There’s Lots Of Pressure On Bowyer At Bristol

Clint Bowyer

Every Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver deals with pressure, but Clint Bowyer might be under a little more than usual Saturday night in the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

Since 2017, Bowyer has driven for owners Gene Haas and three-time Cup Series champion Tony Stewart as part of  Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). Driving for Stewart, a future Hall of Fame driver, is one thing, but this weekend Bowyer’s Ford Fusion will also carry the logos of  Rush Truck Centers and Cummins Inc.

Cummins’ global headquarters is in Columbus, Indiana – Stewart’s hometown.

“That’s a lot of pressure,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “Not only do I have to continue filling Tony’s seat, now I’ve got his hometown company’s logo on the side of my Ford. He’s going to have high expectations, I’m sure, but it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m glad Cummins has joined us.”

Cummins makes its first appearance on the No. 14 Ford Fusion Saturday night, but it is a household name to most motorsports fans.

Its lineage dates back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun. Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 58,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,500 dealer locations.

While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines. At Bristol, Cummins will share space on the No. 14 with Rush Truck Centers, the nation’s largest provider of premium products and services for the commercial vehicle market, with the largest truck inventory in North America.

Rush Truck Centers 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.

Rush Truck Centers and Cummins are accustomed to working with each other. When a Cummins customer is in need of maintenance at a Rush Truck Centers location, RushCare Service Connect automatically provides information to Cummins, expediting and facilitating Cummins support and engagement when necessary. All correspondence is captured and can be viewed on the Service Connect portal, allowing customers and service advisors to see the entire maintenance history associated with any vehicle in the system.

Rush Truck Centers has integrated its RushCare Telematics Solution and its Service Connect platform with Cummins Connected Diagnostics to improve its service program, making maintenance decisions and service tracking easier for shared customers.

Cummins and Rush Truck Centers also help SHR get its racecars to the track each weekend. SHR’s Peterbilt Model 389 haulers are equipped with Cummins engines and RushCare Telematics and supported by the RushCare team, which monitors and reports critical fault codes, vehicle performance and driver habits. This ensures the haulers remain in peak condition while traveling thousands of miles from race to race each season.

 

Bowyer hopes to put both Rush and Cummins in victory lane Saturday night. Although he hasn’t won at Bristol, he’s often near the front when the checkered flag falls there. He owns seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s at Bristol and has led 137 laps in 25 starts. He finished second in this race in 2017, trailing winner Jimmie Johnson across the finish line by 1.199 seconds.

 

“The Bristol night race is such a party,” Bowyer said. “The fans are right on top of you. They’ve been there all day so, by the time we take the green flag Saturday night, the place is rocking.”

 

Bowyer arrives at Bristol after a 12th-place finish Sunday at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. The finish kept Bowyer fifth in the regular-season points race. Bowyer owns the fourth-most playoff points as the season winds down with just three races remaining before the 2018 playoffs.

Playoff time certainly turns up the pressure for the Cup Series drivers. The pressure of driving for one of the businesses in Stewart’s hometown this weekend in Bristol might make for a good tune-up for Bowyer.

 

CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is it like to race at Bristol?

“There is no way to describe 500 laps at Bristol. If your car is handling well, it’s manageable. If it’s loose and you are midpack and there is someone in front of you who is erratic, you are tense and not breathing. You haven’t made it 10 laps and you are out of breath. You think, ‘There’s no way in hell I’m going to make it these 500 laps.’ Next thing you know, it’s lap 450 and you’re wishing it was 600 laps.”

 

What would a victory celebration at Bristol be like?

“I want to celebrate in front of all those wild and crazy fans. There’s no better atmosphere. They’re so close to you that you feel that environment. I’m telling you, during driver intros, you’re walking down there and it’s just the feeling that comes over you before you get in that car. It’s just something you don’t feel anywhere else. It’s because of the closeness of the fans to you. They’re all breathing down on you and expecting big things out of you, and you can’t wait to go out there and get in that coliseum and go to battle.”

 

How do you make your car go fast at Bristol?

“That baby’s got to turn in the middle, man. It is so hard to get your car freed up enough to turn in the center of the corner but not be too loose in, and then not smoke the tires up and off the corner. At Bristol, you have to have the total package, a lot like I did in Martinsville.”

No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Team Report

Round 24 of 36 – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race – Bristol

Car No. 14: Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing

At Track PR Contact: Mike Arning with True Speed Communication (Mike.Arning@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: 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

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:
  • Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 70 top-five finishes, 190 top-10s and 2,691 laps led in 456 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 andhas recorded 48 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 seven times in 2018 while Bowyer owns two victories this season.
  • Bowyer owns seven top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 25 career starts at Bristol.
  • SHR Fords occupy three of the top five positions in the 2018 standings and four positions in the top-12. Harvick is second, Busch is fourth, Bowyer fifth, and Aric Almirola 12th.
  • SHR has one points-paying victory at Bristol (Harvick in August 2016) and has nine top-five finishes and 22 top-10s in 58 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 mine field and continued the advance. Only then did Lt. Bowyer allow himself to be evacuated, crawling clear of the mine field 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):
    • Wins
      • 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:
    • 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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