CHICAGO – No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last Saturday night in Richmond, but the 5-hour ENERGY driver hasn’t stopped moving since he left victory lane.
Bowyer, along with the 11 other drivers participating in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, have participated in a NASCAR’s ‘Chase Across America’ multi-city media tour.
Bowyer began his tour on Tuesday with a visit to Texas Motor Speedway. The speedway hosted a high-school style pep rally for more than 5,000 kids. The event included a skills competition among the schools, a question and answer session – and even an invite by a 10th grade student Rachel Blum to be her homecoming date. Bowyer, who was flattered by the request, said unfortunately his weekend race schedule will not permit him to attend, but has agreed to make it up to her at an upcoming race.
After leaving Texas, Bowyer headed to Chicago where he met up with the rest of the Chase field. The Chase drivers began Wednesday morning with a photo in front of the Chicago landmark Cloud Gate (also known as The Bean). From Cloud Gate the drivers continued on to the House of Blues for media day, followed by the Chase Contenders Live fan event presented by Sprint and Toyota.
At Chase Contenders Live, Bowyer and the rest of the Chase field talked, traded stories and light hearted jabs on stage in front of a live crowd of NASCAR fans.
BOWYER ON THE CHASE: “I’ve gotten close a few times. When I am in the Chase, we’ve always been in the top five. I know we didn’t finish there when we finished 10th, but we ran there—60-thousandsths of an inch cost me five positions I wasn’t very happy about (NASCAR’s penalty). That being said, I think we’re capable of getting the job done. I think we can compete with these guys.”
“It’s so much fun to be a part of the Chase. This is a very big deal for Michael Waltrip Racing and Michael Waltrip. I remember in 2007 when Michael was getting ready to start his team and everybody, including me, thought he had bitten off way more than he could chew. I thought that he might be done before he ever got started – before the end of the year it looked like. But he kept going. He acquired a partner like Rob Kauffman and he just kept digging’. His never give up attitude has finally got him and his organization to where they want to be. They are a part of the boys. Now MWR is a part of a pretty elite crowd in this sport. To have two cars in the Chase – the only two cars you had competing for the Chase – that’s a really big deal.”
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.
POINT STANDING: Bowyer is sixth in the point standing with two wins. Bowyer locked himself in the Chase at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Bowyer’s win on the road course at Sonoma and his win last Saturday night in Richmond account for his six bonus points. 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. 740 is new and has never raced. Backup chassis No. 716 raced earlier this season in Las Vegas, Kansas, Charlotte, Kentucky and Indianapolis. Chassis No. 716’s best finish was sixth at Las Vegas.
BOWYER AT RICHMOND: Bowyer won the Sprint Cup Series race Saturday night at Richmond. He started fourth, spun to bring out a caution on lap 236, then rallied back to pick up his second win of the 2012 season.
2012 BOWYER vs. CAREER BOWYER: Bowyer has scored two win (Sonoma and Richmond-2), six top-five and 15 top-10 finishes and ranks sixth through the first 26 races of 2012. In his six previous seasons, Bowyer best ranking through 26 races was fourth in 2008, most top-five finishes was four in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and most top-10s was 14 in 2010. See side bar for additional comparison.