Bakersville March MeetFollow
Dates: 03/01/2018 ‐ 03/04/2018
John Bowser has very strong ties to Auto Club Famoso Raceway that go far beyond being president of the legendary track. He first went to the track in 1959, beginning a lifelong association. John’s first date with his wife of 49 years, Linda, was at Famoso. His brother Bobby worked for and was very close to the late Jack Williams, who ran Famoso from 1995 until his passing in 2006. John’s son Blake helps run the track – he’s the vice president/GM – and works side by side with him on the Kern County Racing Association. The two are producers one of the most famous drag race events of all time, the March Meet, Mar. 6-8, 2009. John also has two daughters, Debbie and Stephanie.
For John, 66, Bakersfield, Famoso, the March Meet and drag racing all play prominent roles in his life. In 1952, John moved to Bakersfield with his family from Camden, N.J., just a few months before the big 7.5 earthquake which wiped out most of the town. “My mother owned a grocery store which was destroyed by the quake. That was a nice ‘welcome to California’ thing for us. When we got here, I thought the West was made up of cowboys and Indians.”
Drag racing entered John’s life when he was going to Bakersfield High School in 1958-59. “All through high school I always helped race track promoters, including Famoso. I sold programs, worked the front gate—I was always there. We kept the gates open 24 hours a day at Famoso. That’s how I learned the business. I worked with the racers, the fans and the promoters. I learned all their needs.”
Auto Club Famoso’s most famous event is the March Meet. Blake calls it “the single largest event in Bakersfield. It helped put Bakersfield on the map. Bakersfield is Buck Owens, Merle Haggard and the March Meet. This year we will be celebrating 51 years of racing at Famoso.”
Working at Famoso was an evolution for my dad and me. We found more and more ways to get involved. We cater to both the racer and fans. Without either one, we’re out of business. We understand what they want and need. We want to make both parties happy.”
So far he’s been a success. Famoso was named winner of “2008 Best Track” award by the Nostalgia Funny Car Association. “It was an honor to win the award,” said Blake. “That’s our motivation. We want to do a lot more for fans and racers at the track. We want to make it bigger and better, but not lose its nostalgic feel. We will continue to improve it.”
Race fuel is available at the tack from M&M Fuels. M&M carries VP Racing brand of race fuels and they are open every event. Contact them for any questions about fuel types 661-978-5404.
Tech inspection is available at most race days and test & tune days. Make sure you completely fill out your tech card. You will be given your car when you enter the gates.
Camping is available during most events. There are no hook-up at the track, but there is plenty of space, and Famoso is famous for some of the parties that go on after the racing stops! Please note that some events charge for over-night camping so check the fine print.