Bowyer Really Wants A Grandfather Clock This Week

Clint Bowyer & Aric Almirola

Throughout his career, Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), admits to having a love-hate relationship with , where the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races on Sunday. The flat, concrete, half-mile track was far from one of the Emporia, Kansas driver’s favorites when he started his Cup career.

“When I first went there the first couple of seasons in the sport, that was the one racetrack that I couldn’t wait to leave – I was terrible, I hated it, every aspect of it,” Bowyer said. “Everything in your natural tendencies as a racecar driver doesn’t hold true there. Alright, I have to pass this guy in front of me. Well, I have to get in the corner deeper than him, I have to pick up the gas sooner than him, and both of those things took me about 27 times there before I ever figured it out.”

But he did.

“Believe it or not, Martinsville has become a place I look forward to,” Bowyer said. “We’ve focused hard on Martinsville, studied it, tested a lot of tracks in preparation for Martinsville, and worked on really getting a good setup underneath us. We’ve taken that and have been solid ever since.”

He’s even come close to bringing home a grandfather clock Martinsville presents the race winner, but he’s yet to add one to his trophy case. He led 154 laps during the fall 2012 race amid a string of five consecutive top-10s at Martinsville. He owns four top-five finishes and 13 top-10s and has led 356 laps at the southern Virginia track.

“I’ve run really well at Martinsville and there have been several times when I thought we were the fastest car, especially in 2012 and 2013,” Bowyer said. “I look forward to it every year and it’s one track I feel like I can win at, especially if the equipment is underneath me and we make good calls and I make good decisions and take care of the car on the racetrack. I want to bring one of those clocks home.”

Sunday’s race marks the second time Bowyer visits Martinsville driving a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. In April, Bowyer started eighth and climbed as high as fourth in the closing laps before finishing seventh. Martinsville is a historically good track for the Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team. SHR owns three victories – Ryan Newman in April 2012, Tony Stewart in October 2011 and Kurt Busch in March 2014 – six top-five finishes and 18 top-10s in 50 starts at Martinsville, and SHR cars have led 504 laps there.

Bowyer could use a little luck after the last three weeks. Accidents by other drivers collected Bowyer at Charlotte, Talladega and Kansas, ruining his chances for a good finish. Last week in his return to his home state, Bowyer raced in the top-five late in the race before a multicar accident wounded the No. 14 and left him with a 19th-place finish.

It hasn’t been all bad luck in 2017 for Bowyer, who is in his first season with SHR after replacing three-time champion Tony Stewart in the No. 14, led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz. The team has posted three second-place finishes and two third-place finishes but narrowly missed earning one of 16 berths in NASCAR’s playoffs. Bowyer’s average finish of 15.4 is 10th best of the fulltime drivers this season.

Despite the success, Bowyer says the goal this year is a return trip to victory lane. With only four races remaining in the 2017 season, Bowyer is running out of chances to visit victory lane with his new team.

“We’re hungry and we’re trying,” Bowyer said. “That’s the frustrating thing about looking back on the year. We’re getting close to the end and it’s just been that way all season long. When you look back and I look back at my history, consistency has always been what got me and kept me in the running. And this year has been a really solid run. A second (place) or something followed up by two steps back. It seems like you get on a roll – I think the biggest roll we got on was like three or four races. Back in the day, we could click off maybe as many as 10 and really march up through the points and gain that confidence and everything that goes with it.”

Nothing would increase that confidence more than bringing home a grandfather clock from Martinsville after Sunday’s race.

Clint Bowyer: Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts on Martinsville?

“I love going to Martinsville. It’s a great racetrack with a lot of history. Martinsville has been hosting races for half a century and all the greats have raced there over the years. It really is a throwback in a lot of ways. It’s a flat short track like most of us grew up racing on. It’s tight, flat and fenders definitely get used. It always puts on an exciting show for the fans and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. As a fan of the sport, I don’t know how you can’t like Martinsville. And, in a lot of ways, it’s almost turned into the new go-to track for action and excitement. It doesn’t have the high banks like Bristol, but the racing, bumping, banging and all the fun stuff the fans look for has been every bit as good as anywhere we’ve gone the past few years.”

Martinsville seems to be the most difficult track for drivers to figure out. Why is that?

“It’s a short track, but it’s not like any other short track you’ve ever been to. It goes against everything your tendencies tell you to do. You have to back the corner up and let the car roll way around the corner before you get back on the gas. Your tendencies are to get in the corner as deep as you can and get back on the throttle as fast as possible. Those are two things that are catastrophic there, so you’ve got to discipline yourself and stay disciplined throughout the race.”

No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion Team Report

Round 33 of 36 – First Data 500 – Martinsville

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: Daniel Coffey

Hometown: Granite Falls, N.C.

 

Front Tire Carrier: Brett Morrell

Hometown: Windham, Maine

 

Rear Tire Changer: Chris JacksonHometown: Fort Mill, S.C.

 

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 430th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 24th Cup Series start at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, where he has four top-five finishes and 13 top-10s. Bowyer’s average finish of 15.4 is 10th best of the fulltime drivers this season.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 63 top-five finishes, 179 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 429 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 a pole and three points-paying victories at Martinsville plus six top-five finishes, 18 top-10s and two poles in 50 starts.
  • 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.
  • 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 Championship:
    • 2008
  • 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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