Eric Bowling: April Blog
Hello my name is Eric Bowling, first and foremost let me take a second to thank Luke and Thisisbracketracing.com for this great opportunity to be a part of the Member Spotlight. Also I would like to give a huge thanks to APD and all of the GREAT SPONSORS for helping the “little guy” get some recognition and an opportunity that wouldn’t likely be available without your and Luke’s efforts. So thank you all for the opportunity and hopefully I will prove worthy to be a part of this great program.
So as I said above my name is Eric Bowling and I am from Bloomington, Indiana. I currently compete in weekly bracket programs in the “Box” and “No Box” classes and will be following some Big Buck “No Box” Races. I have been bracket racing since 1998. I have always been a part of some sort of motorsports as I used to race Motorcross every weekend. I was pretty decent on two wheels but nowhere near what I had to be in order to make real money doing it, after several broken bones I finally came to my senses that there is no money to be made racing motorcross. That’s when I became interested in Drag Racing. In 1998 I made my debut in my daily driven street 1969 Camaro. The car still had a 4 speed in it and ran 9.20’s, the first race I entered being a trophy class I won and every since then I’ve been hooked. My drag racing operation, I’m sure is a lot different than most but when I go racing I don’t go to impress anyone and trust me my rig is less than impressive. I race to PROFIT, not just race to make money. As you read my monthly updates you will soon find out that I am very out spoken so I apologize in advance. I hope you enjoy my column.
Myself and some guy name Scotty Richardson in the Winners Circle at Lyons Raceway Park
The Rig: Consists of a 1999 Chevy Silverado Pickup with 200,000 miles on it and a 2003 model year open trailer. I have a truck tool box that contains all tools and spare parts I feel I need in case of issues at the track, oh and let’s not forget my weather station which was a big purchase at Wal-Mart that cost me around $2.00. It consists of a temperature dial gauge along with a humidity dial gauge. My tool box contains such items as a spare alternator, starter, zip ties, duct tape, fuses, switches, and rocker arms studs. Also I have mounted in the car a jump box, these are items I feel are the most commonly needed.
The Car: This is a very important piece of equipment for me. Not only because it is my race car but it has great sentimental value to me as well. It is a 1969 Camaro Z/28. Yes it is a real “Z”. It is an X33 code car, came with the DZ 302 and Muncie 4 speed. Why so sentimental? This car was purchased by my father in January of 1977 he was the second owner on it and he gave $2800.00 for it. I was born in December of 1976 my dad put my name on the title when I was only 2 months old. The Camaro was my first car when I turned 16 and my dad had a plate made for it that said “Erics Z”. I have been offered large amounts of money for the car only to tell them thanks but no thanks. My father passed away in October of 1995 of a heart attack. My dad and I used to go to the track to watch and my dad even made a few passes in the Camaro every now and then. Since my dads passing, the car has become a full time race car. I feel like this day in age the car is safer out on the track than out on the roads. You don’t know how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t believe you’ve done that to that car” Just for the record I haven’t done anything to the car that can’t be undone and quite honestly believe my dad wouldn’t have it any other way. I have had different race cars but the Camaro just feels like home.
The Setup: I run a 383ci small block chevy engine, 400 Turbo Tranny, 5800 stall Coan 8” converter, 750 carb, 3.73 gear. This is a completely different engine combo than I am used to as I have always ran a 406ci sbc so it will take a little getting used to. Suspension, is basically stock setup with leaf springs and Slidealinks, out back and some Koni front shocks, and can’t forget that I run Mickey Thompson 29.5x10.50W’s.
Time Slip: 60’ 1.50-1.51, 330’ 4.60’s, ET 7.30’s, MPH 93ish.
The Crew: This is probably the most important piece to my racing puzzle. My crew consists of my beautiful wife Amy who also races and has loaded me on more than one occasion and she understands how important racing is to me and doesn’t say a single word when I am gone all weekend racing. My beautiful 2 year old daughter that has racing in her blood, and always comes running when she hears daddy’s race car. When she was a baby the only way we could get her to go to sleep was to play a CD with racing engine noises. The final piece of my puzzle is my father in law Don Cain, he helps me maintain the car and builds all of my engines, he is great at what he does and my success wouldn’t be what it is without his help and efforts.
My wife Amy, Daughter Bella and myself in the winners Circle
(Myself, wife Amy, and Father in law and Engine Builder Don Cain in the Winners Circle in my wifes car)
Myself, Daughter Bella and Wife Amy taking a weekend off to spend with Mickey Mouse in Orlando
As I said before I am a very low budget racer therefore anything I don’t have to pay for is a great savings. Every year I put together my resume and send them out to companies to try to get either free product or discounts on parts and aquire new “marketing partners”. This year really paid off as I was in the need for a new engine I got a hold of Ohio Crankshaft and we worked out a deal that they would fix me up with a free rotating assembly. Mickey Thompson has been a great asset to my racing operation as well as they have been on board with me since 2007, tires alone saves me $1500 a season as I go through 3 sets a season. So between Mickey Thompson and Ohio Crankshaft they have saved me over $3000.00 for the season, not counting my other marketing partners, RaceonE85.com who takes care of all my carb needs, Spy Optics who gives me sunglasses, Skaggs Transmission who does all of my Trannys for no cost, Prestolite Performance who distributes Mr. Gasket, Accel, Lakewood, and Mallory Products, and Don Cain (father in law) who builds all of my engines. I have sent thousands of resumes out just hoping to get something and sometimes you get a whole lot and sometimes you get nothing at all, so take what you can get but you have to put a lot of work into your proposals. Luke actually touched on this subject in a couple columns and trust me, he has it figured out. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t hear anything, just keep plugging away.
Ok, so I know I have been long winded but just wanted to make sure to introduce myself the best I could, hopefully I touched on just about every aspect on my racing operation. The one thing I didn’t touch on is my current season, well to be quite honest my season here in Indiana hasn’t quite kicked off yet so hopefully next time I will be able to give you some results and stories and not talk so much about myself. Thanks again for reading, be sure to follow me and be sure to vote, and if there is anything you would like to hear more about please feel free to post something in the TIBR forum and I would be more than happy to do it.
So I’d like to end this and every column with thanking those who have made this opportunity possible and those that help me on a weekly basis APD, K&N, Nitroplate, J&J, and thisisbracketracing.com, thanks so much for what you are doing it is truly a great thing. And my marketing partners and crew, Mickey Thompson Tires, Ohio Crankshaft, Spy Optic, RaceonE85.com, Skaggs Transmission, Prestolite Performance, My wife Amy, daughter and biggest fan Bella, Don Cain, and my mom. Thanks again for reading everyone!