How important is success at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn to some of the key stakeholders in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series?
This week, Ford is gathering all of its Cup Series drivers Thursday at its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, where they will meet with employees, tour the world headquarters and talk with executives. Then Sunday, many executives and employees will make the 65-mile trek to the 2-mile speedway to watch the Ford contingent battle the two other manufacturers in America’s most popular form of motorsports.
“Michigan is in the manufacturer’s backyard, and winning there not only means bragging rights for those folks, but goes toward business reasons they are in the sport and support all of us,” said No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang driver Clint Bowyer. “We’ll take a victory anywhere, but winning at Michigan is always a good thing for everybody.”
Bowyer knows the reward for success at Michigan. He earned his 10th career victory there on June 10 last year. It was one of two victories in 2018 that moved him into a 59th-place tie with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin on the all-time wins list. Bowyer could use a victory this weekend as he teeters on the edge of playoff eligibility.
He is 15th in the standings for one of the 16 playoff slots. He holds a 12-point advantage over Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman, who are tied for 17th. While Bowyer is trying to preserve his place in the standings, he’s only 48 points out of 12th with just four races remaining in NASCAR’s regular season.
Bowyer arrives at Michigan after finishing 20th on the road course at Watkins Glen (N.Y) International last weekend. He raced in the top-five much of the race until a flat tire on lap 62 of the 90-lap race dropped him back to 34th. Bowyer made his way back through the field, but there wasn’t enough laps left in the race to regain his position.
“That’s kind of how our season has gone,” Bowyer said. “We were right where we wanted to be last weekend and had a flat tire. We know we have some really important races coming up but, if we race like I expect us to race, then we are going to be fine. We plan on gaining a few spots in the standings, as well.”
Michigan might be the place to do just that.
At Michigan this past June, Bowyer qualified fifth and ran at the front of the field until a late-race accident ended his day on lap 130 of the 200-lap event. He owns a victory, two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 27 starts at the track about a 90-minute drive west of Detroit. While race results and playoff standings are important, this weekend has a little extra importance as Bowyer’s No. 14 Mustang will carry the green and white colors of One Cure.
One Cure is a project led by the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The One Cure program is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals. This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer.
The center, located in Colorado State’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 130 patients enrolling in carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. The canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope for the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.
“We all know cancer sucks, but I’ve learned about cancer through One Cure and there’s hope through studying animals,” Bowyer said. “They told me one in three people, one in four dogs, and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetime and it’s a leading cause of death for all of us.”
Bowyer said there are few things in life more important than seeking a cure for cancer.
“Dogs are the best subjects to study cancer because they get cancer naturally, just like people,” he said. “Plus, they live in the same places, breathe the same air, drink the same water – even sometimes eat the same foods. I’ve learned through the One Cure folks that dogs share 85 percent of our genetic makeup. If you can cure cancer in a dog, then you have a good shot at doing the same things for humans.”
Bowyer hopes race fans will visit www.OneCure.com, where they can learn about the research and offer financial support.
Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Is there pressure on you and the other drivers battling for a playoff spot this weekend at Michigan International Speedway?
“There’s pressure in everything you do in this sport and that’s kind of the way we like it. That’s what makes it fun. We are getting to the point in the season when the pay window is starting to open and it’s go time. That’s when it’s fun for the drivers, teams and especially the fans. As the tension goes up, the sport gets more and more interesting.”
What are your thoughts on Michigan International Speedway?
“The speed at Michigan will surely get your attention. You better have everything right at Michigan. That’s engine, aero, handling and everything else. You are going so fast there that anything slightly off will show up.”
No. 14 One Cure Team Report
Round 23 of 36 – Consumers Energy 400 – Michigan
Car No.: 14 – One Cure Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing
At Track PR Contact: Drew Brown with True Speed Communication (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: 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
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 Aurora, Colorado 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, 78 top-five finishes, 205 top-10s and 2,935 laps led in 490 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight NASCAR 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 at Watkins Glen: Bowyer started 13th and ran in the top-five for much of the race until a lap-62 flat tire dropped him to 34th. He raced back to 20th before the checkered flag fell.
Bowyer at Michigan in June: Bowyer started fifth but a loose-handling racecar dropped him to 12th in the opening laps and he finished 13th in Stage 1. After starting eighth in Stage 2, Bowyer moved to third on the opening lap but dropped to 27th when he needed fuel with just six laps remaining in the stage. He started the final stage in seventh but contact with another car on lap 130 sent the No. 14 into the wall, ending Bowyer’s race and leaving him with a 35th-place finish.
2018 Michigan races: Bowyer notched his 10th career Cup Series victory at Michigan on June 10, 2018.A late, two-tire stop was followed by a furious battle with SHR teammate Kevin Harvick. Then a race-ending storm led to Bowyer’s second victory of the season. Harvick finished second and Kurt Busch’s third-place result gave SHR its first 1-2-3 finish – the first in the Cup Series since Roush-Fenway Racing’s trifecta in September 2008 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Bowyer started 16th and handling issues left him with a 12th-place finish in the Aug. 12 race at Michigan. Harvick won that race.
Bowyer owns a victory, two top-five finishes and 12 top-10s in 27 career starts at the 2-mile Michigan oval.
SHR has three victories at Michigan (Busch in June 2015, Bowyer in June 2018 and Harvick in August 2018) and has 15 top-five finishes and 26 top-10s in 66 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.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!