No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion driver Clint Bowyer grew up in rural Kansas, but when he walks into the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this weekend he’ll feel like he’s arrived at his second home.
That’s because few places have shown Bowyer the hospitality like the “Magic Mile’” has over his 14-year Monster Energy Cup Series career.
Two of Bowyer’s 10 career victories and one of his two poles have come on the flat track including his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2007.
Bowyer calls the New Hampshire track “a big Martinsville.” That’s an affectionate term considering Bowyer led 215 laps and won the race in March – the last time the Cup Series raced in Martinsville.
“I love New Hampshire,” said Bowyer. “That place just fits my driving style. We don’t get up to that part of the country a lot so it’s good to see the race fans there. They have so many tracks and they love their racing from modified to late models to our stuff. The support races they put on at New Hampshire are some of the best of the year. Man do they like to party there!”
A look at his record makes it easy to understand why Bowyer likes racing in the Granite State.
At the 2007 September race, Bowyer earned his second career pole on Friday, then led 222 of 300 laps Sunday to win the first Cup Series race of his career. Attrition played no role in the victory as, for the first time in the sport’s modern era, the entire 43-car field finished the race.
Fast-forward to September 2010, when Bowyer started second and led the most laps before fading back. A series of caution periods put him behind now-boss Tony Stewart over the closing laps. With both drivers trying to nurse their sputtering fuel tanks to the finish, Bowyer found himself in position to pounce when Stewart’s tank ran dry a lap from the checkered flag.
It was Bowyer’s turn to run out of gas with two laps remaining in the Sept. 25, 2011 race at New Hampshire giving the victory to – you guessed it – Tony Stewart.
“We still laugh about running out of gas and giving each other the victories,” said Bowyer.
“Whether its fuel mileage or those late restarts where everyone starts beating and banging. It seems like there is always an interesting finish there.”
Bowyer has made quite the impression on New Hampshire as well.
Then Gov. Maggie Hassan declared Sept. 5, 2013 “Rockin’ with Clint Day” in New Hampshire. Bowyer took her for a burnout, used a 250-foot crane to dig up a personalized, 7,500-pound rock at a local quarry, and took part in a rock-climbing race.
“There aren’t many states where I’ve gotten to do burnouts with the governor,” laughed Bowyer.
Bowyer hopes history will repeat itself and he chalks up a third victory this weekend when the Cup Series visits New Hampshire for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. He arrives in New Hampshire after a 12th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Bowyer started eighth and ran in the top-10 until late in the race when tight handling conditions hindered his bid for victory.
The 2018 season has been a year of resurgence for Bowyer and the No.14 Haas Automation VF-1 team led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz. The combination has posted two victories, six top-fives and 10 top-10s while climbing to sixth in the Cup Series point standings. There’s no better or likely place for Bowyer to add to those numbers than New Hampshire this weekend.
|Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion
Bowyer’s Haas Automation paint scheme this weekend celebrates the 30th anniversary of Haas Automation’s very first vertical machining center – the industry-leading VF-1. The “V” in the model name stands for vertical – an industry-standard designation for a vertical mill – and company founder Gene Haas added “F1” to unofficially designate it as the company’s “Very First One.” Introduced in 1988 in Chicago, the Haas VF-1 established an industry milestone by being the very first American-built vertical machining center to sell for less than $50,000, an unheard-of price at that time. With a published price of $49,900 – another industry first – the Haas VF-1 quickly became the industry benchmark for affordable CNC technology. Today, the Haas VF-1 still sells for less than $50,000 – in fact, it’s only $46,995 – and Haas Automation is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of CNC machine tools with an extensive lineup of more than 100 high-value, high-performance products.
|CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
|What is the most important thing to get right at New Hampshire Motor Speedway?
“It’s the middle of the corner. If you want to win you have to roll the middle of the corner and that’s so tricky. About the time you get that thing rolling really well you are too loose in or too loose off. There’s no perfect balance there and you have to be able to find a happy medium. You have to roll the middle without getting out of the gas on exit.”
