Local Modified racer Steve Bowers Jr. counts last year’s victory in the Steve Bowers Sr. Memorial race at Heartland Park Topeka as one of the biggest wins of his dirt track career.
But Bowers isn’t sure how much he had to do with the win.
“I started out fifth or sixth row, around there, and worked up to the top five,” Bowers said. “With about 10 to 12 laps to go I started to reel in (Cody) Agler.
“He had led that whole race and with about three to go I worked him on the high side and finally got around him. All I’ve got to say is that wasn’t me driving. It was my dad.”
Bowers’ father died after a July 4th, 2009, racing accident at Thunderhill Speedway, and Steve Jr.’s win came in HPT’s first race honoring the memory of Steve Sr.
“It was kind of amazing because he kind of took over the steering wheel and put me in victory lane,” said Bowers, who will be shooting for a repeat in the second annual memorial race Saturday night at HPT. “It was a good night and a blessing from the sky that we ended up winning the race.
“That was probably the best one I ever won right there.”
Bowers was also humbled by the car count and fan attendance for the 2010 event.
“We had a B Feature last year in the A Modifieds and also in the B Mods,” he said. “All the fans were going wild, and that’s what I like to see there. That’s all my dad would have liked to have seen is the support of him. It was pretty cool for me to be there.”
Saturday’s race will feature a $1,000 prize to win in the Modified class, $400 in B Mods, $350 in Factory Stock and $225 in Pure Stock. Spectator gates will open at 6 p.m. with hot laps at 6:45 and racing at 7:30.
Steve Jr. would have to be on the short list of top Modified contenders Saturday after dominating the division and winning the HPT track championship last season.
Bowers, who debuted a new car at the start of the season, is currently fifth in points, but happy with the way he’s running.
“Our car’s working a little bit,” he said. “We had some bad luck at the beginning of the season, but we worked it out and have picked up some wins. We’re going pretty good.”
Bowers also operates a chassis-building business and is pleased with how those cars are performing.
“My other SB cars are going in the right direction — they’ve got some wins, too,” Bowers said. “All the SB cars that race here all have a win this year.
“It kind of makes it cool when you see your own car win out there. If I run second behind my car, that’s like a win for me. We all go celebrate.”