Bowling, who like Hensley is from Ridgeway, has seen more races at the famous half-mile speedway than he can recall.
“I grew up watching races here,” Bowling said. I’ve probably been to more races at that place than anybody (starting the race). I’ve been to a lot over there and I think that all helps and makes me want to get it that much more.”
Bowling is coming off his second track championship at South Boston Speedway and hopes that momentum will carry over for his No. 83 team.
“The last time we were coming off the track championship we about won the race, so hopefully we can do it,” he said. “The last three weekends we’ve gotten wins. We won at South Boston, Motor Mile and then South Boston again, so I feel like we’ve got a lot of momentum on our side.”
For Bowling to have a shot at the famous grandfather clock trophy, he first has to still be in the race as the laps wind down. On a race day that will feature more 80 of Late Model Stock Car racing’s best drivers, he knows that will be no small task.
“We’ve just got to make the right calls and right adjustments to be there at the end,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing; just be there at the end and not have any bad luck.”
Bowling wants to win not only for himself, but for the community that supports him.
“I’ve got so many local sponsors that help me,” he said. “It’s a great group of people that believe in me and support me. I can’t thank them enough and definitely want to bring it home for them.”
Race day will start at noon with three 25 lap heat races and one “last chance” heat to set the field, followed by the 200 lap feature, with a break at lap 150 and a “blind draw” invert.
Last year Lee Pulliam took the lead in the closing laps and held on for his second Martinsville win.