When Clint Bowyer fires his engine at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Wednesday night for the NASCAR Cup Series’ 500-kilometer race, it will mark the fourth of five races in a 14-day span since the sport returned from a 10-week hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The frenetic schedule after a long layoff might be too much, too soon, for some drivers, but like his PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze partner, the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver isn’t about to get overheated when times are tough.
In fact Bowyer sort of likes the busy schedule.
“It’s kind of fun man,” he said. “It’s the same for everybody. I miss racing like this. It reminds me of the old days when I was racing two or three nights a week on dirt, or even when I first started my NASCAR career when I was running the Xfinity cars. With a day or two in between, it isn’t really a big deal.”
Wednesday will continue to see NASCAR operate under a comprehensive health and safety plan that permits no fans, limited crew, strict social distancing, and mandated personal protective equipment and health screenings for all just as it did for two races in Darlington last week and Sunday’s 600-mile race in Charlotte.
In that most recent race at Charlotte, Bowyer was relegated to a last-place finish after a mechanical issue sent his No. 14 Mustang hard into the wall after he ran just 96 laps. He was racing in 11th place at the time of the accident.
“That was pretty much a helpless feeling,” said Bowyer, who has struggled to get a good finish, of late, despite running well.
He was 17th and 22nd in the two races at Darlington in NASCAR’s first events since March 8 due to the pandemic. Bowyer ran in the top-six most of the race in the May 17 Darlington race before late-race problems dropped him to 17th. Last Wednesday, he won the first two stages – the first driver to do so in 2020 – and led 71 laps surpassing the 3,000 mark for career laps led. But once again, trouble very late in the race led to wall contact and a spin, resulting in a disappointing finish.
Wednesday’s race will mark the second of several primary races planned for this season for Bowyer with Old World Industries, the parent company of the PEAK and BlueDEF® brands. PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze will serve as the No. 14 team’s sponsor at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway in September.
PEAK’s legacy in motorsports spans 40 years and includes leading drivers Dale Earnhardt, Michael Waltrip and Kyle Petty. Besides Bowyer’s No. 14 team, PEAK is a partner with Haas F1 Team and its drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, and drag racing’s winningest driver John Force.
PEAK will celebrate its first NASCAR victory on Thursday when it hosts a live viewing party to watch a replay of Petty and then-crew chief Gary Nelson’s domination of the 1990 race at Rockingham, N.C. Petty led 433 of 492 laps that afternoon. Fans can join in on PEAK’s Facebook page and YouTube channel (Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/peakauto YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/peakcarcare) for the one-time-only viewing Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT.
There will also be a special announcement by Bowyer during the event.
There isn’t much rest planned for the days after Charlotte. The Cup Series will return to action at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Sunday, then Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 7, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on June 10 for the third Wednesday-night event since returning to racing, Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway on June 14, and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on June 21.
Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What are your thoughts on NASCAR leading the way for the return of sports in America?
“I was proud to be part of a sport that stepped up and figured out how to make us safe and how to handle the situation. They did a great job. Was it overkill in some areas? Yes, but you’ve got to be that way right now. You’ve got to cover everything. They checked all the boxes twice, took care of business and put cars on the track, which is what everyone wanted to see. I’m proud to be part of that. It went down well in both Darlington and in Charlotte on Sunday.”
How is the confidence after running so well since the return from the hiatus but having some back luck since?
“The way we are running, I think we can pounce on one and get one here. We just have to get rid of some of the bad luck. And, trust me, there’s not a team that will party as much as the old 14 car.”
What do you think of your PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze paint scheme?
“I think it looks great, and I have always said any paint scheme looks good in victory lane, so maybe we can put it in victory lane and make her look spectacular.”
No. 14 PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze Team Report
Round 8 of 36 – Alsco Uniforms 500k– Charlotte
Car No.: 14 – PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze 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: Johnny Klausmeier
Hometown: Perry Hall, Maryland
Car Chief: Chad Haney
Hometown: Fairmont, West Virginia
Engine Specialist: Jon Phillips
Hometown: Jefferson City, Missouri
Engine Builder: Roush Yates Engines: Mooresville, North Carolina
Spotter: Brett Griffin
Hometown: Pageland, South Carolina
Fuelman: Rick Pigeon
Hometown: Fairfax, Vermont
Front Changer: Ryan Mulder
Hometown: Sioux City, Iowa
Carrier: Jon Bernal
Hometown: Shelby, North Carolina
Rear Changer: Chris McMullen
Hometown: Canton, Michigan
Jackman: Sean Cotten
Hometown: Mooresville, North Carolina
Notes of Interest:
Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, three poles, 81 top-five finishes, 216 top-10s and 3,069 laps led in 511 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 Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on Feb. 29, 2020
Bowyer at Charlotte: He owns a victory, two top-five and five top-10 finishes in 27 starts on the Charlotte oval. He owns third- and fourth-place finishes in the track’s two Roval races.
Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600: Bowyer started 20th and raced in 11th until the closing laps of Stage 1, when a mechanical issues sent him hard into the wall, leaving the No. 14 team with a 40th-place finish.
In the 2019 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte: Bowyer started eighth, but handling issues plagued him early, then damage from an accident caused by other drivers left him three laps behind the leaders in 24th place.
2019 All-Star Race at Charlotte: Bowyer won the pole and led two laps, but handling issues left him with a 12th-place finish.
One of Bowyer’s 10 career Cup Series victories came on the Charlotte oval on Oct. 13, 2012. Bowyer led 29 laps and ran out of fuel on his victory celebration lap. His crew pushed the car to victory lane.
SHR has five poles and one points-paying win on the Charlotte oval (Kevin Harvick in October 2014), plus eight top-five finishes and 23 top-10s in 66 oval 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!