Clint Bowyer Is Looking To Bring Home The Talladega Trophy

Clint Bowyer
It’s been an impressive few opening chapters in what should be a long history book for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).

The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team has won 38 times in 948 races since its first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in 2009. The organization owned by Gene Haas and three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart has notched championships with Stewart in 2011 and Kevin Harvick in 2014.

In February, SHR celebrated its first Daytona 500 victory when Kurt Busch took the checkered flag. SHR drivers have won at every active track on the Cup Series tour except two:  Kentucky Speedway in Sparta and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where the Cup Series races Sunday in the Alabama 500.

First-year SHR driver Clint Bowyer would like to write his name in the team record book by bringing home a trophy from the 2.66-mile Alabama restrictor-plate track. Bowyer, the driver who replaced Stewart in the No. 14 in 2017, would join Stewart, Harvick, Busch and Ryan Newman as SHR winners.

“No doubt that’s our goal this weekend in Talladega,” said Bowyer, who is tied with Harvick for the most points in the last 10 Talladega races with 296. “Look at the list of those guys who’ve won at SHR. There are three champions on the list. These guys are the best of the best.”

Bowyer isn’t too shabby at restrictor-plate tracks. He’s won twice, posted six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in just 24 races at Talladega while also logging four top-five finishes in 24 points races at Talladega’s sister track Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

Bowyer nearly wrote his name in the record book in May at Talladega when he raced in the top-five in the closing laps before tire damage forced a pit stop that dropped him to 23rd at the start of overtime. He rallied in the two-lap shootout to finish 14th.

While it might not seem like it from the stands, Bowyer said there is a great deal of strategy behind restrictor-plate racing success. It begins as early as Friday during practice when drivers and teams balance the risk of damaging a car versus the knowledge gained by running in a pack.

“Attitude is a big part of this, but it goes toward being a student while you’re out there, learning as much as you can. That’s the tricky thing about these situations at these racetracks,” he said.

“We’re scared to practice because we don’t want to tear our cars up because that’s the best car we’ve got. Then you are out there in the race and you’re like, ‘I need to learn something.’ If you are single file in the race, you’re not learning, either, so you are now at the end of the race and nobody has really learned anything. Then all hell breaks loose as we’re trying to figure it out with two or three laps to go, trying to win the race for our teams.”

Bowyer owns the ninth-best average finish of all the full-time drivers in 2017. But the 2017 stat sheet could really use a victory. He and the crew chief Mike Bugarewicz-led team have posted three second-place and two third-place finishes this year.

“We are still trying to win our first race, so we have work to do,” said Bowyer, who owns top-10 finishes in two of the last three Cup Series races. “We have some races coming up that are good tracks for us, including Talladega. We want to finish this season out right and would love to win and build some momentum going into 2018.”

A trophy from Talladega would be an excellent start.

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
 

What are your thoughts on Talladega?

“You have to respect these racetracks and you’ve got to get to the end of them. Obviously, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck not to get caught up in things and, more importantly, be careful not to cause them yourself.”

 

Does attitude matter in restrictor-plate racing?

“You better make sure that you’re having fun with it. If you’re miserable the whole time you’re there, you’re not going to make the right decisions and probably not going to have the success you want.”

 

No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 31 of 36 – Alabama 500– Talladega

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)

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:
  • Sunday’s race will mark Clint Bowyer’s 428th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th Cup Series start at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, where he has two victories, six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s. His average finish of 14.6 is the ninth-best of the full-time drivers in 2017.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 179 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 427 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).
  • Tony Stewart and Gene Haas co-own Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), which has recorded 38 victories and 34 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 Harvick won June 25 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
  • SHR has no points-paying victories at Talladega but has two top-five finishes and 14 top-10s in 50 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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