Miami Race Report
· No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished second and finishes the 2012 NASCAR
Chase for the Sprint Cup in second – his and MWR’s best career finishes.
· No. 56 NAPA Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth and finishes the 2012 NASCAR Chase for
the Sprint Cup in eleventh.
· No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin finished 16th. The No. 55 finishes the
season 14th in owner points.
FINAL CHASE STANDINGS
1 Brad Keselowski 2400 Leader
2 Clint Bowyer 2361 -39
3 Jimmie Johnson 2360 -40
4 Kasey Kahne 2345 -55
5 Greg Biffle 2332 -68
6 Denny Hamlin 2329 -71
7 Matt Kenseth 2324 -76
8 Kevin Harvick 2321 -79
9 Tony Stewart 2311 -89
10 Jeff Gordon 2303 -97
11 Martin Truex Jr. 2299 -101
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2245 -155
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer finished second in Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started sixth and raced at the front of the field throughout the event. The Brian Pattie-led team employed a fuel strategy late in the race that came close to paying dividends. Bowyer closed in on the leader in the final laps, but crossed the finish line 1.028 seconds behind winner Jeff Gordon. Bowyer finishes the season a career-best second in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. The No. 15 posted three wins, 10 top-five finishes and 23 top-10 finishes in 2012.
· Started sixth and finished second.
· Raced at the front throughout the event.
· Brian Pattie led team employed a fuel strategy late in the race that nearly won Bowyer the race.
· Bowyer finished second behind race winner Jeff Gordon.
BOWYER: How was your race? "We had a decent car. We didn't have the strongest car, but we had a really good car. (Brian) Pattie (crew chief) and everybody at TRD (Toyota Racing Development) and all of these guys on this 5-hour ENERGY Toyota really work hard on fuel mileage. It paid off there at the end. I hated to lose -- nonetheless, it was a good year for us and a good finish for us and just a good way to cap off a great year."
Did you think finishing second in the points was a possibility when you made the move to Michael Waltrip Racing? "You just hope to run that good and hope to land with a good family and a good team. Everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) -- all three of these cars -- Martin Truex (Jr.), Mark Martin and I are just fortunate to drive these race cars. Good cars each and every week. Like I said, it's a long, hard road, this season is and it feels good to finally be over with."
What were your feelings following the race? "Frustrated and bummed out. I would've loved to have won that race, especially to beat him (Jeff Gordon). To end up second and second in points. There were several points in that race where I thought we were good and then we lost all of those positions on pit road and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) car was leading and I was like, 'Well, there goes third. Now where is fourth? How am I going to lose fourth?' To be able to bounce back through all of the adversity and overcome all of that and finish second is just a great feeling. I'm proud of Brian Pattie (crew chief) and all of the guys on the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota. They work hard and they deserve good finishes like this."
What was the racing like today? "It was fun. This is a neat mile-and-a-half race track. I think one of the best that we come to. Just so many options. You slip and slide around, and that outside line because it's got the most banking is somewhat of a preferred line, but you can definitely slide people. It kind of reminds me of an old dry, slick dirt track. You've just got to make sure you slide them far enough and get that thing to stick once you get in front of them. Because a lot of times you'll slide up there and you might get in the wall or might spin out in front of them and take you both out. I've seen it all. I've seen them go good and go bad."
What does it mean to finish second in point standings? "It's huge. To end up second in points and beat guys like Jimmie Johnson to do it. There's several races -- had I had to do over again -- I wish they would've been different. Talladega was the biggest one. We just got behind at Talladega and never could really bounce back. I'm proud of everybody, because we were there all season long."
What do you think of how the championship played out? "Congratulations to Brad Keselowski. I watched that deal on SPEED with him and his family -- his parents -- and it's just a cool story. We'll have a new face as the champion of this sport. I would've liked for it to have been me, but I'm super proud of him and all of his efforts. He was strong when it counted and we all did a good job. We all had a great year. I'm proud of my MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) team."
Martin Truex Jr. Race Summary: No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth in Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started seventh and immediately showed he was one of the fastest cars on the track. Truex led 11 laps and ran in second in the closing laps but his chances for victory went away in the final laps. Truex brushed the wall with 18 to go then needed a fuel stop with 15 laps remaining. Several cars stretched fuel mileage and finished ahead of the No. 56. Truex finishes the season 11th in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup.
· Started second and finished sixth
· Took over lead on lap 117 and led 11 laps.
· Closed on the leader to within a few tenths of a second in the closing laps.
· Late race wall brush and fuel stop kept No. 56 from visiting victory lane
· NAPA KNOW HOW Pit Crew won the 2012 Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award. The award is voted on by all the NASCAR Sprint Cup crew chiefs. Led by Greg Miller, the crew will receive $100,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to the NASCAR Awards Ceremony at the Wynn in Las Vegas.
TRUEX: How disappointing was this evening’s finish? “Run top-two all day and finished sixth. Story of our season. I don’t even know what to do about it. We didn’t even finish top-10 in points -- which is disappointing. We outrun the 24 (Jeff Gordon) all day and then he wins the race and beats us -- and now we’re not in the top-10 in points and it is disappointing. Should have won four races this year. We’re just disappointed. Sixth isn’t bad but it isn’t what we are after.”
Mark Martin Race Summary: No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota driver Mark Martin finished 16th in Sunday’s 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started ninth and ran in the top 10 in the early going before fading to mid pack. Martin and the team worked to correct handling issues throughout the event. The No. 55 was loose at the bottom of the track but couldn’t turn at the top of the track. The No. 55 concluded the 2012 season with seven top-5 and 16 top-10 finishes as well as four poles.
· Started ninth and finished 16th
· Battled handling issues throughout race.
· The No. 55 finishes the season with seven top-5 and 16 top-10 finishes plus a season-high four
MARTIN: “Man, what a great season. I’m very proud of all that we accomplished this season. These guys are an absolute joy to work with. We were loose on the bottom and plowed at the top of the track today. We just never got a handle on it all. We tried but just couldn’t get it. ”
· Jeff Gordon won the race by 1.028 seconds over Clint Bowyer.
· Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle rounded out the top-five finishers.
· The race took two hours and 49 minutes.
· The race featured 19 lead changes among eight drivers.
· Three cautions slowed the race for 17 laps.
· NASCAR estimated the attendance at 76,000
NAME: Clint Bowyer
HOMETOWN: Emporia, KS
RESIDENCE: Clemmons, NC
NAME: Mark Martin
HOMETOWN: Batesville, AR
RESIDENCE: Daytona Beach, FL
NAME: Martin Truex Jr.
HOMETOWN: Mayetta, NJ
RESIDENCE: Mooresville, NC