Remember comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s joke about the famous last words of a “redneck?”
“Hey y’all, watch this!”
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is certainly an expert on racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and, admittedly, he’s witnessed his fare share of redneck behavior in his lifetime, the kind referred to by Foxworthy. So, take Bowyer’s word when he says that what the world’s best stock car drivers will do during Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway isn’t nearly as easy as it looks.
“I saw something on Twitter after that wreck that we had in Kansas with Aric Almirola and Danica (Patrick) and Joey Logano, and it was captioned, ‘Do you still think that you could do this just like you’re driving down a highway?’” Bowyer said with a laugh. “I mean, people forget that we’re going upwards of 200 miles an hour on racetracks and that it is very dangerous.”
Bowyer, who finished the 2007 Daytona 500 upside down, on fire and uninjured, said the exponential advances in safety might be luring people into believing the sport has become 100-percent safe. But accidents like he described in Kansas and the hard hits suffered by Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway remind you that danger element is never far away.
Apart from the danger, it’s also a physically demanding job.
“You don’t see that week-in and week-out, and maybe every week you don’t see that, but when you do see it, it reminds you just how dangerous this sport is,” Bowyer said. “And then the heat element of it, the duration of it, the endurance of the races, everything that goes into it. Hey, do we have to go out and run a marathon or bench press 500 pounds to do what we do? No, but you do have to be conditioned just like any other athlete does for his or her profession.”
Given the danger and demands, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Bowyer and others shy away from the sport after a while.
“Are you kidding?” he said. “I wouldn’t want do anything else in life. My life is either racing, talking about racing, watching racing or traveling to racing.”
day’s race is one of four restrictor-plate events held each year and often results in the multicar accidents sure to make ESPN’s SportsCenter or local news highlights in the days following the race. A 17-car accident on lap 127 triggered by other drivers caused Bowyer’s bid for a Daytona 500 victory to end with a trip to the garage, leaving him with a 32nd-place finish.
The Daytona 500 in February marked his debut with SHR, replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart. Since the debut, Bowyer enjoyed mostly good times at SHR, posting three top-five finishes and six top-10s, including a second-place finish last weekend on the road course at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. The No. 14 Ford team, led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz, is 11th in points. The team’s goal is a victory to earn one of 16 berths in the NASCAR playoffs that begin in September.
Bowyer has good chance to do that Saturday night at Daytona. He’s earned three top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and has led a total of 153 laps in his 23 career Cup Series starts at Daytona. The Emporia, Kansas native also won the July 2009 Xfinity race there. While he hasn’t won at Daytona in a Cup Series race, he has won two races at Daytona’s sister track Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
Hopefully for Bowyer and his team, that victory will come Saturday night.
Who knows, he might even make it look easy.
|CLINT BOWYER, driver of No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Do you get mad when you are in an accident?
“There is a lot of emotion in our sport. Again, the sport’s dangerous. Tracks are different. We have short tracks. We have mile-and-a-half tracks. We have restrictor-plate tracks where we see cars flying through the air like lawn darts. You just have a different variety of situations you’re in all the time throughout the year, so sometimes the level of – I guess call it – fear, call it whatever you want, changes your emotion as you get out of a wreck or something like that. If it was something that somebody put you in harm’s way, that honestly could have hurt you badly or even potentially killed you, the level of anger and emotion is definitely different.”
|Team Report for the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion
Round 17 of 36 – Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola – Daytona
|Car No. 14: No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (704-498-7596 or Drew.Brown@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
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, S.C.
Front Tire Changer: Ira Jo Hussey
Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire
Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell
Hometown: Windham, Maine
Rear Tire Changer: Chris McMullen
Hometown: Canton, Michigan
Rear Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki
Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener
Hometown: Fortuna, California
Jackman: Getty Cavitt
Hometown: Owensboro, Kentucky
Windshield: Justin Peiffer
Hometown: Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Truck Drivers: William “Stump” Lewis and Rob Fink
Hometown: Linkwood, Maryland and Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.
Engineers: Lee Deese, Chris Chidgey and Kenny Oates
Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina, Gainesville, Floridaand Huntersville, North Carolina, 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
- Saturday’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 414th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and 24th Cup Series start at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, where he has three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s and has led 153 laps.
- Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 61 top-five finishes, 173 top-10s and 2,351 laps led in 413 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories. He is 11th in the Cup Series standings after 16 races.
- His most recent Cup Series victory came at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (Oct. 13, 2012).
- His most recent Cup Series pole came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007).
- Tony Stewart and Gene Haas co-own Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), which has recorded 38 victories and 33 poles since its inception in 2009. Stewart won the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series title and Kevin Harvick gave SHR its second title in 2014. SHR’s Kurt Busch won this year’s season-opening Daytona 500, and Kevin Harvick won Sunday at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway while Bowyer was the runner-up in SHR’s third-ever 1-2 finish.
- Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz is in his second season after overseeing Stewart’s final campaign in 2016. Bugarewicz’s pit strategy played a key role in Stewart’s victory at Sonoma in June 2016. 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 last year’s Cup Series playoffs.
- Bowyer’S Top-Five Finishes In 2017
- Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24)
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25)
- Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (March 26)
- Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (April 9)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (April 2)
- Bowyer Cup Series Career Victories:
- 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:
- 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 Stewart-Haas Racing
- 2016 HScott Motorsports
- 2012-2015 Michael Waltrip Racing
- 2006-2011 Richard Childress Racing
- 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!