CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race with plans to continue his recent streak of success on the “Magic Mile.” Bowyer owns two victories, one pole and four top-10s in 12 career starts at the Loudon, N.H. track. The Michael Waltrip Racing team is 10th in the standings with one win and a 31-point lead compared to the 11th-place driver. Only nine races remain before the start of the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Clint Bowyer on New Hampshire: “You go in to that race with a lot more confidence obviously than some of the tracks. We probably should have won last year when we ran out of gas with two (laps) to go there while we were leading. It’s one of those tracks where I feel like we can win again at, but most importantly steer it back there in the right direction like we did in the month of June. We had a lot of solid runs right there – and that’s what it takes, especially at this point in the year. We have the wins to get us in the Chase. If we can get ourselves another win that would be huge. The biggest thing is don’t do something stupid that’ll knock you out of the Chase.”
THE CHASE BUBBLE: “There are certainly guys on that bubble trying to race their way in that don’t have anything to lose. They might not be able to race their way in on points and the only way they can get in is to win – so they’ll be throwing some gambles out there. It’s not like they are going to go out there and wreck people and take chances that way. You just can’t. Everybody in this sport gives 100 percent – the drivers, the teams, crew chiefs – everyone does the best they can do and that’s why it’s a good product. That’s why it’s good racing. That’s why hundreds of thousands of people come watch us race each weekend. That said, if there is a gamble for fuel mileage or something like that, someone is going to stretch it and go for it – especially in that situation.”
SEASON EXPECTIONS: “I think that we’ve exceeded all expectations – that’s MWR across the board. That’s not because I didn’t think that they were capable or anything else – it’s just off the simple facts that they’ve never produced these kinds of results before. But I’m very, very proud and excited to be a part of it. This is a new chapter in my book, so to make it a good one so far this year has been really gratifying and a lot of fun.”
SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON: “Well usually I win later in the year, so to have that win relatively early in the season is big for me. It was really fun and changes expectations. Now I feel like we can make this Chase. I feel like we can compete in this Chase and be a top five team within the Chase. And with as competitive as this sport is right now if you’re a top-five team in the Chase then you kind of have a shot at a championship.”
WATCHING POINTS: “Two weeks ago if you’d have asked me (if I was watching the point standings) I wasn’t looking at all. Obviously you have a bad race and I guess it’s just human nature to look. We’re fine. We’ve got a good pad on 11th place or whatever. We are running well. Things are good. You can’t control what happened last weekend at Daytona. It was a bad deal. We got crashed at Kentucky the week before and got lucky and salvaged a half way decent run. At Daytona we ran around there and did everything I could to stay out of trouble. We waited until the end to try and get through them and got caught up in a wreck. It’s the nature of the beast (at Daytona). You either leave happy or you leave frustrated and pissed off. It was my turn to be pissed off.”
BUBBLE EXPERIENCE FOR THE TEAM: “I think it’s key to maintain the level of confidence, the level of comfort that we’ve had with one another. To keep it fun – that’s a big thing. This gets stressful. There is a tremendous amount of pressure that is on a team that’s on the bubble to make the Chase. It’s so important to everything we do – the sponsors and everybody. Everybody is here to give it their all, but they’ve got to make the right decisions and I’ve got to make the right decisions myself. That’s all you can do.”
JULY FORECAST: In the three racetracks that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits in the month of July (Daytona, New Hampshire, Indianapolis), Bowyer has two wins, one pole, six top-fives, 12 top-10s and has led 625 laps. He has an average starting position of 17th and average finish of 15th. Bowyer started and finished 29th last weekend at Daytona.
REVIEWING JUNE: Bowyer scored 191 points in the month of June – second only to Jimmie Johnson. He climbed from 12th in points up to seventh. His average starting position was ninth and finish was seventh. He had one win, two top-five and four top-10 finishes in five races. He led 72 laps (one at Michigan and 71 at Sonoma). At Sonoma, Bowyer scored his sixth career Cup Series win and his first on a road course. He kicked off June by recording a fifth place finish at Dover – his first top-five since Bristol. He followed that up with a sixth place finish at Pocono and a seventh place finish at Michigan.
BOWYER IN 2012: In 18 starts this season Bowyer has one win, three top-five, nine top-10 and 13 top-15 finishes. He has led 77 laps – three at Las Vegas, two at Martinsville, one at Michigan and 71 at Sonoma. At Sonoma, Bowyer scored his sixth career Cup Series win and his first on a road course. He has an average finish of 12.7 and start of 14.4. Bowyer’s best average finish for a season came in 2007 when he averaged a finish of 13.8 and finished third in the final point standings.
BOWYER AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bowyer will make his 13th career start at New Hampshire on Sunday. In 12 previous New Hampshire starts, he has two wins (2007-2, 2010-2) and four top-10 finishes. He won the race from the pole position in the fall 2007 race. He started second and went on to win the fall 2010 race. Bowyer has led 474 laps at New Hampshire. Bowyer has an average starting position of 13th and finish of 17th.
CHASSIS NOTES: Primary Chassis No. 718 has not raced in 2012. It served as backup at Phoenix, Martinsville and Dover and tested at Nashville and Bristol. Backup chassis No. 712 raced at Phoenix where it started 16th and finished 30th. It also raced at Richmond where it started 23rd and finished seventh.
LEADING THE WAY: MWR’s Toyotas have led 622 laps in the first 17 Sprint Cup Series races of 2012. Martin Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 320 laps, followed by Brian Vickers with 125, Martin with 79, Bowyer with 77 and Waltrip with 21.
MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored a combined record of one win (Bowyer at Sonoma), 11 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes through the first 18 starts of the season. Four of the five drivers have recorded two or more top-five finishes – Truex Jr. has four, Bowyer has three and Mark Martin and Brian Vickers each have two. All five drivers, including Michael Waltrip, have recorded a top-10.
CLINT BOWYER COMMUNITY CENTER: Bowyer hosted the grand opening of the Clint Bowyer Community Center at the Lyon County (Kan.) Fairgrounds on June 26. The celebration included a concert by country music star Blake Shelton with Kyle Petty serving as the opening act. Bowyer donated more than $1 million to the design and construction of the multipurpose facility.
5-hour ENERGY VIP SWEEPSTAKES: The 5-hour ENERGY VIP Racing Experience Sweepstakes winner will receive travel accommodations to Charlotte, N.C., unique team access at the track, honorary pit crew memberships, the winner’s name on the No. 15 Toyota, NASCAR Hall of Fame tickets, a MWR shop tour, and meet and greets with Michael Waltrip and Bowyer. For information or to enter, please visit the online entry form.