|Clint Bowyer might seem a little crazy, but he’s certainly no dummy.
When retired Buffalo Bills special teams ace Steve Tasker tried to autograph a football for Bowyer two weeks ago, the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford driver quickly saw a sure-fire way to make his home life lot easier. Bowyer agreed with the idea to have Tasker sign the football to his wife Lorra, a lifelong Bills fan.
The Emporia, Kansas native brought the football home to his wife a few days later.
“On Sunday mornings in the offseason, we go out to breakfast and I’m decked out in my Kansas City Chiefs shirt and Lorra’s got on her Buffalo Bills sweatpants,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “So, I think she’ll be happy with a signed football from Steve Tasker.”
Lorra Bowyer is a native of Pen Yann, New York – a town of 5,000 about 120 miles east of Buffalo. More importantly this week, Pen Yan is about 30 miles from Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, where her husband and the rest of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field will race Sunday in the GoBowling at The Glen.
Bowyer met Tasker and Bills general manager Brandon Beane when he visited the Bills stadium and training facility July 19 to promote this weekend’s race. While his football loyalty is more toward the Chiefs, the Upstate New York area has a special place in Bowyer’s heart after spending time with the in-laws over the years.
“I love this place,” he said. “There are so many lakes and the area is so beautiful. Not sure I want to spend winters here but, when we visit, we have a good time.”
Bowyer hopes he’ll also have a good time Sunday in the GoBowling at the Glen. It’s the second of three road-course races on the 2018 Cup Series schedule. Bowyer warns there’s very little comparison between the high speeds of the Watkins Glen track and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, where Bowyer finished third on June 24.
He said the key to success at Watkins Glen is getting his rhythm and timing to account for the high speeds.
“There is such a sensation of speed at Watkins Glen,” said Bowyer, who has posted top-five finishes in all three road-course races he’s entered since joining Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in 2017. “It is a wild racetrack and you have to be on your toes. If you slip up the least little bit, you are not only going to crash, you are going to crash hard. I think of it like this – Sonoma is like a short track and Watkins Glen is like a superfast, 1.5-mile track. That’s the speed difference.”
Bowyer played a fuel-mileage strategy last year to earn a fifth-place finish at Watkins Glen. He hopes for similar success Sunday when his No. 14 Ford will carry the Rush Truck Centers paint scheme. Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner on the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010.
The Texas-based company has used Bowyer and the team to appeal to NASCAR fans as one way to recruit the technicians it needs to operate the largest network of commercial truck and bus dealerships in the country, with locations in 22 states. According to Rush Truck Centers, the trucking industry is expected to need 200,000 diesel technicians over the next 10 years to keep up with maintenance demands. Rush Truck Centers wants to make NASCAR fans aware of these opportunities and knows that, with Bowyer’s background, he is the right guy to help get the message out.
Bowyer arrives at Watkins Glen after finishing 11th at Pocono last weekend. The Rush Truck Centers team is fifth in the standings with two victories, six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s with just five races left in the regular season. Bowyer owns the fourth-most playoff points behind leader Kyle Busch, SHR teammate Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. As the playoffs approach, Bowyer said every point matters.
“We just need to be consistent and run well,” he said. “Our road-racing program is really strong at SHR and I expect it will be again this weekend in Watkins Glen. We’ve run better than we’ve finished of late, and we need to get back to finishing like we should. I hope that’s what happens this weekend.”
If Bowyer can continue his recent road-course prowess Sunday in the GoBowling at The Glen, then maybe his autograph will be just as popular as Tasker’s in Upstate New York.
Even if his wife prefers her Bills memorabilia.
|Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion
|CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
|What is the key to a fast lap at Watkins Glen?
“The Glen is so tricky. It’s such a momentum racetrack and a very fast racetrack. For me, the part you have to get right if you want a good lap is going up through the esses. You have to hold that loud pedal down as much as possible and go wide open through the esses and on in to that ‘Bus Stop.’ That Bus Stop is where you can find a lot of speed. You have to roll through there, not upset the car or bounce off those curbs too hard and make your car loose.”
What is the difference between Sonoma and Watkins Glen?
“You are way more at ease at Sonoma. It’s a finesse, rear-grip, take-care-of-your-tires type of track. I think it is a much more technical track. When you go to Watkins Glen, it’s a ton of fun but it’s a whole different beast. It’s wide open. It’s balls to the wall. You have to be extremely good on braking and have a fast racecar. Both of them are a ton of fun and so unique. That is the thing. We race and chase each other in circles non-stop. It is refreshing to have a break like this when we come to these road courses.”
|No. 14 Haas Automation Rush Truck Centers Team Report
Round 22 of 36 – GoBowling at The Glen – Watkins Glen
|Car No. 14: Rush Truck Centers 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, South Carolina
Front Tire Changer: Ira Joe Hussey
Hometown: Manchester, New Hampshire
Rear Tire Changer: Shannon Myers
Hometown: Salisbury, North Carolina
Tire Carrier: Matt Holzbaur
Hometown: New Egypt, New Jersey
Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener
Hometown: Fortuna, California
Jackman: Ernie Pierce
Hometown: San Diego, California
Windshield: Chris Trickett
Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia
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
- Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 70 top-five finishes, 190 top-10s and 2,691 laps led in 454 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories.
