CORNELIUS, N.C. - No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer circles New Hampshire Motor Speedway on his Sprint Cup Series schedule early in the year.
The fall race at the Magic Mile is where he normally does his best work. Bowyer’s two wins at New Hampshire have both come at the fall race, one from the pole position and both from the front row, and both while competing in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Bowyer started from the pole position and led 222 laps in the fall 2007 race, and started second and led 177 in the fall 2010 race. Bowyer is also bringing chassis No. 718 - the same Toyota Camry that he used to win at Richmond on Sept. 8.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: "I look at the short tracks and think the best opportunity to win races is on those short tracks. We did okay in Chicago, not great, but just okay. New Hampshire -- we have a pretty damn good roll going to New Hampshire. I think we can win at New Hampshire and get things started off right.
If we can do that and keep this buzz going at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing), I think we can compete. The 1.5 mile tracks, I've never won on one of those, I know that and everybody else does. I have to pick up my game on the 1.5 mile tracks -- but we've been running better than I ever have with these MWR cars on that type of track.
I think if I ever could win on those, it would be in the Chase in the last 10 races. If I can do that with the success I have on the short tracks, again we can be a force to be reckoned with."
NEW SPOTTER: "I like Brett (Griffin, new spotter), we've been friends off the race track for a long time. I have a lot of confidence in him. I talked to Jeff Burton a lot about him and he said hire him. I have a lot of confidence in him. He did a great job in Chicago.
We know each other so well and he does such a great job. Most of the things I ask for, he does. Ty (Norris, MWR general manager and previous spotter) and I wanted to make sure Ty was okay with it because first and foremost, Ty helped me get to where I'm at on so many different levels.
I didn't want to take anything from him if he wanted to be a part of that -- I wasn't about to make a change until next year, but the opportunity came up and Ty wants to focus on his job and make sure all three cars are running well."
TEAMMATES IN THE CHASE: "It doesn't matter if they're in the Chase or out of the Chase or whatever else -- that doesn't make a bit of difference. It matters if they're a good teammate, they're willing to work together, they're good enough to push you to be better in the same equipment.
More importantly that they're all working together, and I mean not just the drivers amongst ourselves, but the crew chiefs, our engineers -- that's what makes a difference. It doesn't make a difference if they're in the Chase or not if they're willing to work together to move forward."
CHASE CHANCES: "I'm telling you, if you're in that top-five running with three or four to go, you have a shot at the championship, and I believe we can do that. We have some good race tracks and I've always been able to go into the Chase full of enthusiasm, full of excitement, full of pride and never any worry in that sense.
Never have I gone into the Chase concerned about anything. It’s blue sky, full speed ahead and anything from here on out -- we've won races for my sponsors, we've made the Chase for my sponsor -- we've done all our goals and the last goal is the championship.
Everybody knows that everything has to line up perfectly to win the championship, but this could be the year. This is the best I've ever ran leading into the Chase. I've always been able to elevate my game in the Chase, keep it fun and keep it real for the guys and if we continue to do that, we'll have a chance."
Source: Michael Waltrip Racing