CORNELIUS, N.C. – No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer is spending Tuesday and Wednesday attending the Goodyear Tire Test at the newly reconfigured Bristol Motor Speedway. After that he is heading to Michigan International Speedway for a NASCAR open test prior to the regularly scheduled Sprint Cup Series race weekend.
For Bowyer it will be his third visit to a new racing surface in the last two weeks following last weekend’s trip to Pocono Raceway.
“This has been one of the most interesting stretches of races that I can remember because it’s like we’ve visited three new tracks in the last two weeks,” explained Bowyer. “Each track was unique on its own even before the repave, but now it just adds a little extra challenge when you have to adjust to a new surface. You spend years building your notebook and trying to learn the track, but a repave or surface upgrade can make a pretty big difference.”
Bowyer has back-to-back eighth place finishes in the last two races at Michigan. He is looking for his third straight top-10 finish in the last three weeks when he visits Michigan this week after a fifth place finish at Dover and sixth place finish at Pocono.
“The race at Pocono with the new surface and shorter race proved to be more exciting for the race fans and changed the dynamic of the race for the drivers,” Bowyer continued. “Pocono still has a lot of character even after the repave, but it was smoother and had more grip.
“And I have to give a tip of the cap to the folks at SMI, Bristol Motor Speedway and NASCAR for listening to the fans and making the changes that needed to be made to provide a better experience at Bristol,” said Bowyer. “The surface before wasn’t bad and it wasn’t bad racing, but it wasn’t the Bristol that we all grew up watching. I think the fans will be happy with the changes they made.”
Michael Waltrip Racing’s three Sprint Cup Series entries finished third, fourth and fifth in the March 18 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. finished third, Bowyer finished fourth and Brian Vickers fifth.
Bowyer joined reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton at the test.
Immediately following the test at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bowyer and the No. 15 team will head to Michigan for the NASCAR Open Test on Thursday prior to start of the regularly scheduled NASCAR weekend starting on Friday.
“If Michigan is even close to the job that they did at Pocono and Bristol then I think the fans will be in for a treat this weekend. It should be very fast, exciting racing and make for a great show. I can’t even remember the last time I visited three racetracks in a two week period that all had new racing surfaces. It’s pretty great to see the investments that ISC, SMI, Pocono and NASCAR are making in these tracks to improve the product on the track.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· 5-hour ENERGY VIP Sweepstakes: The 5-hour ENERGY VIP Racing Experience Sweepstakes winner will receive travel accommodations to Charlotte, N.C., unique team access at the track, honorary pit crew memberships, the winner’s name on the No. 15 Toyota, NASCAR Hall of Fame tickets, a MWR shop tour and meet and greets with Michael Waltrip and Clint Bowyer. For information or to enter, please visit the online entry form.
· BOWYER AT MICHIGAN: Bowyer will make his 13th NSCS start at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. In his previous 12 starts Bowyer has four top-10 finishes. His best finish at Michigan is eighth, which he has done three times including his last two trips. Bowyer has led seven laps in his 12 starts, averages a 19th place starting position and finish of 18th.
· HELLO JUNE: Bowyer kicked off June by recording a fifth place finish at Dover – his first top-five since Bristol. He followed it up with a sixth place finish at Pocono. Prior to 2012, Bowyer has four top-five and 18 top-10s with an average finish of 15.6 in 42 starts at tracks the NSCS visits in the month of June (Dover, Pocono, Michigan and Sonoma)
· BOWYER IN 2012: In 14 starts this season Bowyer has two top-five, seven top-10 and 11 top-15 finishes. He has led five laps – three at Las Vegas and two at Martinsville. He has an average finish of 12.5 and start of 14.7. 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.
· CHASSIS NOTES: Primary Chassis No. 727 has raced twice in 2012. It started 11th and finished 13 at Fontana and started 26th and finished 11th at Darlington. Chassis No. 721 is the backup and previously served backup duty at Las Vegas, California, Texas, Kansas, Darlington, All-Star, Charlotte and Pocono but never raced.
· TESTING: Bowyer and the No. 15 team are part of the Goodyear Tire Test at Bristol on Tuesday and Wednesday before heading to Michigan for NASCAR’s open test on Thursday.
· 2013 TOYOTA CAMRY REVEAL: Bowyer and team owner Michael Waltrip visited the Toyota Racing Development campus in Salisbury, N.C. on Wednesday, May 23 for the unveiling of the 2013 Toyota Camry which will race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series beginning at the 2013 Daytona 500.
· BOWYER’S TUNDRA GOES UP FOR AUCTION: Bowyer designed a 1950s-inspired work truck out of a 2011 Toyota Tundra for the Sherwin-Williams Planet Color All-Star Charity Challenge. Bowyer will fly to Orange County, California next Saturday, June 23 while the Sprint Cup Series is in Sonoma to see the finished design go up for auction at Barrett Jackson Auto Auction. Money raised from the sale of the Tundra will go to Bowyer’s 79 Fund and the Emporia Community Fund.
· NMPA SPIRIT AWARD WINNER: The National Motorsports Press Association selected Clint Bowyer as its first quarter Spirit Award winner. The award recognizes an individual’s contributions to the racing community. Bowyer’s “Seventy-Nine Fund” donated more than $1 million to the construction of the Bowyer Community Building, a multi-purpose community center to host events, concerts and activities for the residents of Bowyer’s hometown of Emporia, Kan. Click here for more information on the Bowyer Community Building.
· When You Got To Get Stuff Done: 5-hour ENERGY announced on Friday, April 20 at Kansas Speedway an agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing to expand their sponsorship of the No. 15 Toyota and driver Clint Bowyer for an additional 12 races in 2012. Bowyer will now drive the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota in 35 of 36 point races. The lone exception was Bowyer’s Aaron’s/Alabama National Championship car at Talladega.