Bowyer Hopes To Get SHR’s First Win At Kentucky

Clint Bowyer & Joey Logano

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is enjoying the best of its 10 years in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018, already winning seven races and putting all four of its Ford Fusions in the top-10 in the standings after 18 races.

No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion driver Clint Bowyer repeatedly says there is “an army” that backs him up each weekend that includes SHR’s drivers, teams, pit crews, executives, shop personnel and corporate partners, plus key competition partners like Ford Performance and Roush-Yates Engines.

But Bowyer also reminds everyone that success starts at the top with SHR’s co-owners Tony Stewart and Gene Haas. All in the racing world know of Stewart’s talents behind the wheel and his influence in overseeing the organization, but Haas also plays a role in SHR’s achievements.

“Gene’s the man,” Bowyer said. “He’s the man who makes it happen at Stewart-Haas Racing. Obviously, everybody knows what Tony brought to the table at this thing. Gene is that rock behind all of us that enables us to go out and perform at our best.”

The world is starting to see that, as well.

Haas formed Haas Automation in 1983 and, in the 35 years since, turned it into the largest machine tool builder in North America with a footprint encompassing more than 60 countries and 1,300 employees. Motorsports has played a key role in that growth, with SHR winning two titles and 46 Cup Series points races. That success led Haas to venture into Formula One in 2016, where in addition to creating the first American team since 1986, he uses the worldwide platform to build Haas Automation into a premium, global brand.

Bowyer said Haas provides his drivers and teams with the tools and expects victories.

“It’s never a question of, ‘What does it take financially or anything else?’” Bowyer said. “It’s, ‘What does it take to win, what does it take to be better, what does it take to find victory lane?’ Those are questions that Gene Haas asks, and that’s it. He doesn’t talk about a good top-10 finish or that you can be proud of a good run. He’ll never say maybe that was a track you struggled at when you run fifth or sixth or something.

“It’s only about winning and winning only. It’s what he does in his industry.”

 

Bowyer said that attitude is contagious throughout SHR’s Kannapolis, North Carolina headquarters, as well as the Haas F1 Team that scored its best-ever finishes July 1 at the Austrian Grand Prix, when its drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen finished fourth and fifth, respectively – an unheard-of result for such a young team.

 

“It bleeds through to his employees and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing,” Bowyer said. “Now you see him embarking on his Formula One ventures. Amazing what he’s done in motorsports the last few years.”

It’s fitting that Bowyer will drive the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion this weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. The paint scheme celebrates the 30th anniversary of Haas Automation’s very first vertical machining center – the industry-leading VF-1. The “V” in the model name stands for vertical – an industry-standard designation for a vertical mill – and Haas added “F1” to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.”

Introduced in 1988 in Chicago, the Haas VF-1 established an industry milestone by being the very first American-built vertical machining center to sell for less than $50,000, an unheard-of price at that time. With a published price of $49,900 – another industry first – the Haas VF-1 quickly became the industry benchmark for affordable CNC technology. Today, the Haas VF-1 still sells for less than $50,000 – in fact, it’s only $46,995 – and Haas Automation is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of CNC machine tools with an extensive lineup of more than 100 high-value, high-performance products.

Bowyer can write his name in the SHR history book this weekend at Kentucky. Despite winning 46 Cup Series races over 10 seasons, SHR has yet to win at Kentucky Speedway or Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Kentucky and Darlington (S.C.) Raceway are the only two Cup Series tracks where Stewart never won a Cup Series race during his historic career that netted 49 victories and three championships.

Bowyer will likely be a factor in the Bluegrass State although he has enjoyed mixed success at the track that hosted its first Cup Series race in 2011. He’s scored the 13th-most points of all active drivers in the seven Cup Series races at Kentucky, highlighted by a third-place finish in 2013. Bowyer has scored the fourth-most points of all drivers in the last five races on a 1.5-mile track.

He arrives in Kentucky after a 22nd-place finish at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway last weekend. Bowyer led two laps and was battling for the lead in overtime when contact from another car ended his race with a hard crash. It also ended a string of three consecutive top-five finishes for the Kansas native.

Daytona is behind him and he’s looking forward to Kentucky, where he’ll be a contender given his recent success and the SHR “army” behind him, along with co-owners Stewart and Haas.

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

 

Do you like going to Kentucky?

 

“Kentucky is a great market and a fun fan base. We don’t get over there very often, so it’s cool to go to Kentucky and see everyone from that part of the country.”

 

 

 

No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Team Report

Round 19 of 36 – Kentucky 400 – Kentucky

Car No. 14: Haas Auomation VF-1 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, 70 top-five finishes, 190 top-10s and 2,691 laps led in 451 Monster Energy 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 andhas 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 Kentucky: He’s earned one top-five finish and one top-10 in seven starts.
  • Bowyer and the No. 14 team tested at Kentucky Speedway on May 15.
  • Bowyer in the 2017 Kentucky 400: Bowyer started 16th and ran in the top-10 until a three-car accident saw Bowyer flat-spot his tires, dropping him to 22nd. He returned to the top-10 but reported a lack of rear grip that dropped him off the lead lap and left him with a 13th-place finish.
  • Kentucky and Talladega (Ala) Superspeedway are the only two tracks on the Cup Series circuit where SHR has yet to win. The team has scored three top-five finishes and eight top-10s at Kentucky.
  • Bowyer and the No. 14 team will test Tuesday on the road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
  • Best Season Ever, So Far: Bowyer’s average finish in 2018 is 10.6. 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.
  • SHR Sweep: SHR’s sweep of first, second and third place June 10 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: 
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
      • 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!

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