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ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Jason Bowles and rookie Paulie Harraka came away as winners in the final race of the NASCAR Camping World Series West season at All American Speedway on Saturday night.
Harraka led 149 of 150 laps en route to winning the Toyota/Copart 150, while Bowles came away with a fourth-place finish to clinch the 2009 series championship.
Bowles came into the season finale needing only to finish 16th or better to wrap up his first title in his third year of competing in the series. Eric Holmes, who posed the only threat to Bowles coming into the event, was involved in an early incident and was never a factor.
Bowles dodged that same Turn 1 incident that involved Holmes, nearly coming to a stop and swerving wide around the spinning cars. Although he avoided contact, it left Bowles outside of the top 10 and battling heavy traffic to move forward.
The 26-year-old Bowles is in his third full season in the NASCAR Camping World Series West. He finished third in points and won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in 2007, and was runner-up to Holmes last year.
Harraka, meanwhile was enjoying a return to the third-mile facility where he won a track championship in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division a year ago. His biggest threat came from another local favorite, Eric Schmidt, who also holds claim to a late model championship at the Roseville track. Schmidt moved from eighth on the grid to second in the first 60 laps. He mounted several challenges, edging out front on one restart; but could not keep pace in the closing laps as Harraka pulled away to a winning margin of 2.774 seconds.
It marked the second win in three races for Harraka, a member of the Drive for Diversity program who entered the event focused on wrapping up the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
Following Harraka and Schmidt across the finish line were Greg Pursley, Bowles and Moses Smith. Rounding out the top 10 were Brett Thompson, Jim Warn, Chris Johnson, Jim Inglebright and Martin McKeefery.
The event concluded a 13-race season for the West’s oldest stock car circuit.
With the 2009 season complete, the next racing event on the schedule for NASCAR Camping World Series teams will be the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown on Jan. 29-30, 2010 in Toyota Speedway at Irwindale (Calif.). Bowles and Harraka already had secured spots in the Showdown by virtue of wins earlier this year.
Bowles and the rest of the NASCAR touring series champions will be honored at the Touring Series Gala in Concord, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 14.
Below, Paulie Harraka takes the checkered flag at All American Speedway for his second win of the season. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for NASCAR