Are you a different person when you sit in that car, tighten those belts, and strap that helmet on, and put your gloves on? Are you a different Clint Bowyer?
“I think so. Well, I think I’m different in people’s eyes from what they see on the camera. Everybody has personality, but then everybody has their driving personality behind the wheel.”
Do you ever remember like laughing or smiling or enjoying a moment behind the wheel?
“I can honestly tell you I haven’t until I got out of the car or thought back on the situation or whatever the case may be. That’s when I kind of got to chuckling or something. You might laugh under caution or something like that, but never when you’re racing. It’s total focus. You’re focused on hitting your lines, you’re focused on what you need to do to be faster. Do I need to trail throttle more, do I need to wait on it longer, how can I make this car faster, literally. That’s your job and you’re there to win and you want that more than anything. I guess that’s the competitiveness that I’ve had since I was a little kid.”
- Bowyer owns career totals of 10 wins, two poles, 70 top-five finishes, 190 top-10s and 2,691 laps led in 452 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. He also owns eight Xfinity Series victories.
- His most recent Cup Series victory came at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (June 10, 2018).
- His most recent Cup Series pole came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007).
- The 2018 season marks the 10th anniversary of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). The Kannapolis, North-Carolina-based team is co-owned by Tony Stewart and Gene Haas andhas recorded 46 points-paying victories and 39 poles since its inception in 2009. It also owns three non-points victories in the Cup Series and two Xfinity Series victories. Stewart won the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series title and Kevin Harvick gave SHR its second title in 2014. SHR’s Kurt Busch won last year’s Daytona 500, and Harvick has won five times in 2018, while Bowyer owns two victories this season.
- Bowyer won the New Hampshire fall races in 2007 and 2010 and has posted four top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 24 starts. One of his two career poles came at New Hampshire on Sept. 16, 2007.
- Bowyer will test on the new oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday.
- SHR has three points-paying victories at New Hampshire (Tony Stewart 2011, Ryan Newman 2011 and Kevin Harvick in 2016) and has 12 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s in 54 starts.
- Best Season Ever, So Far: Bowyer’s average finish in 2018 is 10.7. His best career average finish at season’s end was 10.9 in 2012 at Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer won three races and finished second in the points that season.
- SHR Sweep: SHR’s sweep of first, second and third place June 10 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn was a first for the organization founded in 2009. It marked the first time a Cup Series team had swept the top-three positions since September 2008, when Roush Fenway Racing swept the podium at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
- Off-Weekend Motivation: There are only three off weekends on the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series calendar and Bowyer has already won the week before each of the first two. His victory at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on March 26 preceded the first off weekend and his victory Sunday preceded the second off-weekend. Bowyer is hoping he can complete the trifecta by winning the Aug. 18 race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway that precedes the final off weekend of the season.
- All-Time Victory List: Bowyer’s 10 career victories put him in a 59th-place tie on the all-time wins list with Donnie Allison and Sterling Marlin.
- Crew chief Mike “Buga” Bugarewicz is in his third season as a Cup Series crew chief. He oversaw Stewart’s final campaign in 2016 and his pit strategy played a key role in Stewart’s victory at Sonoma in June 2016. Bugarewicz and Bowyer’s first season together in 2017 saw the duo post the 11th-best average finish of all full-time teams. In 2018 they earned their first victory together winning at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in March. His two-tire call minutes before a caution combined with Bowyer’s aggressive driving at Michigan last Sunday earned the duo its second victory of the 2018 season. The Lehighton, Pennsylvania native served as the lead engineer on SHR’s No. 4 entry in 2014 and 2015. The Penn State University graduate was the only rookie crew chief to be part of the Cup Series playoffs in 2016.