- His most recent Cup Series victory came at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 10, 2018).
- 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 and has recorded 47 points-paying victories and 40 poles since its inception in 2009. It also owns three non-points victories in the Cup Series and two Xfinity Series victories. 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 has won six times in 2018, while Bowyer owns two victories this season.
- Bowyer owns top-five finishes in each of the three road-course races he’s entered in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Bowyer owns two top-five finishes and five top-10s in 12 career starts at Watkins Glen.
- Bowyer at Watkins Glen in 2017: He started 12th but dropped to 35th before the race due to a brake change. It took him only five laps to climb to 25th. He pitted three laps before the end of the first stage, falling off the lead lap. However, he earned the free pass and returned to the lead lap. He started the second stage 31st and pitted in the closing laps of the stage to gain track position for the final stage. He started 19th in the final stage and jumped to second place when he took fuel only during a lap-53 pit stop. Bowyer stayed in the top-six the remainder of the race despite going into a fuel-saving mode with 15 laps remaining. He finished fifth, earning his second top-five finish at Watkins Glen.
- SHR Fords occupy three of the top six positions in the 2018 standings and four positions in the top-11. Kevin Harvick is second, Bowyer fifth, Kurt Busch sixth and Aric Almirola 11th.
- SHR has one points-paying victory at Watkins Glen (Tony Stewart in August 2009) and has six top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 27 starts.
- SHR Sweep: SHR’s sweep of first, second and third place June 10 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn was a first for the organization founded in 2009. It marked the first time a Cup Series team had swept the top-three positions since September 2008, when Roush Fenway Racing swept the podium at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
- Off-Weekend Motivation: There are only three off weekends on the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series calendar and Bowyer has already won the week before each of the first two. His victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on March 26 preceded the first off weekend and his victory Sunday preceded the second off-weekend. Bowyer is hoping he can complete the trifecta by winning the Aug. 18 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway that precedes the final off weekend of the season.
- All-Time Victory List: Bowyer’s 10 career victories put him in a 59th-place tie on the all-time wins list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
- Crew chief Mike “Buga” Bugarewicz is in his third season as a Cup Series crew chief. He oversaw 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. In 2018 they earned their first victory together winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in March. His two-tire call minutes before a caution combined with Bowyer’s aggressive driving at Michigan last Sunday earned the duo its second victory of the 2018 season. 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.
- Buga Calls: Bugarewicz has made two race-winning strategy calls in his career at SHR. In 2016 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Bugarewicz pitted Stewart from midpack before most of the leaders made their final stop of the race. A caution a few laps later moved Stewart to the front of the field, allowing the three-time champion to put on a classic driving display in a closing-laps battle with Denny Hamlin to win his 49th and final Cup Series race. At Michigan in June, he called for a two-tire stop when the rest of the leaders did four, moving Bowyer from third place to first. Bowyer held off a hard-charging Harvick for the win.
- Bowyer’s Hometown of Emporia, Kansas is about a 90-minute drive southwest of Kansas Speedway. Emporia, with a population of 25,000, is home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College. In 1953, Emporia was the site of the first Veterans Day observance in the United States. At the urging of local shoe cobbler Alvin J. King, U.S. Representative Edward Rees introduced legislation in The United States Congress to rename Armistice Day as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Oct. 8, 1954.
- Bowyer’s Paternal Grandfather: Dale E. Bowyer was a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. He won the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while fighting the armed enemy in Germany during World War II. The Distinguished Service Cross is the second-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism. While leading his platoon under heavy fire in an attack near Sinz, Germany, on Jan. 25, 1945, Lt. Bowyer was severely wounded by an enemy mine. He refused evacuation even though both feet were shattered. He shouted instructions and encouragement where he lay. Inspired by his bravery, the men re-formed, moved clear of the minefield and continued the advance. Only then did Lt. Bowyer allow himself to be evacuated, crawling clear of the minefield to avoid injury to people. “His devotion to duty and to his men, and his courage and fearless determination, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service,” read the commendation he received. Lt. Bowyer eventually lost a leg due to his injuries. After his career in the Army, he lived in Iola, Kansas, and worked in the dairy business. He passed away in June 1974. Bowyer never met his grandfather.
- Bowyer’s win at Michigan in June was the 44th overall NASCAR Cup Series win for the No. 14 since 1949. In addition to Bowyer’s two victories, Tony Stewart owns 16 victories, Fonty Flock won 14 races in the No. 14, including the first for the number at Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsborough, North Carolina in April 1951. Three other drivers have scored wins in the No. 14: Jim Paschal with seven, Herschel McGriff with four, and Bobby Allison with one.
- Bowyer’s Best Finishes at SHR (2017-2018):
- Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
- 2nd place:
- Dover (Del.) International Speedway (May 6, 2018)
- Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24, 2017)
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25, 2017)
- Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1, 2017)
- 3rd place:
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
- 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:
- Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
- 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:
- 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!