By Mary Lendzion
On the day Cameron Bowles climbed into the driver’s seat of his grandfather Don Bowles’ Maverick, “Little Coal Digger VII,” a few years ago, he told himself that he was ready to fly in the famous car.
He began proving it, round by round, in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp, and that’s when it became clear that he was a championship-caliber driver, like his grandfather, Don, who was most recently in the spotlight in NMCA FST Carburetors NA 10.5, and father, Donnie, who is in the spotlight in NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp and NMRA Exedy Racing Clutches Modular Muscle.
By all accounts, Cameron has just completed his most successful race season yet in the car cruising to low 9s with a small-block Ford built by Roush and freshened by Phillip Oakley. He qualified in the eleventh spot with an .022 reaction time and defeated Mike Roup to earn a trip to the Aerospace Components Winner’s Circle at the first race on this year’s NMCA schedule, the 17th Annual NMCA Muscle Car Mayhem in March at Bradenton Motorsports Park in Florida.
He then led the list of qualified drivers with a .004 reaction time, and several rounds later, finished as the runner-up against Kelly Pierce at the 11th Annual Scoggin-Dickey Parts Center NMRA/NMCA All-Star Nationals presented by Mahle Motorsport in April at Atlanta Dragway.
An .019 reaction time helped him qualify in the eighth spot, and later, he achieved another event win, this time against Susan Roush McClenaghan, at the Inaugural Comp Cams NMCA Memphis Homecoming in May at Memphis International Raceway. Cameron, of Kentucky, recorded an .029 at the hit to qualify in the fourteenth spot, and turned on the red light against Kevin White in the second round of eliminations at the 14th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing in July at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois. He was even quicker with an .012 at the hit to qualify in the fourteenth spot, and broke out against Kevin White in the second round of eliminations at the 18th Annual NMCA All-American Nationals in August at Summit Motorsports Park in Ohio.
While he didn’t qualify as well as he had hoped he would at the final NMCA event of the year, the 18th Annual NMCA World Street Finals presented by Chevrolet Performance in September at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indiana, he went four rounds before exiting against Chuck Hockenberry. With that, the hardworking Cameron hauled to the 2019 NMCA MagnaFuel Open Comp championship.
“I’m just completely overwhelmed, and it’s still sinking in a little bit every day that I’m the Open Comp champion,” said Cameron. “It’s a very competitive class, and I had to really focus and really try to keep my head in the right place, and luckily, I had help from a great crew and a great group of people.”
The NMCA family is preparing to celebrate Cameron at the NMCA Muscle Car Nationals presented by E3 Spark Plugs Awards Ceremony presented by Aerospace Components, Dec. 13 at the Indiana Convention Center.
(Please watch for stories on all NMCA champions to be posted on the NMCA and Race Pages Digital websites and in Fastest Street Car in the days to come).