Bowyer Really Looks Forward To The Road Course In Wine Country

Clint Bowyer

It’s going to be difficult for Clint Bowyer and his three Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates to top last Sunday’s performance at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Bowyer won his second Monster Energy Cup Series race of 2018 and, for the first time in its history, SHR swept the top three finishing spots – the first 1-2-3 sweep in the Cup Series since Roush-Fenway Racing did it at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on Sept. 21, 2008.

The June 24 Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway is next on the schedule after the Cup Series takes this weekend off to celebrate Father’s Day. Bowyer said it isn’t out of the question for his No. 14 One Cure Ford Fusion and his SHR teammates to put on a repeat performance similar to Michigan at the first of the Cup Series’ two road-course races in 2018.

“I don’t want to jinx myself, but Sonoma is my favorite racetrack,” said Bowyer, who has scored six top-five finishes in the last 10 races in California Wine Country. That’s two more top-five finishes than the next-closest driver Kurt Busch, his SHR teammate, who owns four.

“I love that weekend,” Bowyer continued. “It’s a vacation for everybody involved. It’s a challenging racetrack. I’m good at it. You always look forward to going to tracks you’re good at. We’ve gotten this wave of confidence going at the moment. Hopefully, we can ride off to Sonoma and enjoy some success there, as well.”

Bowyer said he was aware how well he and his teammates were racing at Michigan and throughout the season. All four SHR Fords were in the top-five on the opening lap at Michigan. SHR’s four Fords have led 1,530 of 4,595 laps – 33.2 percent – in 2018 on their way to winning seven Cup Series points races plus the NASCAR All-Star Race. Each driver would be in the NASCAR playoffs were they to start now.

“That’s the coolest thing about it,” Bowyer said. “You’re up there looking in the mirror, even when I was running second, I said to myself, ‘Gosh, this is a moment.’ We’re running 1-2-3 at a track that is an aero track, that’s a horsepower track, it’s a demanding racetrack on your equipment.

“Then, to be able to get there and give each other hugs, be happy, truly, genuinely happy for one another, that’s what it takes. That’s what it takes to push you to another level – working together, the communication, pushing each other each week. It’s not just the drivers. It’s our teams, our crew chiefs, our pit crews, everybody who raises the bar for everybody involved. It’s cool to see.”

But now, SHR’s focus is on Sonoma, where Bowyer finished just .754 seconds behind SHR’s Kevin Harvick in 2017, making it a 1-2 sweep for the team. Busch, the 2011 race winner at Sonoma, and SHR newcomer Aric Almirola are likely to join the Harvick-Bowyer party at the front of the field on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile track.

Bowyer, the former body shop repairman who grew up amid the wheat fields of Kansas, nowhere near a road course, claims not to know why he runs well at Sonoma. But he can easily tick off what a driver must do to be competitive at Sonoma.

“You have to get yourself right,” he said. “That’s the most important thing to get right. Mental attitude is everything. You have to manage that racetrack, that racecar, and manage traffic, make no mistakes, hit your marks, go easy on your throttle and brake pedals. You really have to take care of those four Goodyear tires because those are what are going to take you to victory lane if you take care of them.”

Bowyer’s best moment at Sonoma came in June 2012, when he held off Busch and Tony Stewart, who with Gene Haas co-owns Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford. Bowyer dominated the race by leading 70 of the 112 laps. Defending race-winner Busch was all over the bumper of Bowyer’s car late and got a final shot in a two-lap overtime sprint to the finish. Bowyer raced side-by-side with Busch at the green flag, then cleared Busch and pulled away for the win. Bowyer had to walk to victory lane to celebrate with his crew after his car ran out of gas during the cool-down lap. Stewart passed Busch on the final lap to claim second.

Obviously, Bowyer and the No. 14 team arrive at Sonoma with momentum. Bowyer’s aggressive driving at Michigan and a two-tire stop just laps before rain halted the race after 133 of a scheduled 200 laps gave the team its second victory of the season. The win moved Bowyer to fifth in the season standings and allowed him to join Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. as the only multiple race winners this season.

The Cup Series will enjoy an off weekend this weekend before traveling to California. Not only is an off weekend precious during a 38-race schedule, but it coincides with Father’s Day on Sunday. Bowyer plans to spend it with his father Chris “Pops” Bowyer.

“Father’s Day and the off weekend at the same time – yes!” he said. “You know, Father’s Day will always be about my father. Every time I think of Father’s Day, I think of him. It’s his day. He was always my hero growing up. You can bet I’ll be spending this weekend with him in one way, shape, or form.”

Pops Bowyer will enjoy his children and grandchildren Sunday, but last week’s Michigan victory from his son Clint might be his favorite Father’s Day present this year.

Unless, of course, there’s a repeat in Sonoma.

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is Sonoma race weekend like?

