The Buffalo Motorsports Examiner recently had the opportunity to speak with NASCAR veteran Clint Bowyer, who was a judge and coach in this season’s PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge. Learn more about the program here and more about Bowyer over the next few days.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer is one of the surprising number of drivers – including Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart – who are still without a win in the 2014 season. Going into the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, Bowyer is 14th on the Chase for the Sprint Cup grid without a win – but that’s not how Bowyer wants to get in.
“As long as we keep taking care of business – we’re in it right now, we don’t really have to do anything right now except maintain where we’re at,” said Bowyer in a recent interview. “But I don’t want to do that – I want to go on and win some races this year and compete for a championship. I want to get in championship form – I don’t want to get complacent and think about just getting by – we want to get better and get up there and compete for a championship like we have before.”
The next three races on the schedule – Indianapolis, Pocono and Watkins Glen – are a showcase for a diverse driver like Bowyer, whose eight Cup Series wins have come on short tracks, intermediate speedways, superspeedways and road courses alike.
“What a cool spectacle it really is,” said Bowyer of “the Brickyard.” “For the first time I went over to the museum (at Indy) and walked through, with all the old cars and I really got a feel for the history behind this race track and it really is neat to pull in the gate every time you come here. Then you get to thinking, ‘holy cow, I’m gonna get out there and race at this place,’ so many big races, so many big wins, so many big names at this race track. This is one of the big ones everyone wants to win.”
The “Tricky Triangle,” as Pocono Raceway is often called, has benefitted from its recent repave according to Bowyer. “It’s definitely helped it a lot, the repave,” said Bowyer, “it’s a challenging race track, it’s unique, but a lot like Indy – flat, it’s a triangle and not a big rectangle, but it’s very unique. To be honest, a lot of things apply at both race tracks.”
In spite of his success at Sonoma Raceway, Bowyer is still looking for the right combination at The Glen – but he’s getting close. “Sonoma always came relatively easy for me, while Watkins Glen has been something of a work in progress,” explained Bowyer. “We’ve really turned it around – I think we’ve definitely gotten to a place where we can think about winning a race there.”
As a former dirt track racer who has fielded a dirt late model team in the past, Bowyer watched Wednesday night’s Camping World Truck Series race with great interest. “I love that sport, I love dirt track racing and being around it – I enjoyed watching them (at Eldora) and they put on a hell of a show,” said Bowyer.
Not surprisingly, one driver who caught his attention – and that of many other racing fans – was Kyle Larson, who drove a broken truck for nearly 25 laps at the end of the 1-800 CarCash MudSummer Classic. “He was there for checkers or wreckers – he didn’t have to race that thing the next night, and in that situation, I’ll give him a hall pass,” said Bowyer of Larson’s performance.
While track owner Tony Stewart is petitioning NASCAR for a Cup Series event at Eldora, Bowyer thinks the Nationwide Series would benefit from starring at Eldora. “I think the Truck Series is a perfect fit – it’s always been rough-and-tumble, beating-and-banging, carrying on in the Truck Series, it’s always been that way whether they’re on dirt or asphalt or anything else,” said Bowyer. “But I think the Nationwide Series should definitely go and try it out – hey, why not? It would put a bit of a spark in their series I believe they need – I think it would be a lot of fun.”
Another event he enjoyed at Eldora Speedway – the Prelude to the Dream charity race.
“I do miss it,” said Bowyer. “That was an awesome race, a lot of fun. That is a good crowd, it’s blue collar racing at its best and I like being around those guys.”
The Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com goes green Sunday at 1:22 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Bowyer, along with team owner Michael Waltrip, teammates Brian Vickers and Jeff Burton and longtime PEAK spokesperson Danica Patrick, are part of the 2014 PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge – to see the list of drivers participating in this year’s Challenge and their videos, visit peakstockcardream.com. The PEAK Stock Car Dream Challenge will air on the Velocity Channel on August 2nd at 9 p.m. ET.
Coming up in this series: Bowyer talks about NASCAR’s youth movement and impending fatherhood.
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