- Buga Calls: Bugarewicz has made two race-winning strategy calls in his career at SHR. In 2016 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, Bugarewicz pitted Stewart from midpack before most of the leaders made their final stop of the race. A caution a few laps later moved Stewart to the front of the field, allowing the three-time champion to put on a classic driving display in a closing-laps battle with Denny Hamlin to win his 49th and final Cup Series race. At Michigan last weekend, he called for a two-tire stop when the rest of the leaders did four, moving Bowyer from third place to first. Bowyer held off a hard-charging Harvick for the win.
- Bowyer’s Hometown of Emporia, Kansas is about a 90-minute drive southwest of Kansas Speedway. Emporia, with a population of 25,000, is home to Emporia State University and Flint Hills Technical College. In 1953, Emporia was the site of the first Veterans Day observance in the United States. At the urging of local shoe cobbler Alvin J. King, U.S. Representative Edward Rees introduced legislation in The United States Congress to rename Armistice Day as Veterans Day. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on Oct. 8, 1954.
- Bowyer’s Paternal Grandfather: Dale E. Bowyer was a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army. He won the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism while fighting the armed enemy in Germany during World War II. The Distinguished Service Cross is the second-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism. While leading his platoon under heavy fire in an attack near Sinz, Germany, on Jan. 25, 1945, Lt. Bowyer was severely wounded by an enemy mine. He refused evacuation even though both feet were shattered. He shouted instructions and encouragement where he lay. Inspired by his bravery, the men re-formed, moved clear of the mine field and continued the advance. Only then did Lt. Bowyer allow himself to be evacuated, crawling clear of the mine field to avoid injury to people. “His devotion to duty and to his men, and his courage and fearless determination, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service,” read the commendation he received. Lt. Bowyer eventually lost a leg due to his injuries. After his career in the Army, he lived in Iola, Kansas, and worked in the dairy business. He passed away in June 1974. Bowyer never met his grandfather.
- Bowyer’s Best Finishes at SHR (2017-2018):
- Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
- 2nd place:
- Dover (Del.) International Speedway (May 6, 2018)
- Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (April 24, 2017)
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 25, 2017)
- Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July 1, 2017)
- 3rd place:
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2018)
- Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 25, 2018)
- Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California (March 26, 2017)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (Oct. 29, 2017)
- Bowyer’s Stage Victories In 2017
- Pocono (Pa.) Raceway Stage 2 (July 30, 2017)
- Bowyer Cup Series Career Victories:
- Michigan International Speedway (June 10, 2018)
- Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (March 26, 2018)
- Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (Oct. 13, 2012)
- Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (Sept. 8, 2012)
- Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (June 24, 2012)
- Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 23, 2011)
- Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (Oct. 31, 2010)
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 19, 2010)
- Richmond International Raceway (May 3, 2008)
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 16, 2007)
- Bowyer Cup Series Career Poles:
- New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon (Sept. 14, 2007)
- Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (May 11, 2007)
- Bowyer Career Cup Series Points Finishes:
- 2017 18th
- 2016 27th
- 2015 16th
- 2014 19th
- 2013 7th
- 2012 2nd
- 2011 13th
- 2010 10th
- 2009 15th
- 2008 5th
- 2007 3rd
- 2006 17th
- Bowyer Cup Series Career Stops:
- 2017- Present Stewart-Haas Racing
- 2016 HScott Motorsports
- 2012-2015 Michael Waltrip Racing
- 2006-2011 Richard Childress Racing
- Bowyer Xfinity Series Championship:
- Bowyer Xfinity Series Career Victories:
- Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 26, 2009)
- Daytona (Fla) International Speedway (July 3, 2009)
- Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (March 15, 2008)
- Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (May 4, 2007)
- Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (April 20, 2007)
- Dover (Del.) International Speedway (Sept. 23, 2006)
- Memphis (Tenn.) Motorsports Park (Oct. 22, 2005)
- Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway (June 12, 2005)
- Bowyer Camping World Truck Series Victories:
- Kansas (Kan.) Speedway in Kansas City (June 4, 2011)
- Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway in Avondale (Nov. 12, 2010)
- Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth (Nov. 3, 2006)