|Nobody in NASCAR is counting on the power of home cooking more than No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer this weekend when the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Bowyer is a native of Emporia Kansas, a town of 25,000 people about 110 miles from Kansas Speedway. He rightly calls the 1.5-mile oval his home track.
“Obviously, you want to win the Daytona 500, a championship, things like that, but winning at your home track is right up there,” said Bowyer, who owns two top-five finishes and six top-10s in 20 starts at Kansas.
“It’s always fun to go home. It’s always busy to go home. Going back to Kansas Speedway, you have so many people who have made a difference and got you to where you are, you owe it to them, just like you did when they were helping you on that racecar, to go see them. To see how they’re doing, see their kids now. Things have changed a lot since I’ve moved away and moved to North Carolina and got into this Cup racing. But, to be able to go back and see family, friends, peers, people I used to race with, businesses that used to sponsor you, it’s important to me to go back and see all of those.”
Bowyer will debut a new primary sponsor at SHR when he drives the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion onto the Kansas track. DEKALB announced its partnership with Bowyer and SHR in August at the annual Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa inside its “Fuel Your Yield” tent. DEKALB will serve as primary sponsor for Bowyer and the No. 14 team this weekend with the brand serving as an associate partner at all other races. DEKALB has been helping farmers ensure a future of performance with industry-leading corn seed products for more than 100 years. And while driving a purpose-built racecar that puts out more than 850 horsepower is his day job, Bowyer is also a farmer in North Carolina.
“I grew up in farm country and saw firsthand the hard work that goes into growing crops and taking care of livestock,” said Bowyer, who literally began his racing career on Kansas dirt by racing motocross and then Late Models at Lakeside and I-70 Speedways in Kansas City. “Farming takes time, energy and incredible attention to detail. DEKALB understands all of that, and they know what farmers need to take care of their crops. It really is an honor to represent DEKALB and spend time with their customers.”
Bowyer’s heart is still in Emporia, where he’s a big part of the community. In March 2013, he bought the Clint Bowyer Autoplex car dealership on U.S. Highway 50, where he once worked as a lot attendant, dent specialist and detailer. Across the street sits the Clint Bowyer Community Building, constructed in 2012 thanks to a $1.5 million donation from his foundation. Inside are 25 computers at the public library. There is a scoreboard at the aquatic center, a video camera at the auditorium, shoes for the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program, backpacks for kids, Christmas trees for needy families. And, in nearby towns, playground equipment and the reconstruction of a tornado-ravaged community center – all of it and more paid for by Bowyer’s foundation, or out of the driver’s own pocket.
Emporia appreciates its native son, having renamed the street on which the family towing business resides as “Hon. Clint Bowyer Boulevard.”
Bowyer needs a good run in Kansas much like he did at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last weekend when he finished second in the first two stages and the race. The performance put Bowyer 21 points ahead of the ninth and final cutoff position for those drivers advancing out of the Round of 12 that ends at Kansas. SHR teammate Aric Almirola’s victory at Talladega marked the 56th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s milestone 50th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its first victory at Talladega. All four SHR drivers – Bowyer, Almirola, Kevin Harvick, and Kurt Busch – have won races in 2018.
“We had a great weekend as a team and company in Talladega,” Bowyer said. “Now, we’d like to do the same in Kansas.”
|CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
|Why should fans go to Kansas Speedway?
“I grew up going to Kansas Speedway. I grew up going by Kansas Speedway. I grew up watching Kansas Speedway getting built. You went to Wyandotte County, it was a bad part of town. It wasn’t something that you see today. That speedway was solely responsible for the destination it’s become of Kansas Speedway. You have the legends. You have soccer complexes. You have baseball. You have a casino, now, in the back straightaway as the latest thing. All set up on two major highways so it’s easy in and out. It was the latest and greatest of what we have in racetracks today and it still is that way and it’s always fun. Then, you’ve got barbecue. You’ve got Kansas City barbecue – it’s the best in the world. You’ve got to go to Kansas Speedway.”
The Chiefs game has been moved to Sunday night after the race. Are you going?
“Yes. Brett Veach is actually the GM and he called me and said, ‘Hey, the game got moved,’ and he’s such a big race fan. I met him in the spring at Kansas. He came over and brought a couple of players and hung out in the bus and we just kind of hit it off and I was really amazed – as big of a deal as he is in the NFL and that sport, how big of a race fan he was. I mean, he knew everything – stats, drivers, literally everything.
“He was very, very in-tune with what’s going on and, anyway, he’s a stat guy in the NFL, so it’s no surprise that he was definitely on his game as far as our sport goes, so we’ve been staying in touch. He’s been telling me how good they are and I’ve been telling him how excited I am, and I’m like, ‘Man, I’m getting to a game, just be patient with me,’ and he called and said the game was moved and my butt better be there. I’ve got a ticket, so my butt will be there.”
Thoughts on SHR’s Talladega performance last weekend?
“I mean, I don’t think you can write enough about the job everybody at Stewart-Haas did. Those cars were so fast. I’ve seen other guys, other teams, other organizations put that together before. The Hendrick organization has been there before, the Gibbs cars have done that before. It was our turn, you know what I mean? The Penske cars have done that before. We finally got all four cars to the cream of the crop. Oh my gosh, was it awesome. To be able to work together like that, we could hold on. They get runs on you and everything else, but as long as you stayed your ground, stayed in line, we’d prevail. Seemed like our cars not only were fast, they handled well at the end of the runs. We would start stretching it out on them. The Penske cars were second best. The rest were racing for whatever position after our two Fords. Can’t say enough about Ford Performance, the job that everybody does there. It’s a good day to be in a Ford. I mean, all you can say about that is it was a hell of a day to be in a Ford. Every time you looked in the mirror, the only thing you saw was blue ovals in the line.”
|No. 14 DEKALB Team Report
Round 32 of 36 – Hollywood Casino 400 – Kansas
Car No.: 14 – DEKALB 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 owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 73 top-five finishes, 195 top-10s and 2,849 laps led in 464 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 50 points-paying victories and 43 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 Aric Almirola and Busch one each this season. All four SHR drivers have won races in 2018 and 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 three Cup Series victories at Kansas (Stewart in October 2009 and Harvick in May 2018 and October 2016) plus 11 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s in 54 starts.
- 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 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 Top-Three Finishes at SHR (2017-2018):
- Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
- 2nd place:
- Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 15,2018)
- 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!