By Mary Lendzion
The moment Cameron Bowles climbed into the driver’s seat of his grandfather Don Bowles’ Maverick, he showed that he was completely capable of being competitive in the famous car known as Little Coal Digger VII.
He handled low 9-second passes with the help of a small-block Ford built by Roush and freshened by Phillip Oakley, and he even hauled to the NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp championship in 2019. And now, his grandfather is giving him the opportunity to drive his other famous car, the notchback Mustang nicknamed Unfinished Business that he campaigned in NMCA FST Carburetors NA 10.5.
“We had been talking about my driving the Mustang after I got some seat time in the Maverick,” said Cameron, whose father is multi-time champion Donnie Bowles, who competes in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp and NMRA Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle. “I’ve always wanted to go faster.”
With his father and grandfather behind him, Cameron made a series of somewhat soft passes in the Mustang, which features a chassis by Matukas Motorsports and an FR9 engine by Phillip Oakley, last fall at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky.
“My father and grandfather were both telling me that if the wheels spin, get off the gas pedal,” said Cameron. “In fact, my father went so far as to say, ‘If the wheels spin, don’t you dare get back on the gas pedal,’ and I figured I better listen or he might not let me get back in the car,” said Cameron. “My grandfather was also telling me that I have to be ready for whatever in that car.”
Cameron will drive the Maverick in ARP Open Comp at the 26th Annual Nitto NMRA Spring Break Shootout, Feb. 27-March 1 at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida, and in MagnaFuel Open Comp at the 18th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem presented by Holbrook Racing Engines, March 5-8, also at Bradenton Motorsports Park. He hopes to begin driving the Mustang, which will be set up for him by Matukas Motorsports, in FST Carburetors NA 10.5 at the 12th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals, April 2-5 at Atlanta Dragway. From there, he hopes to race in MagnaFuel Open Comp in the Maverick and FST Carburetors NA 10.5 in the Mustang at all or most NMCA events, and in ARP Open Comp in the Maverick at all or most NMRA events.
“It will be a challenge to race two cars in two different categories, but I really want to give it a try, and as long as we’re making progress, that’s all that matters,” said Cameron. “I appreciate the opportunity to drive the Mustang, which as you know, is named Unfinished Business, and well, I’d like to get out there and try to finish some business.”
Joining Cameron at the season-opening NMRA and NMCA events will be his Roush teammates and fellow racers Susan Roush McClenaghan and Bobby Barrick. His father, Donnie Bowles, will join them at a later event.