The Clock Is Ticking On Clint Bowyer’s Chances Of Making The Playoffs

Clint Bowyer

It’s getting to be that time of year!

Only eight races remain in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season and Clint Bowyer, along with several other big-name drivers in the sport, are battling for one of the final spots in NASCAR’s 16-driver playoffs. With 10 different winners locked in so far after 18 races, it appears a championship-caliber driver could miss this year’s playoffs.

Bowyer doesn’t want to be that guy.

“The pressure cooker is certainly turning up,” said Bowyer, who has scored the second-most points of any driver in the last three Cup Series races. The trio of finishes includes second-place runs at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, as well as 13th place at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta last Saturday night.

Bowyer is 15th in the playoff standings as he and his No. 14 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Overton’s 301. He knows the quickest and safest way to earn a playoff berth is to win a race before the regular-season finale Sept. 9 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway.

That could come this weekend on the mile oval in New Hampshire, where he won the fall races in 2007 and 2010 and has posted four top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 22 starts.

“Those wins allow you to go into this race with more confidence than you would at a track where you haven’t won,” Bowyer said. “I feel like we can win again at New Hampshire this weekend. We really want to win, but we also want to make sure we don’t do anything that will knock us out of the points.”

Bowyer said as the regular season races wind down, the intensity picks up. That’s just what NASCAR and the fans want to see each weekend.

“There will be drivers who don’t have anything to lose,” Bowyer said. “They can’t make it in on points so they have to win. They’ll be willing to take more gambles. They aren’t going to wreck people and take chances that way. They’ll take chances on something like fuel mileage.”

It’s been a successful 2017 season so far for Bowyer, who joined SHR this year after three-time champion Tony Stewart retired from NASCAR competition. Bowyer has posted four top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 2017. The No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz, has scored the 10th-most points of any team.

But everyone involved knows that to secure a berth in the playoffs, their performance will have to continue to improve.

“It is all about the racecars and making them as fast as possible,” Bowyer said. “That goes for aerodynamics, having the right setup underneath with (computer) simulation and everything. Everything has to be perfect. It is so much more competitive than 10 years ago when I came into this sport. You can’t have a down area. You can’t have a weak link. It is all across the board that you have to be 100-percent perfect.”

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
 

After a half season at SHR, what are your thoughts?

“The fit factor couldn’t be better for me going to Stewart-Haas Racing. I was friends with all of them and worked with most of them. If you had to look in a glass ball and make that perfect match-made-in-heaven-atmosphere, it was definitely there.”

Why do you always seem so happy?

“There’s no possible way that I can have success without having fun. It’s not in my DNA. If I’m having fun, I’m having success and it’s just always been that way. I’ve been that way since I was a little kid.”

Team Report for the No. 14 Nature’s Bakery/Feeding America Ford Fusion
Round 19 of 36 – Overton’s 301 – New Hampshire
Car No. 14: Nature’s Baker/Feeding America Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing
 
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (704-498-7596 or 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, S.C.

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Ira Jo Hussey

Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire

 

Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell

Hometown: Windham, Maine

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris McMullenHometown: 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

Road Crew:

 

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, Florida and Huntersville, North Carolina, respectively.

 

Mechanics: Tony Silvestri andRich Letendre 

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio andLowell, Massachusetts,respectively

 

Tire Specialist: Russell Simpson

Hometown: Medford, New York

 

Shock Specialist: Wayne Smith

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Notes of Interest:
  • Sunday’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 416th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 23rd Cup Series start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon where he has two victories, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 62 top-five finishes, 174 top-10s and 2,355 laps led in 415 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories. He is 10th in the Cup Series standings after 18 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 (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 June 25 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
  • 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
    • 2nd-place: 
      • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25)
      • Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1)
    • 3rd-place:
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (March 26)
      • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (April 9)
  • 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!

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.