Bowyer Runs A Mark Martin Throwback Scheme At Darlington

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With only two races remaining in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular season and locked in a battle for one of the final few playoff berths, Clint Bowyer is calling on help from NASCAR legend Mark Martin at Sunday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford fielded by Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) will sport a Carolina Ford Dealers paint scheme nearly identical to the scheme Martin drove in 43 NASCAR Xfinity Series races between 1988 and 1991 for Bill Davis Racing. The Batesville, Arkansas native earned three Xfinity Series victories and scored 11 top-five finishes in the predominantly blue, white and red Carolina Ford Dealers Thunderbird.

“We’ll take advantage of anything we can right now and you can’t do much better than having Mark Martin on your side,” said Bowyer, who trails Jamie McMurray by 58 points for the 16th and final playoff berth. He needs to make up that deficit or win during the next two races to be part of NASCAR’s postseason that begins Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.

Bowyer knows the importance of Sunday’s race to his playoff hopes and those of his crew chief Mike Bugarewicz-led team, but he’s aware the Darlington race marks “The Official Throwback Weekend of NASCAR” when the industry honors the sport’s history. Last year, 36 Cup Series teams competed with throwback paint schemes in the Southern 500, the most in any single NASCAR event in the sport’s history.

“I think it’s important to remember our legends,” Bowyer said. “This weekend will be all about Mark and the heroes of this sport. When you think about my heroes and the people I really looked up to in this sport, Mark was at the top of the list. He was my teammate in 2012 and it meant so much to me to race alongside him back in the MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) days.”

Martin won 40 times in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, scored 271 top-five finishes and 453 top-10s. He also won 56 poles. His last Cup Series race was at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 17, 2013 in SHR’s No. 14 as he subbed for an injured Tony Stewart.

Martin said the Carolina Ford Dealers paint scheme has a special place in his heart and in his career.

 

“The throwback program at Darlington is the coolest thing I’ve ever been a part of and seeing this car is really a time check, a time stamp for me,” said the 58-year-old Martin, who entered the NASCAR Hall of Fame this year. “The Carolina Ford Dealers was the first sponsor I had that did full-fledged television marketing. They did lots of radio spots and lots of television spots. It was really my first sponsor that I did that kind of work with.”

 

Bowyer, an eight-time NASCAR Cup Series winner, is in his first year driving SHR’s No. 14 Ford Fusion after replacing three-time champion Stewart, who retired as a NASCAR driver at the end of the 2016 season. The No. 14 has scored the 10th-most points of any car in 2017 with five top-fives and 10 top-10s.

Bowyer finished 19th  Aug. 19 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, so he needs a good finish at Darlington, followed by similar results at the regular-season finale Sept. 9 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, to enter the playoffs.

He owns only one top-10 finish in 11 races at Darlington. Maybe the presence of Martin will change that this weekend.

“Darlington has always been a big race for our sport, but this playoff race only adds to the intensity,” Martin said. “I’d love for Clint to have a good run or, better yet, win the race. It’s been a while since a Carolina Ford Dealers paint scheme visited victory lane, so doing it again in Darlington would be special. It would mean a lot to me and make a lot of people happy, especially Clint.”

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Carolina Ford Dealers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is your strategy to gain 58 points in the next two races?

“We just have to win. A win and the points will take care of themselves.”

What are your thoughts on Darlington?

“I like the uniqueness of the track. I’ve struggled to have good finishes there but we’ve always raced well. We just can’t seem to seal the deal at the end. Something always goes haywire in the end but, sooner or later, we are going to overcome that and have a good weekend. Doing that this weekend would be perfect.”

Do you remember your first Darlington experience?

“My first Cup race at Darlington was 2007 and I won the pole. Truth be told, it scared the daylights out of me.”

No. 14 Carolina Ford Dealers Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 25 of 36 – Southern 500 – Darlington

Car No. 14: Carolina Ford Dealers 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, 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 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:
  • This Southern 500 will mark Clint Bowyer’s 422nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 12th Cup Series start at Darlington (S.C) Raceway, where he has one top-10 finish, a pole and has led 16 laps.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 177 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 421 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories. He is 10th in the Cup Series standings after 24 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 June 25at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
  • ·SHR has one points-paying victory at Darlington (Kevin Harvick in April 2014) and has seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 23 starts.
  • 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’s Stage Victories In 2017
    • Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Stage 2 (July 30, 2017)
  • 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!

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