CORNELIUS, N.C. — Last season’s Sprint Cup win at Sonoma Raceway was a big deal for No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer.
The win was Bowyer’s first since joining Michael Waltrip Racing, his first win on a road course, the first for the No. 15 team and sponsor 5-hour ENERGY. But, the win also carried special meaning for an 11-year old boy fighting Stage IV Burkett’s Lymphoma at a hospital back in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Brady Bakken, the son of 5-hour ENERGY sales broker Brett Bakken, was in the battle of his life fighting the disease with everything he had. As a gesture of support for Brady, MWR put Bakken’s name above the passenger side door of Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota Camry.
As luck would have it, Bakken got the ride of his life! Bowyer led 71 laps and held off former Sprint Cup champions Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart in the closing laps to deliver the special win.
Shortly after winning the race, Bowyer gave a special message to the TV cameras in victory lane dedicating the win to Bakken and telling him to keep up the good fight.
Bakken delivered on his end too. Bakken, now 12 years old, is in full remission and back in his hometown of Boone, N.C. getting healthier by the day.
ON BRADY BAKKEN: “That was such a big win for so many reasons, but nothing as special as to deliver that win for Brady. We got word right before arriving in Sonoma that Brady was in pretty rough shape and fighting with everything he had. Everyone at MWR wanted to do something special to show him that we were thinking of him and praying he got better. We put his name above the passenger side door and told him he could run shotgun with us for the day … and boy did he ever deliver! We got a chance to meet last year at Bristol when he was feeling well enough to visit. I hear he is now in full remission, back at school and getting healthier by the day.”
ON SONOMA: “”I can’t wait — hopefully, we can do it again. Fun race track. It’s the first road course of the year. It’s always nerve- wracking just getting on the race track, shifting gears and having to down shift coming onto pit road to meet pit road speed — it’s exciting. The track itself is fun. I think it’s like a short track of road course racing. I love short track racing, so it’s just one of those tracks I’ve always been able to get on the race track, find pretty good speed and get comfortable and get settled in and have a good weekend.”
BOWYER AT SONOMA: In seven races, Bowyer has one win (2012), four top-five and five top-10s. Bowyer has scored 741 points in his seven races at Sonoma, second only to Jeff Gordon’s 775 points during that same span. His average starting position is 17th and average finish is ninth. He has led 73 laps, including 71 laps in 2012.
2013 vs. 2012: Bowyer is ranked six spots higher (2013 – third; 2012 – ninth), has eight more points (2013 – 489 points; 2012 – 481 points), two more top-five finishes (2013 – four; 2012 – two), the same number of top-10 (eight), he has led 108 more laps (2013 – 114 laps; 2012 – six laps). He has a better average starting position (2013 – 13.3; 2012 – 14.6) and better finishing position (2013 – 11.5, 2012 – 12.1).
-Michael Waltrip Racing PR