It Is Do Or Die For Clint Bowyer At Richmond

Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer’s 2017 playoff chances come down to the final 400 laps of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup regular season Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway. If the first-year Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver is going to be part of the battle for the championship, he’ll need to win Saturday night in Virginia.

It’s a tall order.

“We know it isn’t going to be easy, but I’m never going to give up and nobody on this No. 14 team will give up until the checkered flag flies Saturday night,” said Bowyer. “Ever since we began the season, we’ve said we needed a win to get into the playoffs. That’s our mindset this weekend.”

While the odds might be against Bowyer, he has a few things in his favor. He loves the Richmond track and statistics show it is one of his best. The Emporia, Kansas native owns two victories, four top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 24 starts at the .75-mile, D-shaped oval. He’s also won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Richmond in 2007.

In April, Bowyer started eighth and raced sixth late in the race before a commitment-cone violation with 81 laps remaining left him with a 15th-place finish. He hopes to rekindle the short-track magic from his past and combine it with his current SHR Ford chassis and a powerful Roush-Yates engine.

“If I had to pick a track where I think we can get a victory, then it might be Richmond,” Bowyer said. “The old girl has been good to us in the past and it would be pretty cool if she could treat us well one more time.”

Bowyer’s No. 14 team at Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has scored the 11th-most points of any team in 2017, even outscoring five of the 16 drivers currently in playoff positions. But winning takes precedence over points in determining the 16-driver playoff field and, with 13 different winners this season, only three drivers will likely transfer into the playoffs based on points if Saturday night’s winner at Richmond is not a first-time winner in 2017.

Bowyer says he believes his No. 14 team is better than several teams that have clinched playoff spots. But the all-important victory has remained elusive in 2017.


“We knew it was all about winning going in,” he said. “There are some guys in the playoffs we have outrun just about every race this season, but they managed to get a victory and we haven’t. That’s the way the system is. As I have said all along, we knew we had to win to get into the playoffs.”


Bowyer visits Richmond after early engine issues left him with a 40th-place finish at Darlington (S.C) Raceway last weekend. The finish kept him in 17th place in the championship standings but 91 points behind 16th place with no chance to make up the difference in a single race.

“Obviously, the way the playoffs look right now, we’re not out of this thing,” he said. “We’ve still got a good racetrack coming up for us. We’ll just go there and do the best we can and put all the cards on the table over there.”

No matter what happens Saturday night at Richmond, Bowyer has enjoyed a successful inaugural season at SHR replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart in the No. 14 Ford. Bowyer has posted three second-place finishes, two third-place finishes and 10 top-10s.

But, a first-place finish and the accompanying playoff berth Saturday night would make the season even better.

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
There has to be a sense of urgency for you this weekend at Richmond?

“You come to all these racetracks with an urgency to win, just like we did at the Daytona 500. Richmond is a good track for us. We’ll go there and do the best we can.”


What are your thoughts about the season so far?

“Obviously, we’ve gotten close a few times with some second places, but that’s the first loser. We’ve got to be able to seal the deal but, as I said from the beginning of the year, it’s all about winning our first race. We haven’t been able to do that. I’m focused more on that. I care more about that. Obviously, having a chance to win a championship and everything else but, for me, I need to win to be able to solidify myself as a contender, but we need to be leading laps. We need to be doing that the right way. I don’t want to back into it on a fuel-mileage deal or a lucky situation, a situational thing. I want to be able to have those announcers talking about me all day long and carry that through to the end of the night.”

No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 26 of 36 – Federated Auto Parts 400 – Richmond 

Car No. 14: Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (
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:
  • Rush Truck Centers has added the #Texas Strong and Prayers for Texas decals to the hood and deck lid of its No. 14 Ford paint scheme at Richmond this weekend in support of its many employees and customers who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.
  • Saturday’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 423rd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th Cup Series start at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, where he has two victories, four top-five finishes and 12 top-10s.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 177 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 422 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories. He is 11th in the Cup Series standings after 25 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.
  • 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)


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