Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing, remembers his last trip to Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June. The Emporia, Kansas native hopes Sunday’s 400-mile Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race ends a lot better.
In June, Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford qualified 22nd in the 39-car field but, in Saturday practice, it posted the second-quickest 10-lap average. The next day, the No. 14 took off like a rocket when the green flag waved over the concrete, mile oval. Despite reporting some handling issues, Bowyer climbed to fourth and appeared to be a contender for victory as the race neared the quarter mark.
That’s when the day turned sour.
The crew noticed an oil leak during a lap-97 pit stop that forced Bowyer to the garage and kept him out of action for 16 laps. He returned to the track and managed to regain one of the lost laps, leaving him with a 31st-place finish.
“You never seem to have anything break when you’re having a bad day,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “It only seems like things break when you are running well. That (June Dover race) was disappointing, but you’ve got to be able to get over it. How does a golfer go on after a bad swing? It’s the next shot. You focus on that.”
Bowyer said he also takes the positives out of a bad situation.
“We know how good our car was that weekend and we’re pretty confident we can have one just as good this weekend,” he said. “If we do, then we could have a fun day on Sunday.”
Bowyer has history on his side at Dover, where he’s scored top-10 finishes in half of his 24 careers starts. That also includes two top-five finishes.
He arrives at the Monster Mile after a seventh-place finish Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. The No. 14 Ford climbed to second with less than 30 laps remaining in the race, but couldn’t notch that victory Bowyer has made a priority in the remaining races this season.
“In this business, success is measured by winning,” he said. “Until we win, we won’t be happy.”
Bowyer has enjoyed more good than bad days in 2017. It’s his first season driving the No. 14 replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart. He’s posted three second- and two-third place finishes as part of his 11 top-10s in 2017.
While he fell one spot short of making the playoffs, Bowyer has been one of the top-performing drivers week in and week out in 2017 Cup Series competition.
The No. 14’s average finish of 14.5 is the ninth best of the full-time teams in 2017 – better than eight of the 16 teams in the playoffs. That’s even more impressive considering it’s Bowyer’s first season at SHR, his first season with second-year crew chief Mike Bugarewicz, and SHR’s first year with new manufacturer Ford.
But it’s earning that victory in one of the final eight races of the season where Bowyer prefers to direct his focus, and that mission starts Sunday in Dover.
The Monster Mile owes him one.
|Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
|What are your thoughts on Dover?
“Dover is always a cool track I think every driver looks forward to because it’s a driver’s track. You’ve got to man up, get on top of that wheel and make things happen. There are just so many things going on there on that concrete surface and high banks. It’s a lot of fun. If you win there, you’ve earned it. It’s a good track for me – we usually run well there. Over the years, we’ve struggled to get the finish we feel like we’ve deserved. Dover is certainly a track where we feel like this team is capable of getting a really solid run and contending for a win.”
Is there more pressure at tracks where you’ve had success?
“I think so – there’s a little bit more pressure. There’s a reason there’s some pressure – it’s because we have performed there and we need to do it again. I feel like we can back that up and I’m fairly confident in that. You don’t take anything for granted, but this is one of those tracks where you kind of just go in and usually things work out.”
|No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion Team Report
Round 29 of 36 – Apache Warrior 400– Dover
|Car No. 14: Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (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 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
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
- Sunday’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 426th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th Cup Series start at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where he has two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. His average finish of 14.5 is the ninth best of the full-time teams in 2017 and better than eight of the 16 drivers in the playoffs.
- Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 178 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 425 NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories.
- 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).
- SHR has two points-paying victories at Dover (Stewart in June 2013 and Harvick in October 2015) and has five top-five finishes and 14 top-10s in 50 starts.
- 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
- Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24)
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25)
- Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1)
- 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!