|There couldn’t be a better time for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) to scratch off winning at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway from its to-do list than Sunday at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 1000Bulbs.com 500 – the second of three Round of 12 races in the Cup Series playoffs.
The Kannapolis, North-Carolina-based team co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas and has recorded 49 victories and 42 poles since its inception in 2009. It’s celebrating its 10th anniversary season by turning in its best season-long performance to date. SHR’s Fords have won 10 of 30 Cup Series points races in 2018, plus the non-points NASCAR All-Star Race. All four SHR drivers qualified for the playoffs and advanced to the Round of 12.
Despite SHR’s race wins, two championships and a dominant season in 2018, there’s still one item left that has eluded the organization – victory at Talladega. SHR owns four top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 58 starts at the 2.66-mile superspeedway, making it and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta the only two active Cup Series tracks where SHR has not earned a victory.
That could change Sunday, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion, hopes he’s the driver to do it.
“Heck yeah, I’d like to be the guy who wins (SHR’s) first race at Talladega,” said Bowyer, who already owns two Talladega Cup Series victories, plus six top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 25 starts there. “Not only would it be a great win for SHR, but it would also move the winner on to the Round of 8, and that would make next week’s race at Kansas a lot easier.”
Bowyer needs the victory because he arrives at Talladega after what appeared to be a top-five run at Dover (Del.) International Speedway Sunday in the first of three Round of 12 races turned into a 35th-place finish after mechanical issues and an accident ended his race early. The finish dropped him to 10th in points and 10 points behind the eighth and final transfer spot with two races remaining in the round.
Bowyer knows that for him or SHR teammates Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch or Aric Almirola to win at Talladega, a lot of things will have to go right. His Talladega race in April ended with 22 laps remaining when he was collected in a multicar accident while running 12th.
“More than any other place we go, you have to be focused at Talladega because its 500 miles of mind games,” Bowyer said. “It’s all about making good, quick, decisions by all of the team – the guys in the pits, my spotter and me in the racecar. If we can do that, we will be in a great position to get another Talladega win and hopefully advance in the NASCAR playoffs.”
New SHR partner Cummins makes its first appearance as the primary paint scheme on the No. 14 Ford Fusion Sunday. The Columbus, Indiana-based company is no stranger to victory lane with its racing lineage dating 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 Talladega, 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 expecting a need for 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 would like to take SHR, Cummins and Rush Truck Centers to victory lane, but he’d really like to do it for himself and his No. 14 team.
“We got ourselves in a hole right now, points-wise, but we’ve been there before and know what we have to do,” he said. “We’ll go to Talladega and do our best to get some stage points and win the race.”
|CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
|What is it like to be inside the car during a race at Talladega?
“There’s so much going on inside the car, whether you’re listening to the spotter, or you’re looking at – as you’re listening to him, you’re following along to – that story in the mirror, right? You’re living it through the windshield. I mean, there are so many things that are going on, you just – you flat out – don’t take it all in. I mean, your brain is registering so many things that, at the end of the race, you don’t even remember half of it.”
Is it difficult to hold back at Talladega?
“You get a little bit excited and antsy to get up into the pack and, even with 50, 60 laps to go you’re like, ‘How am I going to get up there?’ They get three-wide and there’s just literally no place to go. At Talladega, you can go four-wide, and I’ve seen when it goes five-wide you get into a wreck. We see that quite a bit there – somebody attempting it – and that’s when it gets this place exciting. Looking forward to hopefully getting to the end and, more importantly, getting a win.”
What is the key to success?
“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.”
|No. 14 Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Team Report
Round 31 of 36 – 1000Bulbs.com 500 – Talladega
Car No.: 14 – Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (704-498-7596 or Drew.Brown@TrueSpeedCommunication.com)
|No. 14 At-Track Crew Roster
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 in Nashville, Tennessee Sept. 20: As part of prerace promotion for the Talladega race, Bowyer visited Nashville, Tennessee on Sept. 20, when he toured the Johnny Cash Museum and visited the Tennessee Titans training facility, where he met head coach Mike Vrabel and general manager Jon Robinson, as well as many NFL players. “One of the neatest things I have ever done,” Bowyer said. “I thought I knew everything about Johnny Cash, but I found out there are so many other incredible things about him that I wasn’t aware of. He was an incredible songwriter, and some of the memorabilia were something to see. What an experience. Needless to say, I love Johnny Cash. Heck, my son’s name is Cash! I met a lot of really nice people with the Titans who took time to talk with me and learn about our sport. Coach Vrabel is a guy who knows first-hand what takes to win a championship. There are many parallels with our two sports. He knows every person on a team has to do his job and execute. The physical part of it is a given, but the mental part of it is just as important. You have to be mentally up for the challenge, and that is something that is of the utmost importance as we vie for a championship and a win at Talladega.”
- Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 72 top-five finishes, 194 top-10s and 2,849 laps led in 463 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 49 points-paying victories and 41 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. Harvick has won seven times in 2018, while Bowyer owns two victories and Busch one this season. All four SHR drivers advanced to the Round of 12 of the Cup Series playoffs.
- Bowyer has led 489 laps in 2018. That surpasses a career best of 400 set in 2010.
- SHR has yet to win at Talladega but owns four top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 58 starts. Talladega and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta are the only two active Cup Series tracks where SHR has not earned a victory.
- SHR & Off-Weekends: There are only three off weekends on the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series calendar and SHR has won the week before each. Bowyer won the week before each of the first two. His March 26 victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway preceded the first off weekend and his June 10 victory at Richmond (Va.) Raceway preceded the second off weekend. Busch made it a trifecta by winning Aug. 18 at Bristol. The next off weekend is after the conclusion of the 2018 season at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
- 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 Top-Three 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:
- Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Sept. 30, 2018)
- 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
- Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Stage 2 (July 30, 2017)
- Indianapolis Motor Speedway Stage 1 (Sept. 10, 2018)
- 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!