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.

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.