RFK’s Collin Bowden Comes Full Circle at Richmond, BuildSubmarines.com

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

Regardless of racing series, drivers often get a sense of pride when they compete at their home track. Rarely, however, does the driver’s home track match the sponsor, a hometown business that they also work at during the week. RFK Racing’s Collin Bowden gets to do just that as the BuildSubmarines.com employee will have the companies’ colors in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at Richmond Raceway.

Collin bowden will have a sense of pride competing at his home track of richmond raceway with his hometown sponsor and employer on his rfk racing car, buildsubmarines. Com.
Collin Bowden at Atlanta Motor Speedway. (Photo by Justin Melillo)

Bowden started working at a submarine manufacturing company, Newport News Shipbuilding, after he graduated high school. The Suffolk, VA native first worked as a mechanic before moving into engineering more recently. BuildSubmarines.com is an initiative to recruit people to the workforce for submarines, and Newport News Shipbuilding is one of the leading places in the country for building submarines.

“I started at Newport News Shipbuilding working on submarines right out of high school when I was 18 and was a mechanic on submarines for roughly nine years,” Bowden explained. “Then I went to the engineering side of it for the last two (years) now. I’ve been there almost 12 years in September.” 

The third-place finisher in eNASCAR’s version of the three-wide photo finish at the Atlanta Motor Speedway thought that the sponsorship was perfect. With RFK Racing already competing in NASCAR’s sanctioned esports series, it provided an unique opportunity for Bowden. He hoped that he could represent the company he worked for at the endemic team that they sponsored in real-life.

“It’s definitely a full circle moment and something that I didn’t see coming at the time,” Bowden admitted. “When I saw the sponsorship happen in real life with RFK, I said, ‘man, that’d be a cool team to drive for on the NASCAR side’ being that I work on submarines there. Just the chance of everything lining up in the off season to end up being able to or RFK finding out that I work on submarines and then being able to align that with the actual BuildSubmarines.com car, that’s a pretty cool story.

“It’s definitely a unique set of circumstances [one] that doesn’t come around too often. It’s just that that opportunity is not there for anyone. It’s like, where I’m clocking in every morning going to work, that’s also the car I’m driving [on Tuesday nights]. You’re always related to the company that’s supplying your livelihood.”

Collin bowden will have a sense of pride competing at his home track of richmond raceway with his hometown sponsor and employer on his rfk racing car, buildsubmarines. Com.
Collin Bowden at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Photo by Justin Melillo)

The alignment of Bowden driving the virtual No. 17 BuildSubmarines.com Ford Mustang Dark Horse came with a little help from his teammate, Timmy Holmes. The driver of the virtual No. 6 Ford returned to RFK after his rookie season in 2023. He mentioned to RFK’s esports team principal that Bowden works for one of the team’s sponsors.

“I believe they either had signed Timmy or were getting ready to sign Timmy,” Bowden recalled. “It was somewhere along that [timeframe]. But it was definitely Timmy Holmes. He helped me get my foot in the door and I wouldn’t be in the car without him, more than likely. I’m definitely thankful for what he did, but he had told the RFK esports representative Elijah Burke that ‘hey Collin works on submarines and I think he would be a good fit.’

“Elijah called me and we just started talking back and forth about ‘yeah, man, I work on that stuff. I think it’d be a good fit.’ “You have the submarine engineer driving the submarine car and then it just kind of took off from there. Once they found that out in a quick little conversation, it was pretty much a done deal there that we were going to make this happen. I remember the first couple of hours of free agency, we had a done deal, and everything was good to go.” 

In addition to Richmond being the home track for both Newport News Shipbuilding and BuildSubmarines.com, it is also Bowden’s home track. The 30-year-old grew up going to ‘The Action Track’ as a kid. The 0.75-mile track is his most attended racetrack on the NASCAR schedule. Now many of those that work with Bowden throughout the week will also get to experience a NASCAR race in person. A hometown company sponsoring a team at their home track adds to the significance of the race weekend to Bowden.

Collin bowden will have a sense of pride competing at his home track of richmond raceway with his hometown sponsor and employer on his rfk racing car, buildsubmarines. Com.
Collin Bowden. (Photo by Justin Melillo)

“It’s definitely going to be special at Richmond next week,” Bowden said. “It’s definitely more important this time around. I grew up going to Richmond, it was the first track I ever went to. I remember my parents taking me up there when I was six, seven years old in the early 2000s. That was the track that I’ve gone to more races at, Richmond, than any other track and now that being kind of the home track for the sponsor.

“BuildSubmarines.com I believe is going to be on [one of the] cars next weekend and a lot of people from where I work are going to be there. It’s a lot of build up now going into Richmond this time around. It means a little more (since) everybody that’s associated with the car or the sponsor is paying attention to next weekend. It’s almost, in the sense, like their Daytona 500.” 

eNASCAR’s first short track of the 2024 season also marks a first for the iRacing series. For the first time in series history, a points paying race will feature two 25-lap heat races in addition to the 70-lap feature. It marks a continuation of eNASCAR building its own identity.

The eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at Richmond is scheduled for Tuesday, March 26, at 8:00 p.m. ET. All eNASCAR races are streamed live at enascar.com/live as well as iRacing’s Twitch, YouTube, and other social media channels.

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