CORNELIUS, N.C. — 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer heads to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend knowing just a little more about the character of his team after a long couple weeks in Daytona. Bowyer, who fell two laps down with about 40 laps to go in the Daytona 500, battled back with the help of his new team to score an 11th-place finish to start the season. He credits his team’s determination to make the most of a difficult situation.
Last season Phoenix International Raceway completed a re-pave and reconfiguration project that widened the front stretch by 10 feet, add variable banking and pushed the dogleg curve between Turns 2 and 3 out 95 feet – and Bowyer believes the new track added to the excitement of the racing at Phoenix last fall.
ON DAYTONA: “Daytona is always kind of a season all by itself – maybe more so this year than any other year with all the rain and delay. We had a decent Daytona 500, but it could have been better. We were racing up front and in a great position until we ran out of gas. Not sure exactly what happened there, but we’ll get it figured out. But you know what, the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team guys showed me something right there. We battled back and did everything we could and took what could have been a 30th place finish and almost put it in the top-10 by the checkers. It wasn’t a perfect day by any stretch, but when you’re working with new guys it’s good to know the kind of team you have—and they showed me that they don’t give up on Monday night.”
ON PHOENIX: “Phoenix has always been kind of unique to itself. I think it always will be. I think the repaving and reconfiguring made it all that much better. Short track racing is always a lot of fun. I wish we had five more tracks just like Phoenix.”
ON PHOENIX REPAVE AND RECONFIGURATION “I can’t wait to get back out to Phoenix with the new repave and new configuration. You know, believe it or not, usually when they do that the first few races right after aren’t very good, they’re pretty single file, but holy cow! About half-way through the race the track really opened up and we got that outside groove going and it was a heck of a race from then on out. I think everyone is looking forward to get back out there.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
• Bowyer at Phoenix: Bowyer will make his 14th career NSCS start at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. In 13 previous starts, he has two top-five and five top-1o finishes. He finished a career best second in the 2008 spring race. He also finished fifth in the spring 2006 race, where he led 22 laps. Bowyer has an average starting position of 20th and finish of 16th. His lone DNF came in the fall of 2006 due to an oil line.
• Bowyer at Daytona: Bowyer started 30th and finished 11th in the Daytona 500. He raced the majority of the race in the top-10, fell two laps down when he ran out of fuel, but was able to recover both laps to finish 11th. He started at the rear of the field and finished 15th in the second Duel at Daytona to secure his starting position. He finished eighth in the Budweiser Shootout after starting 17th.
• Chassis Notes: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 712 at Phoenix. The backup is No. 718 – both are new.
• DIRECTV HOTPASS: Bowyer is one of four Sprint Cup Series drivers featured on DirecTV Hotpass. Bowyer will appear on channel 795.
• Now Appearing: Bowyer is scheduled to be a guest on SPEEDTV’s Trackside Live in Phoenix starting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Bowyer also is scheduled to appear at the Budweiser Roll-Bar at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday at 9:15 a.m.
• Lights, Camera, Action!: Several new commercials featuring Bowyer debuted during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, including: 5-hour ENERGY, Sprint, AAA and NASCAR.com.