“It’s a fun weekend for everyone in the garage area. It’s almost like vacation, it really is for everybody — the wives, the girlfriends – they all go on wine tours, we get done with practice and have our hands full with a complete mess. Nonetheless, everybody is having a lot of fun.”

 

What is the secret to Ford’s success?

“It is all about people. I am at home here with Ford. It is a family atmosphere. It literally is a family with the Ford family. The Ford Performance organization and program are a ton of fun to work with. They are all in. You want to be with the ones who are investing the most and pushing the hardest to get the results, and I don’t think anyone is doing more than Ford these days.”

Mike Bugarewicz, Crew Chief of the No. 14 One Cure Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is the secret to SHR’s success in 2018?

“Not enough can be said about SHR. Obviously, one through three finishes, all four cars at one point during the race in the top-five, obviously the qualifying effort (Harvick pole) speaks for itself. Man, everybody back at the shop, every person who touches these cars has done such a tremendous job.”

 

One Cure in Sonoma
 

One Cure is a project led by the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The One Cure program is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals.

 

This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer. The center, located in Colorado State’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 130 patients enrolling in carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. The canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope to the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.

 

HR first featured the One Cure initiative on its No. 10 Ford in 2017. This year, it will appear on Bowyer’s No. 14 in several races with the goal of engaging race fans in the program by visitingwww.OneCure.com, where they can learn about the research and to offer financial support, as well as to check out the No. 14 team merchandise.

 

No. 14 One Cure Ford Team Report

Round 16 of 36 – Save Mart 350k – Sonoma

Car No. 14: One Cure Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing

At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (Drew.Brown@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)

Primary Team:

 

Driver: Clint Bowyer

Residence: Emporia, Kansas

 

Crew Chief: Mike Bugarewicz

Hometown: Lehighton, Pennsylvania

 

Car Chief: Jerry Cook

Hometown: Toledo, Ohio

 

Engine Specialist: Matt Moeller

Hometown: Monroe, New York

 

Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Spotter: Brett Griffin

Hometown: Pageland, South Carolina

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Daniel Coffey

Hometown: Granite Falls, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Shannon Myers

Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina

 

Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki

Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania

 

Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

 

Jackman: Ernie Pierce

Hometown: San Diego, California

 

Windshield: Chris Trickett

Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia

Road Crew:

 

Truck Drivers: William “Stump” Lewis and Rob Fink

Hometown: Linkwood, Maryland and Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

 

Engineers: Lee Deese and Chris Chidgey

Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina and Gainesville, Florida, respectively.

 

Mechanics: Tony Silvestri and Rich Letendre

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio and Lowell, Massachusetts, respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Russell Simpson

Hometown: Medford, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Wayne Smith

