Jr. Dragster champion Braden Bowden, Mr. 8.90 himself, is the featured racer in this month’s Midwest Bracket Racing update from Ryan Fasano.
As a parent, the most we can hope for is that our children grow up to be healthy, responsible and successful young adults. Congratulations are in-order for Ann & Dominic Bowden as their son Braden is becoming just that. Braden is a 13 year old Jr. Dragster competitor from Channahon, Illinois.
A Champion at Heart
Braden was voted #4 in DragChamp’s 2019 Jr. Dragster Top 10 List. At a young age Braden has sampled the sweet taste of success in his 2013 Half Scale swingarm dragster. Braden currently claims track championships for the Jr. Sportsman class at Route 66 Raceway, along with two Midwest Jr. Series titles, both in 2019. “Mr. 8.90” claimed 2 wins at St. Louis, a runner-up, and two semifinals to go with a runner-up in Indy this year.
An Early Start
NHRA changed the rules the year Braden was 7 to allow that age to earn licenses. He wasted no time becoming the first to receive the license. In 2016, his 2nd full year of running full time competition, Braden hoisted the 11.90 Jr. Sportsman track championship at Route 66 Raceway.
In 2017 the family decided to move him to the 8.90 Index category where admittingly they struggled to find the right combination. It didn’t take the team comprised of Braden’s father Dominic and mother Ann to find the winner circle. In 2018 they began to hit their stride winning races around the Midwest.
A Dominating Season
In 2019, the family decided to put the focus solely on Braden’s racing program. Braden didn’t fall far from the tree as Dominic Bowden is a force to be reckoned with in his Super Pro dragster. The family chose to dedicate the year mainly to the Midwest Jr. Series which travels to racetracks such as US131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, and Byron Dragway in Byron, Illinois.
The decision turned out to be a devastating one for his competition. When the smoke cleared, Braden could barely hold up the hardware he had won. At the last race of the series Braden had to race the 2nd place competitor Hayden Summers in the semifinals. Summers edged out Braden but could not close the deal in the final giving Braden the title by 8 points in 8.90 Index. Later in the night he closed out his second championship in the 10-12 age group in less dramatic fashion posting a points total double that of the 2nd place finisher.
Doing it the Hard Way
Dominic and Ann are both proud parents and they don’t need to say it, it shows. They value the importance of Braden being able to do basically everything but start the car on his own. He checks his own tires, changes his own oil and fuels the car.
The team also values school grades. All this racing is possible because of Braden’s grade point average. As I have learned the car gets parked if the grades go by the wayside, as a parent of young children I’m taking notes.
It takes a Team
All these championships wouldn’t be possible without great equipment and people behind them. The Bowden Family would personally like to thank Mike and Zach Lewis for help tuning the car and Braden’s sponsors which include Winning Colors Powder & Header Coatings, New Lenox Napa Auto Parts and Manhattan Collision Center.
About the Author: Ryan Fasano is a Division 3 bracket racer who competes weekly at Byron Dragway in Illinois. Competing in the Box class, Ryan captured the 2014 Track Championship at Byron. Like a true weekend warrior, he eats, breathes, and sleeps with bracket racing on his mind. Look for more Midwest Bracket Racing updates from Ryan on DragChamp. Click here to connect with Ryan on Facebook.