FONTANA, CA (Tuesday, March 28, 2017) – A look through the virtually endless loop data and statistics NASCAR provides shows Clint Bowyer ranking within the top 15 in every category except “quality passes,” where he’s listed sixteenth. The Kansas native finished third in The Auto Club 400 in California Sunday. While it’s an uptick in a successful career gone stagnant, Bowyer says his new boss – Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart – expects more,
“Tony wins a lot of races.” He’s won a lot of races. Anything less than a win, you know; He expects that., and I love that about Tony.”
When asked what Stewart said of his top three finish on Sunday, Bowyer explained his understanding of why Stewart only replied, “good job.”
“You know: obviously I know he’s proud. He was happy with that, but that’s what you want in an owner. You know what I mean? To have that instilled in everything in your DNA – I mean – this is the way I was raised. Anything else but a win is a bad day. You are miserable with anything less than that.”
Although he prefers victory lane to second runner-up, Bowyer gave some insight into why a win comes so hard in the Cup series. He knows he’s not the only driver who expects to ride home with a trophy and a checkered flag.
“I mean, it’s just the way we’re wired as a race car driver from five years old and on. The problem is, is everybody else on that racetrack is wired the same way. so there’s really only one guy happy and everybody else is pissed at the end of the day, is what it boils down to.”
The No. 14 Ford driver has a ninth-place 2017 average running position. Although he maintained an average position of fourteenth throughout the 202 laps of The Auto Club 400, he surged to a third-place finish and sits eighth in the championship standings – 100 points out of the lead. Bowyer, who has been competing at Auto Club Speedway for more than a decade, touts SHR as a great opportunity for himself.
“To have an organization like that – to have owners like Tony Stewart and Gene Haas – I’m telling you, that’s what it’s all about…Yes, I’m having a blast. You know: I’m getting a little long in the tooth here in this career. To have this opportunity and the opportunity to go out and compete and win races – you know – and race for a championship, hopefully – I mean – that’s what you’re here to do. I realize that these opportunities don’t come around every day.”
Heading into The STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway this weekend, Bowyer will have to overcome the odds to pick up his first win in the SHR stable. He has an average finish of fifteenth at the Virginia short track, with only three top fives in 22 starts – second, third and fifth.