CONCORD, N.C. (February 25, 2012) – The 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series began with a great run for RAB Racing’s No. 99 Florida Lottery Toyota Camry in the DRIVE4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Alex Bowman was able to navigate numerous multi-car incidents earning him a third-place finish, both his and RAB Racing’s highest ever at the famed superspeedway.
Sporting the yellow and white paint scheme of the Florida Lottery, Bowman’s eighth-place qualifying effort on Friday earned him the highest starting position of any Nationwide Series rookie on the grid. The 19-year-old veteran hailing from Tucson, A.Z. took the green flag Saturday for his first Nationwide Series race at Daytona.
Bowman proved Saturday that the No. 99 Florida Lottery Toyota Camry was fast, whether pack-racing or utilizing the two-car tandem. “I worked great with Parker Kligerman, my Toyota Racing teammate,” said Bowman. “It was kind of hard to get people to work with me, but I think that’s just part of being a rookie. We pushed really well. I mean, heck, I pushed guys like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. It’s really an honor for me to get to race with those guys. It was a lot of fun.”
Following a late-race caution, crew chief Chris Rice made the call for fuel only, which put the No. 99 in front of the 13-car accident which occurred on Lap 117. Bowman set up for the green-white-checker finish in the eighth position. As the field made its way to the start-finish line on the final lap, a violent wreck erupted. In an effort to avoid the incident, Bowman darted into the frontstretch grass. Though his Toyota Camry suffered extensive damage, Bowman completed the race in the third position.
“I just have to thank everybody at RAB Racing,” said Bowman. “They gave me a great Toyota Camry. It was awesome to have Florida Lottery and Windows 8 on the car, but I just hope all of the fans are okay. I saw the fence there and I’ve heard that there’s some fans injured and I’m just sorry for all of those fans out there. My prayers are with their family and themselves. I’m just ready to move on to Phoenix and go out there and race short track style and not have deal with the two-car tandem.”
The next stop for the NASCAR Nationwide Series will be Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, March 2, 2012. Bowman heads to his hometrack second in the Nationwide Series point standings, only one point behind the leader, Sam Hornish, Jr.