Bowyer Earns Pole Award, Leads Laps and Finishes Fifth at Charlotte CONCORD, N.C. (October 15, 2010) -- Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer earned the eighth NASCAR Nationwide Series pole award of his career, led 29 laps and rallied to a ...
Bowyer Earns Pole Award, Leads Laps and Finishes Fifth at Charlotte
CONCORD, N.C. (October 15, 2010) -- Richard Childress Racing's Clint Bowyer earned the eighth NASCAR Nationwide Series pole award of his career, led 29 laps and rallied to a fifth-place finish in the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet, despite a NASCAR-issued penalty in the last 40 laps of Friday's Dollar General 300 NNS race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was the veteran driver's 150th start in a NASCAR national touring series.
The Richard Childress Racing team moved up two positions, to 21st, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners' point standings following the 31st event of the NNS season.
As the last of four races in the 2010 NNS in which teams utilized the New Car, a revised chassis based off of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Car of Tomorrow designed to promote safety, cost containment for race teams and better brand identity for the NNS as a whole, teams participated in a full day test session on Thursday designed to acclimate drivers to the car. Bowyer posted the 14th-fastest time during the morning portion of Thursday's test session, and was 16th overall at the conclusion of the afternoon session.
On Friday, the No. 21 Zaxby's team had the opportunity to participate in two additional practice sessions, posting the second- and the 16th-fastest time, respectively.
The team knew that they had a fast Chevrolet and proved it during qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Bowyer circled the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 29.642 seconds at a speed of 182.174 mph, earning his eighth career pole award and first career pole award at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
On Saturday evening, Bowyer took the green flag in front of an estimated 47,000 race fans, marking his 150th career start in one of NASCAR's top-three touring divisions.
After leading the field to the green flag, Bowyer jumped to the point position and led the first 23 laps before dropping to second to Kyle Busch. The duo ran 1-2, creating a sizable distance between themselves and the rest of the field, until pitting under green on lap 55.
During his pit stop, Bowyer's No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet was serviced with four Goodyear tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. Quick work by a crew consisting partially of members of Jeff Burton's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' team, allowed Bowyer to rejoin the competition in 12th position.
Unfortunately, within a few laps of his pit stop, Bowyer reported to crew chief Danny Stockman that the changes negatively affected the handling on his car. Still, he was able to pass cars on the race track, and was scored in the seventh position on lap 60. He was fifth on lap 63, and made his way up to second by lap 70.
During a lap-77 restart following a caution on lap 73, Bowyer dropped to fourth, but was able to work his way back up to second on lap 95.
Bowyer was second at the official half-way point of the race, and made his way into the lead on lap 113.
The Emporia, Kan., native relinquished the lead on lap 120 for a round of green-flag pit stops, where the No. 21 was serviced with four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.
Exiting pit road in the 12th position, Bowyer was scored in 11th on lap 132, 10th on lap 135, and sixth on lap 139. The 2008 NNS champion broke back into the top five on lap 143, moving to the fourth position.
Bowyer was running second when the caution flag was displayed on lap 154, prompting the team to make another trip down pit road for four Goodyear tires, fuel, and a chassis adjustment to correct a loose-handling race car. The team was in position to restart the race at the front of the field, but, to their dismay, NASCAR issued a penalty for speeding at the entrance to pit road. Instead of restarting first, Bowyer had to restart the race in 15th position, at the tail end of the longest line, on lap 160.
With just 40 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, Bowyer knew that he had to race hard in order to be in contention for the win, and posted lap times faster than the leaders during this portion of the race.
He was back in the top 10 by lap 164, and was running sixth when he received a much needed break in the form of a caution flag on lap 181, bunching the field for the final 15 laps of the race.
Restarting fifth with 14 laps remaining, he survived one additional caution flag and finished fifth.
Brad Keselowski won the 200-lap race over Martin Truex, Jr. and Justin Allgaier. Joey Logano finished fourth, with Bowyer crossing the checkered flag in fifth position.
The next NASCAR Nationwide Series race is at Gateway International Raceway on Saturday, October 23, 2010.
CLINT BOWYER: "All in all it was a great day. We sat on the pole...I finished the race. I didn't crash. I'm not snake-bit, I'm back. My pit road speed didn't quite match what I saw on the caution car and it bit us. At the end of the day, you trust that thing because it's calculated and it's always right. But I know that I wasn't speeding here according to my lights and my number because I was worried about it anyway. I'd say we were off just a tick."