Bowyer Brings No. 33 Zaxby's Chevrolet to Solid Seventh-Place Finish LOUDON, N. H. (June 28, 2010) -- Clint Bowyer earned his ninth top-ten finish of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Sunday afternoon when the driver of Richard...
Bowyer Brings No. 33 Zaxby's Chevrolet to Solid Seventh-Place Finish
LOUDON, N. H. (June 28, 2010) -- Clint Bowyer earned his ninth top-ten finish of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season on Sunday afternoon when the driver of Richard Childress Racing's No. 33 Zaxby's Chevrolet produced a solid seventh-place showing in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H.
Although the Emporia, Kans., native dropped one position, to 15th, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver's point standings, he is now just 16 markers in arrears to the coveted top 12 and just one marker shy of Ryan Newman, in 14th, with nine races remaining before the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Bowyer, who earned his career-first NSCS victory at Loudon in September 2007, entered the race weekend optimistic about his chances at the 1.058-mile facility and did not disappoint, working closely with the Zaxby's team and crew chief Shane Wilson to post the 12th-fastest time during the first NSCS practice session of the weekend on Friday. On Saturday, Bowyer was fifth overall at the conclusion of the morning practice session and 10th after final practice.
During qualifying on Friday afternoon, Bowyer posted a 28.952-second lap around the 1.058-mile track for a speed of 131.556 mph, good enough for a ninth-place starting spot in Sunday's 301-lap race.
Starting on the inside of row five in front of an estimated 91,000 race fans for Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301, Bowyer sported a yellow, red and blue Zaxby's paint scheme on the No. 33 Chevrolet as the Southeast favorite for chicken fingers and Buffalo wings made its NSCS debut. Cheerios served as an associate sponsor for the race.
Bowyer was quick right from the get-go, working up from his ninth-place starting spot to sixth position by lap five, and had made his way up to fourth when the first of four caution flags was displayed on lap 36, providing an opportunity for the field to pit. Although many teams opted for right-side tires only during the round of pit stops, Wilson made the call to take on four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. Extremely fast work by the Zaxby's team allowed Bowyer to lose minimal positions on the racetrack, and he restarted ninth on lap 40.
When the race resumed, Bowyer immediately went to work to put the No. 33 Zaxby's Chevrolet back into the top five and found himself in a three-wide battle for position around the 1.058-mile race track as the field scrambled. His drive and determination paid off, as he was scored in the seventh position on lap 43.
However, as the laps ticked away, Bowyer began reporting to his team that the Zaxby's Chevy was loose in the center of the corners and the ill-handling chassis soon caused the driver to lose positions on the racetrack, falling to eighth on lap 55, ninth on lap 60 and tenth on lap 65.
Bowyer pitted under green on lap 105, taking on four Goodyear tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments.
Another quick stop by the Zaxby's team had Bowyer scored in 11th when he exited pit road and, although Bowyer remained in 11th position throughout the next 80 circuits, he was posting some of the fastest laps of the race during this time.
He made another green-flag stop on lap 174, taking on four Goodyear tires, fuel, air pressure and chassis adjustments, and, soon thereafter, began an assent forward through the field. He was running 10th when the third caution of the day was displayed on lap 240 and Wilson made the call for another trip down pit road, where more quick work by the Zaxby's team allowed Bowyer to restart seventh with just 55 laps remaining in the race.
When the caution flag flew again on lap 283, Bowyer made his final trip of the day down pit road, and the team opted to take on right-side tires only in order to keep Bowyer as far up in the field as possible when the race resumed on lap 288.
The strategy worked as Bowyer restarted 11th and escaped one last caution unscathed to finish seventh in the Zaxby's Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson captured his fifth win of the 2010 season, while Tony Stewart finished second. Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon and RCR teammate Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five finishers.
Bowyer's fellow RCR teammate Jeff Burton finished 12th.
NASCAR takes its premier series south to the Sunshine State next week for the third restrictor plate race of the season at the historic "World Center of Racing."
"It was a good run for our Zaxby's Chevrolet today but, unfortunately, we were just a little bit too loose throughout the entire race. There was a lot of beating and banging out there today, especially with other drivers making it three wide on the restarts, but it is kind of the nature of the beast. The guys on the Zaxby's team did a great job with fast pit stops all day and, overall, a seventh-place finish gives us good momentum heading into Daytona."