Fowler Passes Passion onto Son, Drives for Five in a Row; Allen Turner PLMs Back for Another 100 Lapperadmin
|Fowler Passes Passion onto Son, Drives for Five in a Row; Allen Turner PLMs Back for Another 100 Lapper
By Chuck Corder
Peel through the photos on Brannon Fowler’s Facebook page and it’s clear to see where his focus lies.
There’s a shot of Fowler practicing on the back stretch of Five Flags Speedway under the watchful eye of a 12-year-old in a T-shirt with “Crew Chief” emblazoned on the back. The Molino driver’s header photo shows Fowler working on his legendary white-and-black No. 00 Sportsman with that same, undersized crew chief tightening down equipment as he sits inside the guts of the car.
Whether they are in Victory Lane celebrating another win or at home relaxing, nearly every picture on Fowler’s social media is of him and his crew chief, who just so happens to be Fowler’s son Collin. In fact, the Fowler boys—along with Brannon Fowler’s father, Glenn—are pretty much inseparable.
“It makes me feel proud, knowing he has passion for something and especially racing,” said Brannon Fowler, who works as a plumber at the Ascend Performance Materials plant in Cantonment. “This day and age, kids live in video games and the technology world. He has taking an interest in something like this and, hopefully, he’ll apply it to his own life when he’s working on his own cars or trucks.
“He’ll even practice welding sometimes. You’ve gotta learn how to strike an arc before you’re turned loose on a racecar.”
One of the cornerstones of short-track racing is passing the sport down to the next generation. The Fowlers are among several families that embody that spirit and compete at Five Flags Speedway. Brannon, Glenn, and, of course, Collin will be back at it again Friday night at the famed half-mile asphalt oval.
“It means a lot to (Glenn Fowler) to see it passed down to the younger generation,” Brannon Fowler said of his father. “He loves seeing that Collin has a genuine interest and passion for it.”
Brannon Fowler, 40, will look for his fifth consecutive victory to start the 2021 season Friday when The Dock on Pensacola Beach Sportsmen (25 laps) join the Allen Turner Pro Late Models (100), Modifieds of Mayhem (50), and Lloyd’s Glass Pure Stocks (20).
The grandstands open at 5 p.m. Friday and admission are as follows: adults $15; seniors, military, and students $12; and children ages 11-and-under free. The PLMs and Mods will qualify at 7 p.m. Friday with racing slated for 8 approximately.
Matt Craig won the PLM opener last month and is expected back for the second Allen Tuner Pro Late Model 100 this week. He has a long way to go to match the level of success Fowler has enjoyed at Five Flags Speedway this season and before.
Fowler’s four straight wins means there is a $250 bounty up for grabs for any driver that can beat him. No one collected it last week because Fowler not only won but got the victory from the tail end of the field after friend Mark Montgomery sweetened the pot with an extra $100.
Sponsored by Premier Tenting, Deering Custom Cabinets, and All that Shines, Fowler owns four track championships at Five Flags and multiple more at Mobile International Speedway. He won a Pure Stocks title in 2007 at Pensacola’s high banks before ascending into the Sportsmen class where Fowler found a home. He won back-to-back Sportsmen crowns (2012-2013) and added another in 2017.
“What helps me the most is looking at the season in Individual weeks—every week is a new week,” Fowler said. “Once our race nights are over, our focus the next day shifts to what do we need to do to the car to get it ready for the next week.”
After the 2017 season, Fowler decided to test his mettle in the Proxy Equipment Pro Trucks series. Unfortunately, he couldn’t repeat his Sportsmen success and experienced plenty of potholes throughout 2018.
“There were some frustrating nights where it didn’t go as we thought it should,” Fowler said. “But we knew what we were up against from a financial aspect and, really, it just came down to wanting to try something different.”
The Five Flags faithful didn’t see much of Fowler the last two years until he showed back up in another No. 00 Sportsmen last August.
It quickly seemed like old times, as Fowler went out and won his first race back. He finished third at the Sportsmen Snowball Derby and has been on a rail in 2021. Fowler seems unfazed by the bounty and all the talented drivers that it will attract.
“As any racer will tell you, you’ve gotta have a certain amount of luck on your side to win one race, much less four,” he said. “My mindset always is to go out there and win. That’s my top priority and we’ll let the points fall where they do. The more cars the better.”
It’s easy to be confident when you have the best crew chief a father could ask for.
“School always comes first and foremost,” Brannon Fowler said of Collin. “Any free time he has, though, he’s all-in for sure. He helps with spotting and on the headset. He helps me pick out our tires. Anything I ask him to do, he’s certainly willing to jump right in.
“At this age, he’s just like a sponge. He is taking it all in and not forgetting it.”
It’s no wonder why. What son would ever want to forget these special moments with his dad?