Hall of Fame baseball player Ernie Banks is best remembered for not only his amazing play at shortstop and first base for the Chicago Cubs, but also for his enthusiasm announcing, “Let’s Play Two” on many sunny days in Chicago as the Cubs took the field.
Clint Bowyer is more of a Kansas City Royal fan, but echoes Banks’ sentiment when it comes to NASCAR racing.
“Two races in one weekend at Pocono is going to be really cool,” Bowyer said when asked about the Cup Series’ first doubleheader this weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. “I think this is a great idea. I hope it catches on at other places.”
The Cup Series will run a 325-mile race Saturday, followed by a 350-mile race Sunday. In the past, the Pocono races were just weeks apart in June and July. Bowyer said the short turnaround time this weekend will pose a challenge to the drivers and race teams.
“Everybody knows the key to success is preparation and it can’t be any more important than this weekend,” he said. “Pocono’s always been one of those tracks where you think you’re right going into that first race, but a month later you’ve always had another opportunity to kind of right the wrong if you weren’t.
“Now, if you go there this weekend and you’re no good on Saturday, guess what? You better get your head right because you’re going to struggle on Sunday, too. That’s going be a game changer for people. You want to definitely unload good and make sure that your race is good, and don’t tear up anything.”
It’s fitting that on a weekend when man and machine will be tested like no other time in the sport’s history, Bowyer will carry the Mobil 1 paint scheme on his No. 14 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).
Mobil 1 isn’t just the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, it also provides the entire SHR team with leading lubricant technology, ensuring that all SHR Mustangs have a competitive edge over the competition on the track. In its 17th consecutive season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of teams throughout NASCAR’s top three series.
“Mobil 1 has people on our truck after practice taking a look at our lubricants and making sure everything is performing as needed,” Bowyer said. “That’s an advantage. A huge advantage. They are more than just a sponsor on our car. Mobil 1 is a partner and we are going to lean on them this weekend in Pocono for sure.”
Sunday’s race marks the 10th and 11th Cup Series races since May 17 and will be run as NASCAR continues to operate since returning from a 10-week hiatus due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As it did at the previous races, NASCAR series and team personnel in the infield will continue to operate under a comprehensive health and safety plan at Pocono that permits no fans, limited crew, strict social distancing, and mandated personal protective equipment and health screenings for all.
Bowyer said the only disappointment this weekend is not having fans in attendance due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“When they first announced this race, I thought about how much fun it would be going out in the infield and camping sites and seeing what the fans were doing,” he said. “It sucks that we can’t have fans there to enjoy this with us. Before this virus, every weekend you’ll see me get on a golf cart or go for a walk and see how fans take in our sport. Now, we’ll be stuck in a motorhome.”
Bowyer said Pocono is kind of a throwback track.
“Pocono is one of the tracks where fans are sitting in the grandstands right there in the middle of the garage,” Bowyer said. “When you walk by, they are very vocal and it was always kind of cool to stop and talk with them and sign some autographs. I’ll miss that this weekend.”
Once Bowyer buckles in the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang, there will be work to do. He arrives at Pocono 13th in points after a last-lap accident left him with a 25th-place finish Monday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Things are starting to get serious as NASCAR’s 26-race regular season begins the second half of schedule Saturday at Pocono.
A win will vault Bowyer into the NASCAR playoffs that begin in September. A win at Pocono will also put Bowyer in the NASCAR All-Star race on July 15 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. Without a win between now and July 15, Bowyer will race in the NASCAR All-Star Race Open with hopes a good run will transfer him to the All-Star Race.
As a backup plan, he is relying on the online fan vote that will send the most popular remaining driver into the All-Star event. Fans can cast their ballots daily for Bowyer at NASCAR.com/fanvote or by clicking here.
Bowyer is hoping he won’t have to worry about the fan vote and he’ll win a race this weekend in Pocono.
Or maybe he’ll win two!
Clint Bowyer, Driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Why do you take an interest in what the fans are doing at the racetrack?
“I love it. I love just figuring out how different fans see NASCAR. Everybody’s different. We need the 24-, 25-year-old, 35-year-old kid that’s out there throwing down, who borrowed the old man’s Winnebago and out there with his buddies way over his head, can’t figure out how to get the pilot light lit. We don’t have any hot water, the cooler’s empty, we forgot to put gas in it, generator won’t work, but we got plenty of beer. We’ve got to have that guy.
“We also need the family guy who brings his family and tailgates and enjoys the race weekend, and then we need that old guy who’s sitting there saying, ‘Man, back in my day I used to watch Yarborough go around that place.’
“We need it all, and that’s the coolest thing about our sport – you have all of that and they’re all out there tailgating together. I think that’s what makes it all go around. That being said, look at Pocono and these doubleheaders. Look at the opportunity that all those people are going to have to watch the Cup Series racing on Saturday and Sunday when everyone gets back to the track.”
No. 14 Mobil 1 Team Report
Round 14 & 15 – Pocono 325 & Pocono 350 – Pocono
Car No.: 14 – Mobil 1 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, 82 top-five finishes, 217 top-10s and 3,127 laps led in 518 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.
Monday at Talladega: Bowyer started 10th and ran at the back of the pack through the first two stages while showing the ability to get to the front of the field when needed. As the laps wound down, he moved himself in position to battle for the victory, but an accident on the final lap left him with a 25th-place finish.
Bowyer at Pocono in 2019: In July,Bowyer started 13th and raced in the top-10 most of the day but dropped to 20th to begin overtime. When the green flag flew for the two-lap shootout, Bowyer raced up to 11th before the checkered flag. In June, Bowyer started third but fell back to 11th when he took four tires while others took two during the lap-20 competition caution. Bowyer climbed back to 10th when the crew called him back to pit road with two laps left in the stage in order to gain better track position for Stage 2. Bowyer finished 34th but moved to sixth during the stage break when the rest of the field pitted. He opted for a similar strategy at the end of Stage 2 and started the final stage in fourth. He appeared to have secured a third-place finish, but a caution with nine laps remaining forced a restart. Bowyer finished fifth.
Bowyer at Pocono in 2018: Bowyer finished 20th in the June 3 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 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 three top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 28 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 23 top-five finishes and 36 top-10s in 70 starts.
All-time victory list: With 10 career victories, Bowyer is in a 59th-place tie on the all-time Cup Series wins list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
Listen to Clint Bowyer and Barstool Sports’ Dave Portnoy on the “Rubbin’ is Racing” podcast each week as the pair discuss racing, as well just about every other topic under the sun. Subscribe for a new episode every Thursday.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!