CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY Toyota crew chief Brian Pattie returns to Martinsville Speedway for Sunday’s 500-lap race looking to add a grandfather clock to his collection of trophies.
Pattie, who watched last year’s fall Martinsville race from the comfort of his home, notes that 2012 has been a career rebirth. One year later, Pattie and his team are in contention for a championship with four races remaining in the season trailing the leader by 25 points.
ON 2012: “Last year when I was sitting at home watching races on TV it re-energized me. I got a little bit stagnant. A little frustrated at times and it kind of showed in performance and strategy. The second half of last year from July to December was actually perfect for me. It was an opportunity for me to sit back and relax. It helped me regain my competitive edge. It helped me regain that hunger to compete. I love going to the races and making sure that we qualify up front and race up front, leading laps and winning races – that’s what it’s about. I lost some of that the last couple years, so it was good for me. When I came back here I said I was going to push the envelope. I was going to push hard and give it all I’ve got – and so far that’s worked.”
DRIVER/CREW CHIEF PAIRING: “We have a tremendous amount of fun. Clint is a jokester. We get along great. We talk probably twice as much about every other thing except for racing. From dirt racing to the off-the-wall stuff. I don’t know. He trusts me. I trust him. I know when he puts the helmet on he gives 110 percent. He trusts that I’ll do the best I can on pit calls and strategy. Luckily we’ve had some good races where strategy has helped us and he’s definitely bailed us out of some situations where we weren’t where we needed to be during the race. It’s just a true team effort – the best I’ve ever had. It’s been a lot of fun.”
MARTINSVILLE: “We’re going for the clock. We’ve got a brand new 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. It’s the first time that MWR has ever built a specific short-track car for an event. They did a really nice job. It’s pretty special. We had a pretty good car in the spring. We had the opportunity to win the race in the spring. We all know how that worked out, but it was a solid race and a solid effort for us in the spring. I’m really looking forward to going to the race and going for that trophy. We want to beat the No. 11 and 48 at their own game.”
OTHER CONTENDERS: “I’m not smart enough to look at everyone else to be honest. I get tunnel vision. I get so wrapped up in the race and the flow of the race that I really don’t pay attention. Obviously last week I saw the No. 48 spin and thought that should help us a bit, but there are still guys in front of us. With one messing up and the other two still running it really doesn’t help. We just concentrate on the No. 15. We concentrate on trying to get trophies. We figured out a long time ago that the trophies don’t matter – the bonus points do. The top-10 are Chasers every week, so in order to make up ground you need those bonus points that come with winning.”
STRATEGY: “Martinsville is really a little more like Atlanta in terms of strategy – usually the best cars run up front. It can go green for a long time and the tires are worth something. You have to have forward bite and be really good in the center. The place is so short that two tires can be worth a couple tenths which is huge on a racetrack like Martinsville. I’m glad we are going to a track that the tires
matter. At the end of the race the strategies are all over the board, but the same guys always run up front there and it’s always the fastest guys from practice. Hopefully we are one of those guys. I’m really looking forward to it. Our new car is really a hot rod and looks really good, so hopefully she runs good too.”
PINK LEMONADE: Bowyer is racing the No. 15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY/Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade Toyota at Martinsville. In 2012, 5-hour ENERGY is donating at least $75,000 to the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade in connection with its new Pink Lemonade flavor. But that donation can increase a lot. The more Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY sells, the more they will donate.
IN THE CHASE: Bowyer has one win, two top-five and five top-10 finishes in six Chase races. He has an average finish of 8.8 and has averaged a 5.5 qualifying effort. He has collected three bonus points for his win at Charlotte and five bonus points for leading laps in five of the six races to collect a total of eight bonus points.
POINT STANDINGS: Bowyer is fourth in the point standings with 2225 points. Bowyer trails leader Brad Keselowski by 25 points. Prior to 2012, the best season any driver in the history of MWR has finished in a season is 16th in the final point standings (David Reutimann, 2009).
CHASSIS NOTES: Primary chassis No. 743 is a new chassis that has never been raced. Backup chassis No. 712 finished 30th at Phoenix and seventh at Richmond in the spring.
2012 BOWYER vs. CAREER BOWYER: Bowyer has three wins (Sonoma, fall Richmond and fall Charlotte), eight top-five and 20 top-10 finishes and is fourth through 32 races of 2012. In his six previous seasons, Bowyer’s best ranking through 32 races was third in 2007, most top-five finishes was six in 2010 and most top-10s was 16 in 2010. See side bar for additional comparison.
WINNING: At Sonoma, Bowyer scored his sixth career Cup Series win and his first on a road course. In Richmond Bowyer scored his seventh career Cup Series win and his second at Richmond. At Charlotte, Bowyer scored his eighth career Cup Series win and his first on a 1.5-mile track.
LEADING: Bowyer has led in 12 of 32 races for 234 laps in 2012. He led season-high 88 laps in his Richmond win, 71 laps in Sonoma and 29 at Charlotte two weeks ago. Bowyer has led laps in five of the six Chase races and six of the last seven races.
AVERAGES: He has an average finish of 11.0 and start of 13.3. 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 three wins (Bowyer at Sonoma, Richmond and Charlotte), 22 top-five and 52 top-10 finishes through the 32 races of the season. Four drivers have recorded three or more top-five finishes – Bowyer has eight, Truex Jr. has seven, Martin has four and Vickers has three. All five drivers, including Waltrip, have recorded a top-10.
1000 LAPS AND COUNTING: Bowyer led five laps and Mark Martin led 60 at Kansas to give MWR’s Toyotas 1004 laps led in the 32 Sprint Cup Series races of 2012. Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 423 laps led, Bowyer 234, Martin with 195, Vickers 131, and Waltrip with 21.