CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer heads to Michigan International Speedway for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with a 65 point cushion compared to 11th place with four races remaining before the field is set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
The 5-hour ENERGY driver and team know winning races is the primary goal every weekend, and with only a handful of races remaining in NASCAR’s regular season, the Championship picture is at the front of everyone’s mind. The goal is to minimize risk so you don’t jeopardize a point lead, while still trying to win races for when the field is set after Richmond.
ON POINTS POSITION: “I really haven’t been looking at it too much. I know that we are in pretty good shape with only a couple races to go. We have a goal as a team to finish in the single digits each week–if we do that I don’t think we’ll have any problems. And we’ve been able to do that the last couple weeks. Three of the last four weeks we’ve been in the top-10 and the fourth we were in the top-15, so as long as we keep doing that and staying consistent we are going to be just fine. We just can’t have any major catastrophes in the next couple weeks.”
ON MWR IN 2012: “It’s been a good year so far. We’ve come a long way in a short time. Brian Pattie has assembled a great group of guys and we’ve come together as a team far faster then I think anyone really anticipated. But it’s not really just the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team that is having a great year, but look at what the No. 56 team and Martin Truex Jr. have done. Those guys have really stepped up their game and took it to another level this year. The No. 55 team, with all the different drivers who have been in that car this year, have also done an amazing job. To say I had some concerns when I signed here last year would be very fair to say, but they have gone past all expectations in a very short period of time. This team has a lot of resources in terms of its people, engineering support and the help we get from Toyota and Toyota Racing Development. When I was looking around last year I definitely had my concerns, but they had all the parts and pieces in place to do good things, and those things have really come together.”
ON MICHIGAN TIRE TEST: “Our last Goodyear test with the 5-hour ENERGY team at Michigan was really helpful. Goodyear brought a tire that wasn’t as fast as the original tire from the first race, but was somewhere right in-between what we raced and what we started with. I think it was a pretty good compromise as far as the speeds and the handling. I give Goodyear a lot of credit for going back to Michigan to make sure that we have a good tire for this race.
“And from our standpoint the extra test time definitely helps. We learned some things that we took with us to Pocono and found a lot of speed for this trip back to Michigan. All of the MWR cars were very fast and very good. I’ve been looking forward to coming back to Michigan for a couple weeks. I think we found some things that are going to make us very competitive. And I just had my best finish ever at Michigan in our last visit which never hurts. Hopefully we can make it just a little bit better this time around.”
ON RACING IN MICHIGAN: “This race has always been important to the manufacturers, and Toyota takes this race pretty seriously since we are racing in the backyard of the Big Three. Now with 5-hour ENERGY as my sponsor, this is their backyard too, and I want to show them that they made the right decision in sponsoring this team. We want to perform well for them. We are in great shape right now as far as how the first season has gone, but it would be great to have a strong showing at their home track.”
POINT STANDING: Clint Bowyer is seventh in the point standing with a 65 point lead over 11th with four races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Bowyer trails teammate Martin Truex Jr. by nine points for sixth. Prior to 2012, the best season any driver in the history of Michael Waltrip Racing has finished in a season is 16th in the final point standings (David Reutimann, 2009).
2012 BOWYER vs. CAREER BOWYER: Clint Bowyer has scored one win (Sonoma), five top-five and 12 top-10 finishes and ranks seventh through the first 22 races of 2012. In his six previous seasons, Bowyer best ranking through 22 races was ninth in 2007, most top-five finishes was four in 2008 and 2009, and most top-10s was 11 in 2007 and 2010. See side bar for additional comparison.
BOWYER AT MICHIGAN: Bowyer will make his 14th NSCS start at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. In his previous 13 starts Bowyer has five top-10 finishes. Bowyer recorded a career-best finish of seventh at Michigan in the spring. Bowyer has led eight laps in his 13 starts, averages a 19th place starting position and finish of 18th.
CHASSIS NOTES: Primary chassis No. 727 has raced three times in 2012. It started 11th and finished 13 at Fontana, started 26th and finished 11th at Darlington and started 13th and finished seventh with a lap lead at first Michigan. Backup chassis No. 721 has served backup duty at multiple races, but has not raced. It served as the backup at Las Vegas, Fontana, Texas, Kansas, Darlington, All-Star, Charlotte, both races at Pocono and Michigan. Chassis No. 721 tested Pocono on June 6 and Michigan on June 14.
MORE ON 2012: Bowyer has led 78 laps – three at Las Vegas, two at Martinsville, one at Michigan, 71 at Sonoma and one at New Hampshire. At Sonoma, Bowyer scored his sixth career Cup Series win and his first on a road course. He has an average finish of 11.7 and start of 14.8. 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.
MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored a combined record of one win (Bowyer at Sonoma), 14 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes through the first 22 starts of the season. Four of the five drivers have recorded two or more top-five finishes – Truex Jr. and Bowyer each have five and Mark Martin and Brian Vickers each have two. All five drivers, including Michael Waltrip, have recorded a top-10.
LEADING THE WAY: MWR’s Toyotas have led 623 laps in the first 22 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 78 and Waltrip with 21.
5-hour ENERGY is a Michigan-based company with its corporate headquarters located in Farmington Hills, Mich. about 65 miles from Michigan International Speedway.
DIRT RACING: Bowyer raced in the No. 15 Crawford Supply Camry for Clint Bowyer Racing in the IMCA BMS dirt modified for “Modified Mania” on Aug. 7 at RPM Speedway in Hays, Kansas.
HOMETOWN BOY: On Saturday, July 21 Clint Bowyer hosted his Support Emporia 2012 Charity Event at Emporia Municipal Golf Course in Emporia, Kan. The event raised more than $350,000 to benefit the Emporia Community Foundation through Bowyer’s “79 Fund.” Participants played golf and enjoyed dinner, an awards ceremony, live auction and music at the Emporia Municipal Building following the golf tournament.