CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota crew chief Brian Pattie is bringing two proven race winning chassis to the racetrack over the next two weeks as he tries to close the gap on the points leaders. Bowyer is third in the point standings trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 26 points with three races remaining.
Pattie is bringing Chassis No. 740 for Sunday’s AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway—the same car that visited victory lane for the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte. And he is preparing his Richmond race-winning car for the following week at Phoenix.
CAR SELECTION: “I got the Charlotte winner going to Texas and I have the Richmond winner going to Phoenix. Homestead we’ll just have to see what happens. I’m taking the car that we won with at Richmond and that’s going to be our car at Phoenix. I just want to make sure that we are prepared and ready. Turning the Martinsville car around last minute and getting it on a truck that leaves next Tuesday didn’t make me feel like I’d be well prepared in time for Phoenix. So we are deciding to take a proven car. I mean obviously she won at Richmond and had good speed. We totally reworked the Richmond car to get it ready. The guys here are all-in. The guys in the fab shop and body shop have given me everything I’ve asked for. These guys are working hard at the shop and they want to win just as bad as I do. It’s cool that when we go to the racetrack we know that we have 250 employees behind us. Whatever we want to do – they are all for it.”
THE LEADERS: “All I can do is worry about running well and putting ourselves in position to win races every week. Bad luck is not something I can really wish upon the other guys in front of us or even worry about. Yes, we are going to need some help from the other guys to stay in this deal. I said that in the post-race interview at Charlotte. Even after winning Charlotte we were still 20-something points out and we’re going to need some help to catch these guys. Now there are two guys in front of us, but the gap is still about the same after finishing fifth and sixth two weeks in a row. It’s tough! These guys are tough. Winning a championship in the Cup Series is tough to do and we’re finding that out the hard way by running good and not making up spots. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve had a phenomenal summer and fall. The last 20 races or so have been pretty good. We’ll just keep plugging away and hopefully they’ll mess up and we are there to capitalize.”
EXPECTATIONS: “Let’s be honest – I don’t think at the start of the season that anyone thought that we’d be sitting where we are today. It’s a brand new team. All of us came together for the very first time December 7, 2011. We went to test at Disney. It was just a shakedown test. That was the first time that I even got to see Clint with his helmet on and actually talk to him. I mean we were friends and talked in the garage area at the track, but this was the first time we got to actually work together. I told the guys coming back from Martinsville the other night – if you would have told us as we were sitting at dinner one of the nights at Disney that we’d be sitting third in points within shouting distance of the lead with three races to go – what would you have said? I really wasn’t looking at that. I was thinking and looking at getting into the Chase. Let’s win some races make the Chase and see what happens. Well, now we’ve made the Chase, we’ve won some races and now we are in it. Hey, it’s fun! It’s a learning experience for all of us. Watching the driver and how he adapts to the pressure and the situation. It’s the same way with the crew members. It’s the same way with pit crew guys and my A-team guys that travel. The engineers and myself – it’s a learning experience. Hopefully if it works out we’ll win the championship. If it doesn’t we are going to take some positives into next year and try to polish the edges that weren’t so polished this year and make it right for next year.”
POINT STANDINGS: Bowyer is third in the point standings with 2265 points. Bowyer trails leader Jimmie Johnson by 26 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. 740 is the race winning car from the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte. Backup chassis No. 716 raced earlier this season in Las Vegas, Kansas, Charlotte, Kentucky and Indianapolis. Chassis No. 716’s best finish was sixth at Las Vegas.
IN THE CHASE: Bowyer has one win, three top-five and six top-10 finishes in seven Chase races. He has an average finish of 8.3 and has averaged a 5.9 qualifying effort. He has collected three bonus points for his win at Charlotte and six bonus points for leading laps in six of the seven races to collect a total of nine bonus points.
LOOPING THE CHASE: Bowyer has raced in the top-15 for 93.3 percent of laps run in the Chase (most of any driver), has the best average starting position (5.9) and is tied for the most top-10s (six). He ranks second in average running position (7.735), third in driver rating (106.8) and top-five finishes (three).
2012 BOWYER vs. CAREER BOWYER: Bowyer has three wins (Sonoma, fall Richmond and fall Charlotte), nine top-five and 21 top-10 finishes and is third through 33 races of 2012. In his six previous seasons, Bowyer’s best ranking through 33 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 13 of 33 races for 388 laps in 2012. He led season-high 154 Laps in Martinsville, 88 laps in his Richmond win, 71 laps in Sonoma and 29 at Charlotte two weeks ago. Bowyer has led laps in six of the seven Chase races and seven of the last eight races.
MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored a combined record of three wins (Bowyer at Sonoma, Richmond and Charlotte), 23 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes through the 33 races of the season. Four drivers have recorded three or more top-five finishes – Bowyer has nine, Truex Jr. has seven, Martin has four and Vickers has three. All five drivers, including Waltrip, have recorded a top-10. See side bar for additional comparison.
1100 LAPS AND COUNTING: Bowyer led 154 laps and Brian Vickers led 27 at Martinsville to give MWR’s Toyotas 1187 laps led in the 33 Sprint Cup Series races of 2012. Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 423 laps led, Bowyer 388, Martin with 195, Vickers 158, and Waltrip with 21.
PINK LEMONADE: Bowyer raced the No. 15 Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY/Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade Toyota the entire month of October. 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.