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Aug 06, 2014 - 03:20 PM
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M1 Racing's Bowlin Has Challenging Weekend at Mid-Ohio
Posted by: newsla on Aug 06, 2014 - 03:15 PM
Sports Cars
M1 Racing's Bowlin Has Challenging Weekend at Mid-Ohio

At an event where one car was destroyed in qualifying and others returned to their transporters after the races with significant damage, M1 Racing's Walt Bowlin survived with relatively minor damage from a couple of spins last weekend in a Pirelli World Challenge doubleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.


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A deluge that caused Saturday's race to end abruptly under a red flag with 19 laps down created all sorts of havoc for the competitors, include Bowlin, a series rookie who drives the Tampa Bay Jaw Surgery #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra. He spun in Turn 1 when two drivers brake-checked in front of him, and then spun again a little later in the same turn. He came in for rain tires under green-flag conditions and ended up 11th in the GT-A class in the final rundown.

Sunday's race was dry, but unfortunately Bowlin spun in Turn 11 shortly after the standing start. He spun on the frontstretch a little later because he had broken a left-front wheel bearing in the first spin. He ended up 11th in class again in the final race results.

"We knew Mid-Ohio would be challenging," Bowlin said. "We know it's a very, very difficult track with very low grip levels. We also knew that if it rained it would be impossible! The track is pretty much undriveable in the rain.

"The weekend started out tough because we chased the set-up on the first day. The second day we found the set-up and just needed track time. Unfortunately we only had one session for 45 minutes, which did not enable us to put in consistent laps.

"Qualifying was 15 minutes and in that short time span it was difficult to get a rhythm with the new set-up.

"Race 1 was going relatively well until I spun in Turn 1, and then the rain came.

"We were optimistic about Sunday, figuring it would be dry and we would get a lot of laps and put some times down. The race started with a pile-up going into Turn 1 and bits and pieces of car and debris were flying all over.

"At the end of the first lap I spun coming off the last turn in an area which had been a pretty much solid turn for me all weekend. We are still trying to find out what caused the spin, because it was in a very unusual area. As a result of my spin a Dodge Viper broke my wing and completely separated his wing from his car. We also broke a left-front wheel bearing.

"I pitted and changed tires thinking it was a flat-spot on the tires, but at 141 miles per hour the vibration was so extreme the car was not controllable. That ended our day.

"It was a very difficult weekend and we understood we would have these entering into a new series with a new car. The team worked hard to get the car correct for me and they did on the second day. I want to thank the M1 team for their work. We will be back at it in September at Miller Motorsports Park."

The car is available to rent for qualified, funded drivers for the next event at Sonoma, Calif. Aug. 23-24; contact M1 Racing owner Paul Mata at pmata77@gmail.com for more information.

Bowlin will be behind the wheel of the car at the season finale Sept. 12-13 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

The World Challenge races at Mid-Ohio will air on the NBC Sports Network Sunday, Aug. 10 at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, with a re-run at midnight on Saturday, Aug. 16. They're available on world-challengeTV.com after the initial broadcast too.

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