Vice President/GM, Auto Club Famoso Raceway and producer of the March Meet
Blake Bowser readily admits: “I’m a drag racing fan first. I was raised as a fan.”
Truer words were never spoken because Blake, the vice president and general manager of Auto Club Famoso was literally raised at the track. Thanks to his dad, John (the president of Famoso), Blake’s first exposure to racing was when he was two years old. “I was at Lions Drag Strip hanging out at a souvenir stand. I remember helping out at Famoso at age seven by selling programs. I went from picking up trash at the track to being a track operator. Call it on-the-job training. Racing jobs are the only jobs I’ve ever had. They are not like real jobs—I have way too much fun.”
Bowser, 41, and his dad are the tag team who also run the Kern County Racing Association, as well produce one of the most famous drag race events of all-time, the March Meet, Mar. 6-8, 2009. For Blake, Famoso, the March Meet and drag racing have played a major part of his life.
Blake is Bakersfield born and bred. He went to South High School, then graduated from Bakersfield Community College. He received a BS in Business and a BA in Liberal Studies from Cal State University Bakersfield and put that knowledge to work 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.”
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.”
Blake is on the board of the Bakersfield Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. He also worked at a handicapped children’s camp for 12 years, first as a counselor, then the camp director. He’s been on the board of the Society for Disabled Children for 18 years.
Blake and his wife Annika have two girls: Ande and Bryn.