No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota New Hampshire Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. - No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer circles New Hampshire Motor Speedway on his Sprint Cup Series schedule early in the year.
The fall race at the Magic Mile is where he normally does his best work. Bowyer’s two wins at New Hampshire have both come at the fall race, one from the pole position and both from the front row, and both while competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Bowyer started from the pole position and led 222 laps in the fall 2007 race, and started second and led 177 in the fall 2010 race. Bowyer is also bringing chassis No. 718 - the same Toyota Camry that he used to win at Richmond on Sept. 8.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: "I look at the short tracks and think the best opportunity to win races is on those short tracks. We did okay in Chicago, not great, but just okay. New Hampshire -- we have a pretty damn good roll going to New Hampshire. I think we can win at New Hampshire and get things started off right. If we can do that and keep this buzz going at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing), I think we can compete. The 1.5 mile tracks, I've never won on one of those, I know that and everybody else does. I have to pick up my game on the 1.5 mile tracks -- but we've been running better than I ever have with these MWR cars on that type of track. I think if I ever could win on those, it would be in the Chase in the last 10 races. If I can do that with the success I have on the short tracks, again we can be a force to be reckoned with."
NEW SPOTTER: "I like Brett (Griffin, new spotter), we've been friends off the race track for a long time. I have a lot of confidence in him. I talked to Jeff Burton a lot about him and he said hire him. I have a lot of confidence in him. He did a great job in Chicago. We know each other so well and he does such a great job. Most of the things I ask for, he does. Ty (Norris, MWR general manager and previous spotter) and I wanted to make sure Ty was okay with it because first and foremost, Ty helped me get to where I'm at on so many different levels. I didn't want to take anything from him if he wanted to be a part of that -- I wasn't about to make a change until next year, but the opportunity came up and Ty wants to focus on his job and make sure all three cars are running well."
TEAMMATES IN THE CHASE: "It doesn't matter if they're in the Chase or out of the Chase or whatever else -- that doesn't make a bit of difference. It matters if they're a good teammate, they're willing to work together, they're good enough to push you to be better in the same equipment. More importantly that they're all working together, and I mean not just the drivers amongst ourselves, but the crew chiefs, our engineers -- that's what makes a difference. It doesn't make a difference if they're in the Chase or not if they're willing to work together to move forward."
CHASE CHANCES: "I'm telling you, if you're in that top-five running with three or four to go, you have a shot at the championship, and I believe we can do that. We have some good race tracks and I've always been able to go into the Chase full of enthusiasm, full of excitement, full of pride and never any worry in that sense. Never have I gone into the Chase concerned about anything. It’s blue sky, full speed ahead and anything from here on out -- we've won races for my sponsors, we've made the Chase for my sponsor -- we've done all our goals and the last goal is the championship. Everybody knows that everything has to line up perfectly to win the championship, but this could be the year. This is the best I've ever ran leading into the Chase. I've always been able to elevate my game in the Chase, keep it fun and keep it real for the guys and if we continue to do that, we'll have a chance."
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Bowyer will be available to media on Friday at 11 a.m. at the back of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team hauler in the Sprint Cup Series garage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
· POINT STANDING: Bowyer is sixth in the point standing with 2041 points. Bowyer trails leader Brad Keselowski by 15 points. He is tied with Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne in total points. Bowyer entered the Chase with six bonus points for his wins at Sonoma and Richmond. Prior to 2012, the best season any driver in the history of MWR has finished in a season is 16th in the final point standings (David Reutimann, 2009).
· CHASSIS NOTES: Primary chassis No. 718 won and was pushed to victory lane in Richmond on Sept. 8. The same car also started fifth, finished third and led a lap at New Hampshire in the Spring. Backup chassis No. 712 raced earlier this season in Phoenix and Richmond.
· BOWYER AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bowyer has two career wins at New Hampshire, both in the fall race. His first Sprint Cup Series win came in the fall 2007 race that he won from the pole position and led 222 of the 300 laps. He also won the fall race in 2010 from the outside pole where he led 177 of the 300 laps. He has two wins, three top-five, five top 10 finishes and has led 475 laps in 13 starts. Bowyer’s two wins at New Hampshire both came while he was in the Chase. Bowyer started fifth, finished third and led a lap in the spring race.
· CLINCHED! GOING CHASING: Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and Clint Bowyer in the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY secured a berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series field. It marks MWR’s first appearance in the Chase field in the company’s six year history in the Sprint Cup Series.
· CHASE GEAR: Get the newest MWR/5-hour ENERGY Chase for the Sprint Cup gear at MWR’s new team store www.MWRTeamStore.com. The online team store is a one-stop shop for all MWR driver and team merchandise.
· 2012 BOWYER vs. CAREER BOWYER: Bowyer has scored two win (Sonoma and Richmond-2), six top-five and 16 top-10 finishes and ranks sixth through the first 27 races of 2012. In his six previous seasons, Bowyer best ranking through 27 races was fourth in 2007, most top-five finishes was five in 2010 and most top-10s was 15 in 2010. See side bar for additional comparison.
· MORE ON 2012: Bowyer has led 191 laps – three at Las Vegas, two at Martinsville, one at Michigan, 71 at Sonoma, one at New Hampshire,19 at Michigan, 88 at Richmond and six at Chicago. At Sonoma, Bowyer scored his sixth career Cup Series win and his first on a road course. In Richmond Bowyer scored his seventh career Cup Series win and his second at Richmond. He has an average finish of 11.5 and start of 14.9. Bowyer’s best average finish for a season came in 2007 when he averaged a finish of 13.8 and finished third in the final point standings.
· MWR IN 2012: MWR’s five Cup Series drivers have scored a combined record of two wins (Bowyer at Sonoma and Richmond), 18 top-five and 42 top-10 finishes through the 27 races of the season. Four drivers have recorded three or more top-five finishes – Truex Jr. has six and Bowyer six, Vickers has three and Martin has three. All five drivers, including Waltrip, have recorded a top-10.
· LEADING THE WAY: MWR’s Toyotas have led 894 laps in the 27 Sprint Cup Series races of 2012. Truex Jr. leads the MWR charge with 423 laps led, Bowyer 191, Martin with 133, Vickers 126, and Waltrip with 21.