Clint Bowyer Honors “The Snake” On His Helmet

Clint Bowyer

Just about every NASCAR driver is dependent on his race team and its corporate partners to pick out the color scheme for the car the fans see at the track and on television each weekend.

Drivers are sometimes consulted on the car’s paint scheme, but the folks paying the bills always get final say. The car is their space, but a racing helmet is a driver’s own territory where he can stamp his own personality. That’s led every driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to sport a commissioned helmet design they have often worn for years and fans can easily identify.

Clint Bowyer is no different, except he’s taken his personal space on his helmet another step.

“Ever since I started in the Cup Series, I have always tried to put someone on my helmet who meant something to me growing up,” said Bowyer, a 38-year-old native of Emporia, Kansas.

“Whether it’s Elvis (Presley), Smokey Yunick, Johnny Cash, Clint Eastwood, George Jones or someone else, I like to honor the folks who influenced me and meant something to me as I was growing up, whether it’s in racing or not.”

This weekend, when Bowyer drives his black-and-red No. 14 Haas Automation Ford at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, he’ll wear a helmet that carries all the logos of his partners incorporated into a cool design by his longtime helmet painter Nick Pastura. And the back of the helmet includes a Pastura painting honoring drag racing hall of famer Don “The Snake” Prudhomme – a childhood hero of Bowyer’s.

“I met Don a long time ago and fell in love with him,” Bowyer said. “The guy is awesome. He is a hero of mine. As I grew up, my father (Chris) and all his friends were drag racing buddies and big fans of Prudhomme. So, just to see Snake and meet him was cool. He knew me and that’s quite an honor. I couldn’t believe that. We’ve had a lot of fun over the years with him. The ‘Old Snake’ is a pretty cool cat.”

Prudhomme, 77, earned his “Snake” nickname for his lightning-quick, starting-line reflexes that led the NHRA to name him its third greatest driver in history. Bowyer said Prudhomme has visited NASCAR tracks on several occasions in the last few years and still watches most of the race broadcasts.

Bowyer hopes to take the Prudhomme helmet to victory lane this weekend at the track that was renamed in the offseason from Phoenix International Raceway. No matter the name, Bowyer’s Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team salivates when it’s time to race at the fast, mile oval in the Arizona desert.

SHR has enjoyed five trips to victory lane in 54 races at Phoenix during the team’s 10-year existence. The Kannapolis, North Carolina-based team co-owned by Gene Haas and Tony Stewart also owns 16 top-fives, 23 top-10s and one pole at Phoenix. SHR arrives there after consecutive victories by Kevin Harvick at Atlanta and Las Vegas.

 

Bowyer hopes he can add his name to SHR’s 2018 victors list at Phoenix.

 

“I like going to Phoenix,” said Bowyer, who owns two top-five finishes and six top-10s and has led 22 laps at Phoenix. “It’s a great city and the racetrack there produces some of the best races we’ve seen the last couple of years. Phoenix has always been kind of unique to itself. I think it always will be. Short-track racing is always a lot of fun. I wish we had five more tracks just like Phoenix.”

Bowyer arrives at Phoenix with momentum after running well in the season’s opening three races. A 15th-place finish at Daytona coupled with a third-place finish at Atlanta and an 18th at Las Vegas has Bowyer in 11th place in the driver standings as the Cup Series readies for the second of its three-race western swing that concludes next week at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

                                      “The key to success at Phoenix is just having a good, neutral racecar,” Bowyer said. “Both ends of the track are quite different with turns one and two being a pretty tight arc and turns three and four being a pretty open, sweeping corner. So, there’s really no perfect setup. You have to find a happy medium with good balance, and then find a middle ground. After that, it’s track position that’s important. You have to qualify well and make sure you stay up front.”

If he stays up front until the checkered flag falls, Bowyer will make Don “The Snake” Prudhomme proud.

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

 

 

How important is consistency in 2018?

 

I said it all offseason – what we have to do is get more consistent. Over the course of my career, that’s kind of what’s kept me in the game – consistency – and last year we were spraying it all over the place. We’d have a good run and back it up with a bad one or two bad ones and then a good one. We were all over the place. At Daytona, we dropped a cylinder and everybody was dejected and bummed out, and we went to Atlanta and SHR unloaded four fast cars and did a great job as a company. That’s what it takes. You’ve got to be able to unload good cars and then work together to fine-tune them to make them good for the race and enjoy that strength in numbers.”

 

 

 

 

 

No. 14 Haas Automation Team Report

Round 4 of 36 – TicketGuardian 500k – Phoenix

Car No. 14: Haas Automation Ford Fusion Team Report

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, South Carolina

Over-The-Wall Crew:

Front Tire Changer: Daniel Coffey

Hometown: Granite Falls, North Carolina

 

Rear Tire Changer: Shannon Myers

Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina

 

Tire Carrier: Josh Sobecki

Hometown: New Kensington, Pennsylvania

 

Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

 

Jackman: Ernie Pierce

Hometown: San Diego, California

 

Windshield: Chris Trickett

Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia

Road Crew:

 

Truck Drivers: William “Stump” Lewis and Rob Fink

Hometown: Linkwood, Maryland and Baltimore, Maryland, respectively.

 

Engineers: Lee Deese and Chris Chidgey

Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina and Gainesville, Florida, 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 437th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start and his 26th Cup Series start at ISM Raceway near Phoenix, where he owns two top-five finishes and six top-10s. He has led 22 laps.
  • Bowyer owns career totals of eight wins, two poles, 64 top-five finishes, 180 top-10s and 2,360 laps led in 434 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).
  • The 2018 season marks the 10th anniversary of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). The Kannapolis, North-Carolina-based team is co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas andhas recorded 41 victories and 35 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 last year’s Daytona 500, and Harvick won June 25 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Nov. 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. This year, Harvick is coming off back-to-back victories at Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb. 25 and Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
  • At Phoenix, SHR owns five victories, 16 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s in 54 starts.
  • Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz is in his third season as a Cup Series crew chief. He oversaw Tony Stewart’s final campaign in 2016 and his pit strategy played a key role in Stewart’s victory at Sonoma in June 2016. Bugarewicz and Bowyer’s first season together in 2017 saw the duo post the 11th-best average finish of all full-time teams. 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 the Cup Series playoffs in 2016.
  • Bowyer’s Top Finishes at SHR (2017-2018):
    • 2nd place: 
      • Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24, 2017)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25, 2017)
      • Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1, 2017)
    • 3rd place:
      • Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (March 26, 2017)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
  • 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:
    • 2017 18th
    • 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- Present 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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