No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota crew chief Brian Pattie is bringing two proven race winning chassis to the racetrack over the next two weeks as he tries to close the gap on the points leaders. Bowyer is third in the point standings trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 26 points with three races remaining.
CAR SELECTION: “I got the Charlotte winner going to Texas and I have the Richmond winner going to Phoenix. Homestead we’ll just have to see what happens. I’m taking the car that we won with at Richmond and that’s going to be our car at Phoenix. I just want to make sure that we are prepared and ready. Turning the Martinsville car around last minute and getting it on a truck that leaves next Tuesday didn’t make me feel like I’d be well prepared in time for Phoenix. So we are deciding to take a proven car. I mean obviously she won at Richmond and had good speed. We totally reworked the Richmond car to get it ready. The guys here are all-in. The guys in the fab shop and body shop have given me everything I’ve asked for. These guys are working hard at the shop and they want to win just as bad as I do. It’s cool that when we go to the racetrack we know that we have 250 employees behind us. Whatever we want to do – they are all for it.”
THE LEADERS: “All I can do is worry about running well and putting ourselves in position to win races every week. Bad luck is not something I can really wish upon the other guys in front of us or even worry about. Yes, we are going to need some help from the other guys to stay in this deal. I said that in the post-race interview at Charlotte. Even after winning Charlotte we were still 20-something points out and we’re going to need some help to catch these guys. Now there are two guys in front of us, but the gap is still about the same after finishing fifth and sixth two weeks in a row. It’s tough! These guys are tough. Winning a championship in the Cup Series is tough to do and we’re finding that out the hard way by running good and not making up spots. We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve had a phenomenal summer and fall. The last 20 races or so have been pretty good. We’ll just keep plugging away and hopefully they’ll mess up and we are there to capitalize.”
EXPECTATIONS: “Let’s be honest – I don’t think at the start of the season that anyone thought that we’d be sitting where we are today. It’s a brand new team. All of us came together for the very first time December 7, 2011. We went to test at Disney. It was just a shakedown test. That was the first time that I even got to see Clint with his helmet on and actually talk to him. I mean we were friends and talked in the garage area at the track, but this was the first time we got to actually work together. I told the guys coming back from Martinsville the other night – if you would have told us as we were sitting at dinner one of the nights at Disney that we’d be sitting third in points within shouting distance of the lead with three races to go – what would you have said? I really wasn’t looking at that. I was thinking and looking at getting into the Chase. Let’s win some races make the Chase and see what happens. Well, now we’ve made the Chase, we’ve won some races and now we are in it. Hey, it’s fun! It’s a learning experience for all of us. Watching the driver and how he adapts to the pressure and the situation. It’s the same way with the crew members. It’s the same way with pit crew guys and my A-team guys that travel. The engineers and myself – it’s a learning experience. Hopefully if it works out we’ll win the championship. If it doesn’t we are going to take some positives into next year and try to polish the edges that weren’t so polished this year and make it right for next year.”
Source: Michael Waltrip Racing