Clint Bowyer Daytona 500 Qualifying Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. — 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer knows all eyes will be on his No.15 Toyota as he unloads in for Speedweeks 2013 in Daytona.
In 2012, Bowyer finished runner-up in the final Sprint Cup Series championship standings in his first full season with Michael Waltrip Racing. He won a career best three races on three different style racetracks - a short-track, 1.5 mile oval and a road course. He also recorded career-bests in top-five (10) and top-10 (24) finishes and led 388 laps. Just don’t tell the 33-year old Emporia, Kan. native that he overachieved - according to Bowyer, he just beat expectations … and he hopes to do that again in 2013.
HOW DOES YOUR 2012 PERFORMANCE INFLUENCE EXPECTATIONS FOR 2013? “I don’t think we overachieved, because I think when you say overachieved it means you did more than you’re capable of. I just think we were beyond expectations and what people expected of us. I’m very proud of what we accomplished last year. I’ve looked forward to this year and what we have in front of us and the opportunities ahead with this new car and continue to build on what we had last year. That’s more important to me right now, is making sure we get the year started off right and the only way I know to do that is to win the Daytona 500.”
HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE SEASON AFTER FINISHING SECOND LAST YEAR? “Here’s the thing -- in my opinion it’s a successful year if you make that Chase and you’re part of that group. Anything can happen in 10 races. Look at Martin Truex Jr., my teammate, he had some bad luck there in a couple races and he was 11th in points. He had a top-five car. They were definitely a top-five team. That’s the Chase. Look at us, the last race we went from fourth to second and had some good fortune there. Definitely had some bad fortune the race before that, but anything can happen inside the Chase. Setting your goals appropriately and for me, that’s setting out to win races and make the Chase again and have a shot at the championship.”
DO YOU THINK THE NEW CAR DESIGN CAME AT THE RIGHT TIME IN THE SPORT? “I think it came at a good time. I think max potential was met with the old car with a lot of teams and for our sport. I never liked the identity side of the car that we had. I thought the car that we had, the only way a fan could determine a Toyota from another brand was basically the emblem on the hood. The identity is back in the sport in a big way and I think we’re all excited about working with that.”
DO YOU FEEL THE NEW CAR WILL BE COMPETITIVE? “It’s definitely competitive. On a competitive side, it’s bringing the manufacturers back into it. Our Camry is pretty mean and has some aggressive, sexy lines to it. In doing so, that’s made for a good aero platform and good situations on the race track. Everybody else is working on those same directions and trying to work those gray areas as hard as they can to find those crumbs that make up the difference.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
• The Sprint Unlimited: Bowyer did not qualify for the Sprint Unlimited. Bowyer had the best qualifying average (6.7) over the final 10 races of 2012, but never won a Pole Award.
• NASCAR #Gen6 Road To Daytona Fueled By Sunoco: Bowyer traveled to CNN headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. on Monday, Feb. 11 to appear on “The Morning Express” with Robin Meade and talk to various media outlets about the upcoming Daytona 500 and NASCAR’s new Gen6 2013 Toyota Camry.
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC