Bowyer's Championship Hopes Come Down to Homestead-Miami Huntersville, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2005) -- ACDelco diver Clint Bowyer finds himself within striking distance of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) championship as he heads to Homestead-Miami ...
Bowyer's Championship Hopes Come Down to Homestead-Miami
Huntersville, N.C. (Nov. 15, 2005) -- ACDelco diver Clint Bowyer finds himself within striking distance of the 2005 NASCAR Busch Series (NBS) championship as he heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) for this weekend's season finale. The Emporia, Kans., native fell to 120 points out of the lead after a disappointing 33rd place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway (LMS) in October, but after a string of strong finishes in his last three races, Bowyer has cut the lead to a mere 64 markers behind current points leader and defending series champion Martin Truex, Jr. Since that race at LMS, Bowyer has finished ahead of Truex in each of his last three races. He hopes to continue the recent trend, but knows he will have to cross the finish line at HMS well ahead of Truex to capture the 2005 crown.
"It's going to take a miracle, there's no way of getting around that," said Bowyer. "We're just going to have to go out and run as hard as we can, try to win the race, and try to get all of the bonus points. If they happen to have some bad luck then we've got to make sure that we're there to take advantage of it. That's allb^0x0011- that's the bottom line. Those are the cards that were dealt, and we're just going to have to play them the best we can."
This weekend will mark the 13th time in the NBS 24-year history that the title will be decided in the final race. If Truex finishes 12th or better he will capture the 2005 NBS championship, even if Bowyer wins and leads the most laps. However, this stat doesn't deter Bowyer's drive and determination in his quest to capture the 2005 title and knows anything can happen. Nonetheless, Bowyer sure has come on strong in his first full year and taken the racing world by surprise. This year is sure to outline what lies ahead for NASCAR's newest star.
"We will definitely be disappointed if we don't win the championship, but look how far we came in just a year's time," added Bowyer. "Out of my 17-race schedule last year, I had four top-five finishes, and then this year we started out pretty strong right out of the box and now have 12 top-five finishes. I think a lot of the teams didn't have us down as a contender for the championship at the beginning of the year. By midway through the season, I believe we changed some minds and now here we are at the end of the year in contention for a championship. That's all you can ask for is at least a chance to win. I am really proud of the effort Gil (Martin) and all the ACDelco crew has put together for this race car. It's been good each and every week, and it's been a learning process. It's been a short road from dirt racing to asphalt racing for me and I'm still learning. I think we're still learning each other. As we've gone through the year, we're still getting better every week, and I think our results have proven that."
No. 2 ACDelco driver Clint Bowyer on Homestead-Miami Speedway...
How was your run there last year?
"My day ended pretty early last year. We were so loose and couldn't quite put a finger on it. I was driving on the edge of my seat lap after lap and then all of a sudden the car just came around on me. It was a frustrating day. That shouldn't even be a factor this time around. I have grown so much as a driver and I have more experience than I did last year. I feel much more comfortable going back this time around. We tested for this race as well and feel good about the notes we compiled."
You mentioned the test. How did it go?
"Our test went pretty good. We tested the same car that brought me my first win in Nashville, Tenn., earlier this year. We were a couple tenths off the leaders at the test, but we feel from the notes we took we will be fine come race day. The car we are taking has been good to us all year long and I am just looking forward to the season finale. It has been an awesome year."
All three championship scenarios are basically the same where the runner-up is 50 to 60 points behind first place. Does that surprise you and do you have an explanation for how that can happen?
"Well, I think it's ideal for NASCAR, and for the sport. I think it's brought a lot of attention to all three series. Going into Homestead there is going to be a lot of attention on all three series, so it's really neat that it's come down to the last race and maybe the last few laps of each race. I think there's just been a lot of hard racing this year, with a lot of good teams. As the competition gets closer and closer every year, I think you will begin to see more and more of our point's battles getting closer and closer."
What kind of advice has your teammate Kevin Harvick given you since he has been through this before with his 2001 NBS championship? What kind of a mentor has he been for you in your first full year in the Busch Series?
"Well, he's been a good friend and a good teammate, as well. Halfway through the year, we had a conversation and he told me that I've got a real shot at this thing and to just make sure that I do everything I can to get everything out of each and every week, and that's what I've tried to do."