Bowyer Expects Some Very Tight Racing At Pocono

Clint Bowyer

Like he did during last year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pocono 400 weekend, Mike Bugarewicz will take about a half hour before practice Friday afternoon at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway to talk to Lehighton (Pa.) High School students and their teacher Gary Potts about the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The 37-year-old crew chief for driver Clint Bowyer is in his fourth year as crew chief for Stewart-Haas Racing’s (SHR) No. 14 Ford Mustang. His talk to the students is as much about hope as it is career choices. He relates to the students in a special way – he used to be a student in Mr. Potts’ Earth Science class at Lehighton.

“He can tell my current students firsthand how he was able to reach his goal of working in NASCAR by having goals and working really hard to achieve those goals,” Potts said. “And, yes, a Lehighton student has the same chance as anyone of achieving his or her goals.”

Potts said he had a student last year tell him, “I didn’t believe it was possible to become famous or successful by growing up in Lehighton until I met Mike Bugarewicz! He has inspired me!”

Bugarewicz admits it doesn’t seem that long ago that he was one of those students.

“I went to Lehighton High School, and Pocono is home for me,” Bugarewicz said. “I was one of those kids once, so it’s kind of cool to be able to tell them I know a little of what they are feeling being in high school and trying to figure out what they want to do in their lives.”

Bugarewicz knows what he wants to do in his life and that’s win races. He admits Pocono would be a special place to notch his fourth career Cup Series victory.

“I grew up about 20 minutes from the racetrack,” he said. “I’ve raced up in the Northeast and attended many of the races at Pocono. I used to go to qualifying all the time there. Pocono means a lot to me. It would really mean a lot to me to have a win there at some point in my career. I haven’t been successful with that, yet, but I hope to change that shortly.”

Bugarewicz grew up competing on the high school football, wrestling and track and field teams. He also spent a lot of time watching his father race at Mahoning Valley (Pa.) Speedway and working on cars at his father’s business long before he even owned a driver’s license. He studied mechanical engineering and performed research for the U.S. Navy through Applied Research Laboratories in graduate school at Penn State University before heading to North Carolina to embark on a NASCAR career that has peaked at SHR.

He won a championship serving as the lead engineer on SHR’s No. 4 car with driver Kevin Harvick in 2014. He took over the No. 14 crew chief duties in 2016 for driver Tony Stewart’s final year of NASCAR competition. Bugarewicz’s decision to pit Stewart with 25 laps remaining in the race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway led to a last-lap pass for Stewart’s 49th and final Cup Series victory.

The victory propelled Stewart into the playoffs with Bugarewicz the only rookie crew chief among the 16 participants. The arrival of Bowyer in 2017 didn’t slow the success. The No. 14 won two races in 2018 with “Buga’s” race strategy pivotal in each.

This year, Bowyer arrives at Pocono ninth in the points with four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. The No. 14 finished 24th Sunday in the 600-mile race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway after surviving two accidents. Bowyer should be much better Sunday on the three-turn Pocono track where he owns two top-fives and 10 top-10s in 26 starts.

Bowyer goes to battle at Pocono carrying the black-and-red paint scheme of Haas Automation, Inc. Haas Automation is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company’s 1.1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.

“It’s time for us to win one of these things,” Bowyer said. We’ve run well lately but we need to capitalize. Pocono would be a great place. I can’t imagine what Buga would be like if we win this weekend in front of all his friends and family. We might get a smile out of him, but it would be cool to find out.”

 

Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Describe your crew chief Mike Bugarewicz.

“The work ethic is what you care about and I think that is what he cares about with me, as long as I show up for my meetings and take my work seriously. You literally have to tell him to go home, go eat dinner with your family, take your wife out to dinner, do something to get your mind off this. He will call you and 9 or 10 o’clock at night and he is still working. That work ethic is instilled in pretty much everybody at Stewart-Haas, and Mike is no exception. We are very fortunate to have him.”

What do you expect at Pocono this weekend?

“Everything this so tight in our sport right now with this rules package. In qualifying at Charlotte last week, third-place through 16th-place qualifiers all ran 182 mph. In the race, the guy leading would get back a few minutes later and struggle in 20th. It’s just really, really tight right now and you can’t make any errors.”

No. 14 Haas Automation Team Report

Round 14 of 36 – Pocono 400 – Pocono

Car No.: 14 – Haas Automation for Stewart-Haas Racing

 

At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (Drew.Brown@TrueSpeedCommunication.com) ​

No. 14 At-Track Crew Roster
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: Ryan Mulder

Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa

 

Rear Tire Changer: Coleman Dollarhide

Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina

 

Tire Carrier: Dwayne Moore

Hometown: Griffin, Georgia

 

Gas Man: James “Ace” Keener

Hometown: Fortuna, California

 

Jackman: Sean Cotten

Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina

 

Windshield: Chris Trickett

Hometown: Grafton, West Virginia

Road Crew:

 

Truck Drivers: Dale Lackey and Christopher Hamilton

Hometown:Taylorsville, North Carolina and Muncie, Indiana, respectively

 

Engineers: Lee Deese and James Kimbrough

Hometown: Rockingham, North Carolina, and Pensacola, Florida, respectively

 

Mechanics: Tony Silvestri and Robbie Fairweather

Hometown: Sylvania, Ohio and 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, 76 top-five finishes, 203 top-10s and 2,889 laps led in 482 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)
  • Last weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway,Bowyer started eighth but handling issues plagued him early, then damage from two accidents caused by other drivers left him three laps behind the leaders in 24th place.
  • 2018 Pocono races: Bowyer finished 20th in the June 3, 2018 Pocono 400 after racing in the top-10 most of the race. A missed shift with five laps remaining dropped him from seventh to the back of the field. In the July 29, 2018 Gander Outdoors 400, Bowyer started 31st and raced to sixth in the first stage. He started 11th and climbed to third in the second stage. A speeding penalty on lap 121 slowed his progress in the final stage. Bowyer climbed back to 15th on lap 135 and continued his charge back to the front as he had in Stage 1. He restarted 10th with three laps remaining and then again during the final restart in overtime, ultimately finishing 11th.
  • Bowyer owns two top-five finishes and 10 top-10s in 26 career starts at the Pennsylvania 2.5-mile triangle.
  • SHR has two victories at Pocono (Tony Stewart in June 2009 and Kurt Busch in June 2016) and has 22 top-five finishes and 32 top-10s in 62 starts.
  • All-Time Victory List: With 10 career victories, Bowyer is in a 59th-place tie on the all-time wins list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
  • Bowyer’s Top-Three Finishes at SHR (2017- Present):
    • Wins
      • Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
    • 2nd place: 
      • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (March 31, 2019)
      • 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: 
      • Richmond (Va.) Raceway (April 13, 2019)
      • Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Sept. 30, 2018)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
      • Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (March 26, 2017)
  • Bowyer’s Stage Victories 
    • Indianapolis Motor Speedway Stage 1 (Sept. 10, 2018)
    • 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.) 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 (Va.) 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:
    • 2018 12th
    • 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.) 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)
  • Crew Chief Mike Bugarewicz’s Top-3 Finishes at SHR (2016-Present):
    • Wins:
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway  (Bowyer, March 27, 2018)
      • Michigan Intl. Speedway (Bowyer, June 10, 2018)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Speedway (Stewart, June 26, 2016)
    • 2nd place:             
      • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (March 31, 2019)
      • Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 14, 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
      • Richmond (Va.) Raceway (April 13, 2019)
      • Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval (Sept. 30, 2018)
      • Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
      • Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
      • Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
      • Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. (March 26, 2017)

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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