Clint Bowyer Michigan Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry driver Clint Bowyer heads to Michigan International Speedway for this weekend’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race with a 110 point lead over 11th place in the standings with four races remaining before the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Bowyer and his team need to finish 34 points better than the 11th-place driver this weekend in order to punch their ticket into the NASCAR playoff. The 34-year old Emporia, Kan. native finished runner up for the 2012 championship, but has no interest in talking about his 2013 championship run until he clinches a Chase spot.
Bowyer learned Tuesday that Brian Vickers will pilot the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine full time in 2014. Vickers will join Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. to fill out the three car lineup for Michael Waltrip racing.
ON THE CHASE: “We are in a good position right now on the points side, but to be honest I’m pretty superstitious when it comes to talking about anything related to (the Chase) until I know for sure if I’m going to be there. I like our chances, but at the same time a lot can happen in the next couple races. One or two things go the wrong way and we’ll be back fighting for our spot. If and/or when we are fortunate enough to be racing for a championship I’ll answer any questions you have, but right now I’d rather just focus on the race at Michigan this weekend and trying to get our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota to victory lane. Michigan is big for 5-hour ENERGY since they are based in Michigan and that is my focus right now more than anything else.”
ON VICKERS: “Brian Vickers is a great teammate and Aaron’s being back on board is paramount to everything going on. To have these cars funded and funded well with good sponsors and everything that comes with it is huge for all of us. He has done so much in a part time role with the team, which is not easy to do by the way, and he has done it well and even got a win. He has gone through a lot over the last couple years, but he kept at it and came out the other side. That shows you the kind of determination Brian bring to the table. And I can’t say enough about the job that Mark Martin and done and what he has brought to the table over the last two years. He is a machine on and off the track and to call him a teammate and be able to learn from him has been a privilege.”
• Chasing the Chase: The No. 15 team is in second place with a 110 point lead over 11th place in the Sprint Cup Series championship standings with four races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff following Richmond. Bowyer needs to gain 34 points over the driver in 11th place at Michigan to clinch a Chase berth.
• Let’s Go Streaking! Bowyer has three straight seventh place and five straight top-eight finishes at Michigan. He hasn’t finished outside the top-10 at Michigan since August 2010. Bowyer has finished 20th or better in every race since Fontana - a streak of 17 races. The next longest top-20 streak by any other driver is 12 by Kevin Harvick.
• Local Connection: 5-hour ENERGY’S corporate offices are in Farmington Hills, Mich. about 65 miles from Michigan International Speedway.
• Chassis: Primary chassis 781 is new to the MWR fleet and has never been raced. Backup chassis No. 724 has served as a backup several races in 2013, but not raced.
• Teammate News: MWR announced on Tuesday morning at the NASCAR Hall of Fame that Brian Vickers will drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine in all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races beginning next season.
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC