Skip to content

For Clint Bowyer, more winning and less drama the goal for 2014

Feb 20, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

Daytona 500 - Practice Getty Images

Some of Clint Bowyer’s month of February has involved hunting and dirt tracks, two parts of his life that are part of his roots, his core being.

The other focus of the month, obviously, is on beginning his third season with Michael Waltrip Racing and bouncing back in 2014 after a challenging 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

Balancing that mix of “happy-go-lucky” and an ability to relate to the common fan, along with his driving prowess and focus on Sundays, will be key to seeing him return to the heights he achieved in his first year at MWR. That year, he finished second in points to Brad Keselowski in 2012.

Far too often in 2013, Bowyer and MWR came up on the unhappy side of the headlines. The Richmond saga stands out, but to Bowyer, the lack of wins on the whole was a more dispiriting part of the year.

“Richmond was tough, but the most frustrating thing for me was not winning a race, period,” Bowyer told MotorSportsTalk Wednesday.

“We couldn’t get the job done. Atlanta, we were so fast [he led 48 laps –Ed.]. It was the fastest car I’ve ever had. We set sail and were gone, and went so fast that the motor couldn’t keep up.”

He finished seventh in points, with 10 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. But he has the potential to improve on that in 2014 because unlike a number of high-profile drivers (Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and former MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr., among others) who are all switching teams and will need time to develop chemistry, Bowyer’s entrenched in a familiar environment.

For Bowyer, the foundation is there for his group at MWR in the No. 15 5-Hour Energy/PEAK Antifreeze Toyota team, led by crew chief Brian Pattie.

“Trust me, we’ve hunkered down and been hard at work,” he said. “We’ve gone to Nashville five or six times; done short-track running at New Smyrna. A lot of testing.

“Being together this long is key, because we haven’t really lost any assets on (the 15 team). We don’t have to start getting used to each other like guys that have shifted around. We know what to expect.”

Gaining Jeff Burton in the team’s third car for selected races, along with new full-time teammate Brian Vickers, Bowyer said will also make up for the team’s losses over the winter.

“We didn’t lose anyone on the 15, but no question we have lost some assets elsewhere,” Bowyer admitted. “(Crew chief Rodney) Childers was a big thing. The Martins (Mark Martin, Truex), losing them, you lose that database and great contribution they bring.

“But Burton I’ve worked with before. We speak the same language, same characteristics. He was a guy I leaned on early on in my career, and will do so again in the races he’s here.”

Bowyer and Burton were teammates at Richard Childress Racing from 2006 through 2011.

As for Daytona, the Toyotas have yet to show the pace of, ironically, the Childress-built Chevrolets thus far. Bowyer was the second fastest Toyota in qualifying … but only 20th overall, with Matt Kenseth best of the bunch in 17th.

Bowyer will start 10th for Budweiser Duel 2 on Thursday night. Despite the single-lap gap, Bowyer isn’t concerned the TRD brigade will be up against it for the rest of Speedweeks.

“I’ve learned not to put too much stock into what happens on qualifying day,” he said.

Where Bowyer was able to put some stock – and insight – was last Saturday’s Sprint Unlimited. As he didn’t score a pole position in 2013, he wasn’t able to race in the event. He observed the race and engaged with fans from FOX Sports’ “Hollywood Hotel” in the infield.

“It started out single file and in the booth I wanted to be like, ‘C’mon guys,’” Bowyer said. “To be honest, they were knocking the rust off, and it was the first time on track racing in three months. Then they went all out, and it turned into a wild shootout.”

Additionally, one other area where Bowyer is offering his time and insight is in a role as a judge and coach of the PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge, which launched on Feb. 18th.

The PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge is a nationwide search to find an amateur racer who has what it takes to be a professional driver. More information is available at PEAKStockCarDream.com; 2013’s winner was Patrick Staropoli, a 24-year-old Floridian who Bowyer said “Made the most of his opportunity” in his NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts.

But overall, Bowyer’s got his observations and insights largely out of the way. Now it’s time to see how he does on track the rest of this week in Daytona, and for the rest of 2014 as he seeks a bounce back season.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR: Crew chief earns 1-week suspension after Truck Series rule violation

    Sep 17, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    NCWTSLogo

    The No. 20 Truck failed to meet post-race body height requirements following Saturday night’s Truck Series event at Chicagoland Speedway.

  2. Staying balanced in Chase critical for Kevin Harvick, No. 4 team

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

    Kevin Harvick AP

    Needing two more good races to make the Contender Round, knowing when and when not to take a chance on the track will be important for the 4 camp.

  3. Singapore GP, Red Bull GRC highlight weekend’s NBC motorsports coverage

    Sep 17, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Marina Bay circuit illuminated at dusk Reuters

    Singapore GP and two Red Bull GRC races to watch this weekend, among other items, on NBC TV times.

  4. NASCAR: Richard Petty Motorsports committed to two-car program in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT

    Sprint Showdown Getty Images

    RPM also announces that it will stay with Ford, and also continue chassis/engine supply deals with Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines respectively.

  5. CFH confirms Chevrolet power for 2015 IndyCar season

    Sep 17, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Ed Carpenter AP

    Ed Carpenter Racing and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, under new CFH Racing banner, will run Chevrolets in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series.

  6. Ferrari shifting focus, will test 2015 components on current car

    Sep 17, 2014, 12:36 PM EDT

    Italy F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    Team engineering director Pat Fry says some new components for 2015 will be tested on the current F14 T car during the final stretch of races this year.

  7. NASCAR: STANLEY, DEWALT join JGR in 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing Photo via @JoeGibbsRacing

    DEWALT and STANLEY join Joe Gibbs Racing, for Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, in 2015.

  8. GP2 announces DRS for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT

    Mideast Emirates F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    GP2 adds DRS for 2015.

  9. NASCAR Whelen Euro Series adds another oval race for 2015

    Sep 17, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    whelen euro

    NASCAR Whelen Euro Series announces 2015 schedule, which includes another oval.

  10. NASCAR: Corey Lajoie to make Cup debut; ARCA’s Boston to drive 2 N’Wide races for Gibbs

    Sep 16, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    Corey LaJoie AP

    Lajoie will run his first Cup race at New Hampshire, while Justin Boston will drive for Joe Gibbs Racing at Kentucky and Dover in the Nationwide Series.

  11. NASCAR AMERICA: One Sprint Cup title not enough for Keselowski (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    Brad Keselowski AP

    Will experience or hunger help him capture his 2nd Sprint Cup title? The NASCAR AMERICA gang debates the topic.

  12. NASCAR AMERICA: The possible outcomes for Tony Stewart (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    NBC Sports legal analyst Jack Furlong breaks down what could happen now that a grand jury will decide whether Stewart will face charges for his involvement in the accident that killed sprint car racer Kevin Ward Jr.

  13. Red Bull GRC: Layout, entry list set for L.A. doubleheader

    Sep 16, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    RedBullGRCLA

    The nine-turn Port of Los Angeles circuit will feature the longest joker of the 2014 GRC season.

  14. FIA clarifies new Formula One team radio restrictions

    Sep 16, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Christian Horner AP

    Teams now know what radio messages can and cannot be made heading into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

  15. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA has the latest on Tony Stewart saga at 5 p.m. ET

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:45 PM EDT

    Federated Auto Parts 400 - Practice Getty Images

    Also coming up today: What’s more important in winning a Sprint Cup title: Experience or Drive?; rookie phenom Kyle Larson on dealing with the hype; NASCAR pioneer Wendell Scott to be honored next month.

  16. IndyCar’s Mikhail Aleshin released from Indianapolis hospital

    Sep 16, 2014, 4:00 PM EDT

    Mikhail Aleshin AP

    The Russian driver will continue his rehab work in Indy after sustaining multiple injuries in a practice crash on Aug. 29 at Auto Club Speedway.

  17. DA will submit evidence from Tony Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. case to grand jury

    Sep 16, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT

    Tony Stewart AP

    The three-time NASCAR champion responds that he intends to “continue to provide my full cooperation.”

  18. OAK set for three of last four FIA WEC races

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

    Le Mans 24h Race Getty Images

    OAK Racing to return to FIA WEC for three of last four races.

  19. NASCAR: Hall of Fame inductee Wendell Scott to be honored next month at M’Ville

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT

    Credit: Front Row Motorsports Credit: Front Row Motorsports

    Sprint Cup driver David Ragan and Camping World Truck Series driver Darrell Wallace Jr. will sport special paint schemes honoring Scott during the Martinsville Chase weekend in October.

  20. PWC: 25th Anniversary and Season Recap Videos (VIDEO)

    Sep 16, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    WC

    Videos from the Pirelli World Challenge championship celebration highlight 25 years, and the 25th year (2014) of the championship.

Video from NASCAR America

Brad Keselowski in top form
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1609)
  2. J. Gordon (1286)
  3. K. Harvick (1252)
  4. J. Johnson (1207)
  5. B. Keselowski (1206)