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.
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.”