CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 15 Toyota Camry driver Clint Bowyer knows he has momentum on his side as he returns to Richmond International Raceway for this weekend’s Toyota Owners 400. Bowyer won last fall at Richmond in the final race before the start of the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Bowyer also has a new paint scheme for his trip to the .75-mile D-shape oval which will carry extra meaning for him this weekend. Bowyer hosted the grand opening of the Clint Bowyer Autoplex Toyota dealership in his hometown of Emporia, Kan. last Thursday. This weekend, Bowyer is sponsored by Toyota Care. Toyota Care is a service program that comes free with the purchase or lease of every new Toyota vehicle. It provides roadside assistance, as well as routine service to give new Toyota owners peace of mind.
RICHMOND: “Once you win at a racetrack, every time you go back there after that, there’s always something you can carry in, and that’s confidence headed into that racetrack. We had a solid run, a top-5 run at Kansas at home, and a little extra boost of confidence and momentum rolling into a track that’s really good for me. So yes, absolutely. I’m looking forward to getting to Richmond. I know the boys are, and they’re going to have the racer set on fuel for me.”
SHORT TRACK RACING: “You’ve got to hit your marks, you’ve got to be precise, you’ve got to get your car handling. At the end of the day it’s no different than these bigger racetracks, but that being said, it seems like I’m better at getting my car to handle as good or better than the competition at these short tracks. You’ve got to be able to put the power down, wide open up off the corners, you’ve got to be able to get into the corners first and foremost. A lot of these short tracks we get loose in, and once you’re loose in on any racetrack you just can’t complete the corner and you’re going to be off a little bit on speed. So you just focus on the balance of your race car, where you need to be, and then race hard. But more importantly, get comfortable. On the short tracks, things happen so fast, if you’re not comfortable, if you’re tense and up on the wheel and just can’t get settled into a pace, it seems like you struggle really bad, and most of the time I can get to where I’m relatively comfortable and can get to just pacing and making laps.”
RUNNER UP JINX: “Obviously everybody talks about that runner up jinx and everything else. It just wasn’t the case with us, The reason I didn’t think so is everybody else that had finished second, Carl — looking at Carl in particular, he lost by a point. Just the devastation from that can carry over not just within a driver but everybody across the board on the race team. We were first year in with a brand new team, we finished second in the championship, won three races. There was absolutely nothing to be hanging your head on, holding your head down. We were all super pumped up and couldn’t wait to get started in 2013. For us it’s just kind of been business as usual. We’ve had some bumps in the road, we’ve had some bad luck that we’ve had to battle through. But nonetheless, we’ve been able to continue to rebound after a bad weekend and get a good finish.”
Richmond: Saturday’s race marks Bowyer’s 15th NSCS start at Richmond. In 14 previous starts, Bowyer has two wins, two top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He started fourth at Richmond last fall and led 88 laps to score his second win of the 2012 season. Bowyer has an average starting position of 14th and finish of 9.6. Bowyer has the fourth-best driver rating (98.5), fifth-most quality passes (437), sixth fastest average green flag speed (116.362) and laps in the top-15 (4,365, 77.8 percent of his total laps).
Short Track Success: In the last 10 races tracks less then 1-mile, Bowyer’s ranks first in points (364), top-fives (five), top-10s (eight) and average finish (8.2). He also has one win and led 244 laps.