VERNON, BC – Kevin Dowler made history on Sunday afternoon in Vernon, British Columbia. The EMCO / Westlund / Western RV / Performance Friction Ford Taurus driver earned his record-extending fifth CASCAR Western Series crown when he started the Lordco Auto Parts 200 at Sun Valley Speedway. Originally scheduled for Saturday evening, the season finale was pushed back to Sunday afternoon by rain.
Not content with merely securing the title, the fiercely competitive racer charged from his fourth-place starting spot to take the lead prior to the midway point of the 200-lap race, en route to his unprecedented ninth Western Series victory of the season.
“I didn’t qualify as well as we practiced, so we lined up fourth for the race,” said Dowler. “Todd Nichol has been really strong lately and he had the pole for the second race in a row. Todd led the first 70 laps, at which point there was a caution and the top guys pitted.”
Dowler continued, “I stopped for a right-rear tire and my guys did an amazing job to get me out of the pits first. We led the rest of the way from there. Derek Polack was a threat late in the race, but he had enough to worry about holding off Jim White.”
The lengthy race weekend in Vernon got a little bit longer when the skies opened again with 15 laps to go, resulting in a two-hour delay.
“When we eventually got going again, I was leading Derek [Polack], Jim [White], Wade Lee and Todd Nichol. Going into turn 3 with one lap to go, Jim and Derek were battling hard for second and they got together and hit hard.”
When Dowler eventually took the checkered flag – ahead of Lee and Nichol – it put the finishing touches on a truly impressive 2005 season. Of the 10 points-paying races on the Western Series schedule, the Sherwood Park, AB racer collected five CASCAR Western Series checkered flags, as well as an outright win in his 100-lap qualifying sprint race at the National event at Race City Motorsport Park in late July.
Additionally, Dowler’s EMCO Taurus was the top-finishing Western regular in both of the 300-lap National / Western Series crossover events at Race City and Sun Valley Speedway, as well as in the 100-lap, full-points sprint race at Sun Valley during the Nat’l / Western Series stop. The Super Series races in Calgary and Vernon were full points events for the Western Series.
Looking back at the season in its entirety, Dowler’s 11th-place finish in the season-opening race at Sun Valley, on May 22, was the lone blemish on an otherwise perfect campaign. After that rough start, he either won or was the top scoring Western Series racer in nine consecutive events.
Winning one championship takes a supreme effort. Earning five is a monumental achievement that requires the commitment and dedication of an army of crew members, sponsors and family members.
“It’s huge to comprehend that we’ve won five championships,” said Dowler of the achievement. “It hasn’t really set in yet, but it’s a big deal. We have a great team and great sponsors. And I really want to let everyone know that I have a great family that gives me the opportunity to do something I love, especially my wife Jackie.”
Even though the 2005 season is barely in the record books, Dowler is already looking ahead to next season when he will be gunning for a sixth Western Series championship.
“We’re running next year, but beyond that, it’s really up in the air. Everyone’s really optimistic about next season. [CASCAR President] Tony Novotny was at our banquet, after the race, and he said things with NASCAR are coming together well for next season.
“There’s a lot of interest in the series, especially when you consider there’s another series out this way that probably won’t be around next season, so it’s only logical for those guys to make the step to CASCAR. And that’s in addition to some other people who are also taking a good look at running with us. But that all hinges on a strong Western Series infrastructure being in place to help it grow.”
For information about Apollo Motorsports, contact Kevin Dowler at: (780) 462-9572 or via e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. // Prepared by Inside Track Communications.