Pole winner Bowman not NASCAR’s only tie to Tucson

Alex Bowman (Getty Images)
Alex Bowman (Getty Images)
Alex Bowman (Getty Images)

AVONDALE, Ariz. –Alex Bowman, the 23-year-old Coors Light Pole winner for Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, calls nearby Tucson, Arizona home.

Bowman isn’t the only NASCAR tie to Tucson. In fact, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France managed Tucson Raceway Park early in his career, a four-employee operation that he compared to running a Minor League Baseball team.

“People were saying, ‘You got stuck in Tucson, Arizona,'” France told attendees at Transitions West 2016, a family business conference at which he spoke prior to NASCAR’s Phoenix race weekend. “I said, ‘I’m going to get to run something,’ which I did. I got great experience.”

France spoke at the conference about the importance of learning the business from the ground up, and how that led to his first signature achievement – when as senior vice president in 1999, he consolidated the sanctioning body’s television rights.

“People said it could never be done, you’re too independent, tracks would never go along with that. And we took revenues at the time from $90 million to now $900 million in that one area.”

SHORT STROKES

You can expect some blazing speed coming from the rear of the field in Sunday’s Can-Am 500. Martin Truex Jr. led Saturday’s first practice session at Phoenix in both single-lap speed (135.476 mph) and 10-lap average (134.529 mph). Truex will start 40th because his backup car (necessitated because of an early crash in Friday’s practice) did not make it through pre-qualifying inspection in time for Truex to post a lap in time trials…

In the final 10 minutes of Happy Hour, second-place qualifier Kyle Larson spun off Turn 2 but managed to keep his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet away from the outside wall…

Phoenix International Raceway announced on Saturday morning that DC Solar will be the entitlement sponsor of the March 17, 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the one-mile track. In conjunction with the event sponsorship of the DC Solar 200, PIR will implement the company’s mobile solar generator portfolio throughout the raceway property.

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