am so happy they were here. The crowd here is awesome tonight. I didn't think we were going to see that with all the rain earlier. Thank you to all the sponsors, the track officials, everyone. It was fun. This place is fast. I really hope we come back. I hope everybody liked the race and they come back too.”
McKennedy, last year's ISMA champ, didn't really get another chance at the 25 after that “almost” lead take over. “We had a good run and ended up second. We were just a little bit too tight in the long run but it was still a good day. The guys worked hard. Congratulations to Danny Bowes and their team on the win. They've been at it for a while now. They work hard. I said on the way here that's he's going to win one of these races pretty soon. I could just tell. He's come a long way the last year or two. They have a good package over there. So again, congratulations to them. Thanks again to all my guys and to Jukasa Speedway for having us. This is an awesome speedway and hopefully we can come back!”
Johnny Benson Jr., a surprise entry who has only raced on the ISMA trail intermittently over the years, put the PATCO-Lichty 48 in third at race end. The veteran of many years and many divisions was pleased with a podium finish. “ This is actually pretty cool. Obviously we were a little hard on the tires here for the first time on the track. I really have to thank general manager Alex, the new track owners and everybody for coming out tonight. It was pretty awesome. I ran this track back in 1992 and 93 with ASA and I have say that it is now very different. It's very cool, very smooth and they did one heck of a job on this race track.”
Benson had the pole for the 50 lapper with Michael Muldoon on the outside. It was Muldoon who took the early lead with Mike McVetta getting the jump on Benson at the green. Just as things were sorting out on the new-to-all Jukasa track, yellow fell at the start of lap 4, when the 55 of Rich Reid blew in front of Mark Sammut and Moe Lilje. Sammut was able to continue after some repairs but Lilje and Reid were done. Trent Stephens used the time to make a quick pit stop and returned.
With the field now bunched, it was only two laps later that the 25 of Bowes took over the point from Muldoon who was trailed by Benson, McKennedy, Mike Ordway Jr., McVetta, Mike Lichty, Timmy Jedrzejek and point leader Kyle Edwards as the pace began to pick up on the sleek, banked surface.
Unfortunately, the yellow dropped again on lap 13 when Mike McVetta had a rear end going and tried to make it to the pits, but fell short. He was done for the day.
On the restart, McKennedy was indeed pressuring Bowes but Dan held the spot. Benson, Ordway Jr. and Muldoon were top five with fifteen down.
Slowly but surely as the laps ticked away, Bowes was able to extend his lead over McKennedy and Benson while Mike Lichty was on the move getting the jump on Muldoon to take fourth on lap 25.
By lap 30 Bowes had the tail of the field in his sight and he moved past the ailing 19 of Stephens. One lap later yellow fell for the 97 of Timmy Jedrzejek when a front hub had broken sending Timmy up against the 4th turn wall. Tim was fine; the car was not.
On this restart, Bowes had a one lap car cushion between his 25 and challengers McKennedy and Benson. There was still a lot of action behind as Muldoon, Edwards and Sammut were still looking to move up a spot of two.
Attrition claimed two more top movers in Mike Ordway Jr. and Mike Lichty as the action moved toward lap 35. The 61 of Ordway pulled suddenly off the track on lap 32 when something broke. Said Ordway later, “I started off pretty good and then something started to go wrong seven or eight laps in. I came in to see if we could fix it enough to get it to the end. It just didn't work. It just kept getting worse and worse and finally something let go. I just had to pull it to the bottom and in.”
One lap after Ordway's demise, Mike Lichty followed suit and headed pitside also with a right front wheel bearing having broke.
Now time was running out for the remaining field as Bowes was in command over the last ten laps. McKennedy and Benson rode apart with Stephens in front of Muldoon, Edwards, and Sammut who would soon fall victim to Bowes torrid pace.
Bowes crossed the line in jubilation as he now had achieved his goal of getting that first win. His family, girlfriend and crew quickly surrounded him as McKennedy and Benson pulled into victory lane.
Michael Muldoon, the only other race leader of the event finished fourth despite some car problems.
He was more than happy to have survived the distance. “We missed our setup by a mile. Missed our stagger by about an inch and a half. Ripped the right front right off the car. So we'll take a fourth. It could have been worse, indicated the third generation supermodified driver.”
Kyle Edwards, who started the 2018 season with a win at Delaware, his first in ISMA, wasn't quite aware he was leading the points going into the fourth race of the season. He said of his top five finish, “This is a really, really nice facility. And hopefully they will want us back. I think we put on a good show for the fans. I thank them for coming out. I have to thank all my sponsors.I have to thank my dad and I don't know where we are in points, but a top five is good. I'm glad we are in one piece so we can go on to Sandusky.”
With a win at Delaware and a fifth at Jukasa, Edwards is sure to be a contender for a part of the Harv Lennox Memorial Tammy Ten Bonus Point Fund, to be paid out to the top 5 ISMA Car Owners after the August 18th Delaware event, the last leg of the three participating tracks.