Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Disney Test Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. — The Daytona 500 is about 75 days away, but Michael Waltrip Racing’s new No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team is ready to hit the track this week in preparation for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. New driver Clint Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie will visit Walt Disney World Speedway in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. to test the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It marks the first test for the new driver-crew chief combination. The test also begins a busy off season for the team that will test at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway and Daytona International Speedway in January.
CLINT BOWYER ON CREW CHIEF BRIAN PATTIE: “I had a lot of say in Brian Pattie becoming my crew chief. I talked to Brian for about the last year or so. I have a lot of confidence in him. He’s young and aggressive. I think he reminds me a lot of me. I think we’ll get along well together and it’ll be a great partnership. He’s assembling a heck of a team around me and that’s what it takes. It takes a good team. These cars that we are working with today are so even that it’s the people and the decisions that those people make that make up the difference.”
“You’ve got to be able to have some sort of common interests together other than what you do on Sundays. You’ve got to have that chemistry and that relationship with them. I think that’s so important. Having success even on Sundays is being able to communicate and have a relationship with the guy that you are going about it with.”
“I think it definitely brings some relaxation and comfort into the situation knowing that you got a good guy that you have confidence in manning the ship. We are building a new team from scratch and Brian is hiring good people. And now to get out and test this week is a big thing for us. It’s everything coming together. I’m just looking forward to the challenges ahead. Obviously any sort of change is going to make things different and be a little bit of a challenge, and it’s now starting to sink in a little bit. It takes time for it to sink in. Even at Homestead-Miami it really didn’t sink in that I’m moving into this new ride for 2012. As I’ve had some time to think and be away, I’m starting to think about this year coming up and get excited for the next step.”
ON SCOTT MILLER: “Scott Miller (MWR competition director) coming over to Michael Waltrip Racing has helped. That’s helped my transition a bunch in moving to a new organization. I think having some people that you know and have confidence in helps a lot. I’m going to have a great team – I really am. I have 100 percent confidence in Brian – I’m super excited about working with him. I think we can have a lot of success together.”
BRIAN PATTIE ON CLINT BOWYER: “Clint’s been a good friend of mine for a long time. He’s always cutting up and having a good time with me and for all this to happen is quite humorous actually. But we have similar backgrounds in that we both grew up dirt racing and have a lot in common. I’m going to go up and take a look at Clint’s dirt shop here soon just because that’s what I do – I build dirt cars. He has a dirt team. The similarities are endless. That’s why I’m so excited to get somewhere and get going. I want to prove my worth, build a team and make the Chase with Clint driving – it’s going to be so much fun.”
- Starting in 2012: Michael Waltrip Racing is fielding three full-time entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the first time since 2007. Martin Truex Jr. will pilot the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota, Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip will share duties in the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine and Clint Bowyer is behind the wheel of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota.
- Walt Disney World Speedway is a one mile tri-oval that hosted NASCAR truck races in 1997 and 1998 as well as five IndyCar races and now serves as a home to driving schools.