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Notes of Interest:
  • Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 68 top-five finishes, 188 top-10s and 2,668 laps led in 448 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories.
    • His most recent Cup Series victory came at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 10, 2018)
    • His most recent Cup Series pole came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007).
  • The 2018 season marks the 10th anniversary of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). The Kannapolis, North-Carolina-based team is co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas and has recorded 46 points-paying victories and 39 poles since its inception in 2009. It also owns three non-points victories in the Cup Series and two Xfinity Series victories. Stewart won the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series title and Kevin Harvick gave SHR its second title in 2014. SHR’s Kurt Busch won last year’s Daytona 500, and Harvick has won five times in 2018 while Bowyer owns two victories this season.
  • Bowyer at Sonoma: He’s earned one victory, seven top-five finish and nine top-10s in 12 starts on the road course.
  • Bowyer at Sonoma in 2017: Bowyer started 13th and finished second just .754 of a second behind SHR teammate Harvick. Bowyer started the final stage 32nd but gained 10 positions in the first 10 laps. He climbed to 10th by lap 82 and closed to within a second of Harvick but couldn’t threaten for the victory.
  • SHR has two Cup Series victories at Sonoma (Stewart in 2016 and Harvick 2017) and has seven top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 27 starts. SHR cars have led 134 laps.
  • Roush-Yates Engines powered seven of the top eight finishers Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.
  • Best Season Ever, So Far: Bowyer’s average finish in 2018 is 10.7. His best career average finish at season’s end was 10.9 in 2012 at Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer won three races and finished second in the points that season. His average running position of 10.6 is seventh best in 2018.
  • SHR’s four Fords have led 1,530 of 4,595 laps (33.2 percent) in 2018 on their way to winning seven Cup Series points races plus the NASCAR All-Star Race. Each driver would be in the NASCAR playoffs were they to start this weekend.
  • SHR Sweep: SHR’s sweep of first, second and third place at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn was a first for the organization founded in 2009. It marked the first time a Cup Series team had swept the top-three positions since September 2008 when Roush Fenway Racing swept the podium at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
  • Off-Weekend Motivation: There are only three off weekends on the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series calendar and Bowyer has already won the week before each of the first two. His victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on March 26 preceded the first off weekend and his victory Sunday preceded the second off-weekend. Bowyer is hoping he can complete the trifecta by winning the Aug. 18 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway that precedes the final off weekend of the season.
  • All-Time Victory List: Bowyer’s 10 career victories put him in a 59th-place tie on the all-time wins list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
  • Crew chief Mike “Buga” Bugarewicz is in his third season as a Cup Series crew chief. He oversaw Stewart’s final campaign in 2016 and his pit strategy played a key role in Stewart’s victory at Sonoma in June 2016. Bugarewicz and Bowyer’s first season together in 2017 saw the duo post the 11th-best average finish of all full-time teams. In 2018 they earned their first victory together winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in March. His two-tire call minutes before a caution combined with Bowyer’s aggressive driving at Michigan last Sunday earned the duo its second victory of the 2018 season. The Lehighton, Pennsylvania native served as the lead engineer on SHR’s No. 4 entry in 2014 and 2015. The Penn State University graduate was the only rookie crew chief to be part of the Cup Series playoffs in 2016.
  • Buga Calls: Bugarewicz has made two race-winning strategy calls in his career at SHR. In 2016 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Bugarewicz pitted Stewart from midpack before most of the leaders made their final stop of the race. A caution a few laps later moved Stewart to the front of the field, allowing the three-time champion to put on a classic driving display in a closing-laps battle with Denny Hamlin to win his 49th and final Cup Series race. At Michigan last weekend, he called for a two-tire stop when the rest of the leaders did four, moving Bowyer from third place to first. Bowyer held off a hard-charging Harvick for the win.
  • Bowyer’s Hometown of Emporia, Kansas is about a 90-minute drive southwest of Kansas Speedway. Emporia, with a population of 25,000, is home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College. In 1953, Emporia was the site of the first Veterans Day observance in the United States. At the urging of local shoe cobbler Alvin J. King, U.S. Representative Edward Rees introduced legislation in The United States Congress to rename Armistice Day as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Oct. 8, 1954.
  • Bowyer’s Paternal Grandfather: Dale E. Bowyer was a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. He won the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while fighting the armed enemy in Germany during World War II. The Distinguished Service Cross is the second-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism. While leading his platoon under heavy fire in an attack near Sinz, Germany, on Jan. 25, 1945, Lt. Bowyer was severely wounded by an enemy mine. He refused evacuation even though both feet were shattered. He shouted instructions and encouragement where he lay. Inspired by his bravery, the men re-formed, moved clear of the mine field and continued the advance. Only then did Lt. Bowyer allow himself to be evacuated, crawling clear of the mine field to avoid injury to people. “His devotion to duty and to his men, and his courage and fearless determination, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service,” read the commendation he received. Lt. Bowyer eventually lost a leg due to his injuries. After his career in the Army, he lived in Iola, Kansas, and worked in the dairy business. He passed away in June 1974. Bowyer never met his grandfather.
  • Bowyer’s Best Finishes at SHR (2017-2018):
    • Wins
      • Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
    • 2nd place: 
      • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (May 6, 2018)
      • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24, 2017)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25, 2017)
      • Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1, 2017)
    • 3rd place: 
      • Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (March 26, 2017)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
  • Bowyer’s Stage Victories In 2017
    • Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Stage 2 (July 30, 2017)
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Victories:
    • Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
    • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
    • Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (Oct. 13, 2012)
    • Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (Sept. 8, 2012)
    • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2012)
    • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 23, 2011)
    • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 31, 2010)
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 19, 2010)
    • Richmond International Raceway (May 3, 2008)
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007)
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Poles:
    • New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 14, 2007)
    • Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (May 11, 2007)
  • Bowyer Career Cup Series Points Finishes:
    • 2017 18th
    • 2016 27th
    • 2015 16th
    • 2014 19th
    • 2013 7th
    • 2012 2nd
    • 2011 13th
    • 2010 10th
    • 2009 15th
    • 2008   5th
    • 2007   3rd
    • 2006 17th
  • Bowyer Cup Series Career Stops:
    • 2017- Present Stewart-Haas Racing
    • 2016  HScott Motorsports
    • 2012-2015  Michael Waltrip Racing
    • 2006-2011 Richard Childress Racing
  • Bowyer Xfinity Series Championship:
    • 2008
  • Bowyer Xfinity Series Career Victories:
    • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 26, 2009)
    • Daytona (Fla) International Speedway (July 3, 2009)
    • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (March 15, 2008)
    • Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (May 4, 2007)
    • Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (April 20, 2007)
    • Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 23, 2006)
    • Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park  (Oct. 22, 2005)
    • Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway (June 12, 2005)
  • Bowyer Camping World Truck Series Victories:
    • Kansas (Kan.) Speedway in Kansas City (June 4, 2011)
    • Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (Nov. 12, 2010)
    • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Nov. 3, 2006)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.