Clint Bowyer riding a "wave of confidence" into favorite track
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule couldn’t work out better for Clint Bowyer.
Fresh off his second win of the season at Michigan on June 10, Bowyer has a good opportunity to pick up a third in Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350k at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, the first road course event of the season.
Bowyer won the event in 2012 and has seven top-five finishes in 12 career starts, including a runner-up finish to Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Kevin Harvick, last season. Harvick and Bowyer are two of the four drivers with more than one win this season (Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are the others).
“I don’t want to jinx myself, but Sonoma is my favorite race track,” said Bowyer. “I love that weekend. It’s a vacation for everybody involved. It’s a challenging race track (and) I’m good at it.
“You always look forward to going to tracks you’re good at. We’ve gotten this wave of confidence going at the moment. Hopefully, we can ride off to Sonoma and enjoy some success there, as well.”
SHR’s four Fords have led 1,530 of 4,595 laps – 33.2 percent – in 2018 on their way to winning seven Cup points races plus the NASCAR All-Star Race. Each driver would be in the NASCAR playoffs were they to start now.
“It is all about people. I am at home here with Ford. It is a family atmosphere. It literally is a family with the Ford family,” Bowyer said. “The Ford Performance organization and program are a ton of fun to work with. They are ‘all in.’
“You want to be with the ones who are investing the most and pushing the hardest to get the results, and I don’t think anyone is doing more than Ford these days.”
It would not be surprising to see Bowyer once again battling with his SHR teammates for the win this weekend. Harvick and Kurt Busch are both former winners at the track and Aric Almirola is enjoying his most consistent season in Cup as far as performance.
The right approach
Bowyer’s current No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz, also won the race with Tony Stewart in 2016 in what turned out to be the last of Stewart’s 49 career Cup Series wins.
While Bowyer has no extensive road course racing background, he believes the key to his success lies in approaching the track with the right mental attitude.
“You have to manage that race track, that race car, and manage traffic, make no mistakes, hit your marks, go easy on your throttle and brake pedals,” he said.
“You really have to take care of those four Goodyear tires because those are what are going to take you to Victory Lane if you take care of them.”
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