By Mary Lendzion
Back in December, NMRA Richmond Gear Factory Stock racer Mike Bowen began working on Shawn Olson’s 1966 Mustang at his shop, Powerhouse Automotive, in Pennsylvania.
He was to transform it from a street car to a strip car so that Olson could begin campaigning it in the NMRA G-Force Racing Coyote Stock category beginning with the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Feb. 27-March 1 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida. After putting in many hours on the project, Bowen completed it in time.
Because his focus had been on Olson’s car, he didn’t have much time to work on his own wheel-standing Maverick before the same event, but there were some things he needed to tend to since he had made some minor changes to take part in the Haltech World Cup Finals — Import vs. Domestic event at Maryland International Raceway last fall.
“I had to put some weight back in the car, since I run at 2650 pounds for the All Motor category at the World Cup Finals, and 3325 pounds for NMRA Factory Stock,” said Bowen, whose Maverick features a Gen I Coyote engine and G-Force Racing Transmissions G101-A. “I also had to change the fuel system, including the injectors and fuel pump, since I run alcohol at the World Cup Finals and C10 for NMRA Factory Stock.”
After that, and some changes to his clutch set-up to utilize ideas he recently had, Bowen arranged an impromptu test session at Silver Dollar Raceway in Georgia, so that he could make the initial passes in Olson’s car, as well as some passes in his car. He was joined by a few other NMRA racers.
Then, he headed to the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout at Bradenton Motorsports Park — the first event on this year’s NMRA tour — where he proceeded to set the pace in Richmond Gear Factory Stock qualifying with a 10.08, secured a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle with a 10.18 against Shane Stymiest and set the category’s elapsed-time and top speed records with the 10.08 and a 132.91 mph.
“It was the oddest situation, because honestly, my focus was on my customer Shawn’s car, but maybe that was the secret to my car running how it did at that event,” said Bowen. “Well, that and maybe the good air and tail wind helped.”
Bowen, who has help from Chris Niebauer and Brett Foutz, among others, plans to attend the next event on the NMRA tour, the 2nd Annual NMRA Gateway Rumble, May 14-16, at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, followed by the remaining three events.
“I love racing, but I also love interacting with all of my friends at the events,” said Bowen. “We come from all over the country.”