This Weekend's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet Impala at Daytona International Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 296 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new Chevrolet Impala that...
This Weekend's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet Impala at Daytona International Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 296 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This is a brand new Chevrolet Impala that will be put through its first paces this weekend.
Daytona Stats ... In nine career starts at "The World Center of Racing," the Emporia, Kan., native has two top-five and six top-10 finishes. He has completed all but one lap contested and has led 96 laps.
Finishing Strong ... Bowyer has a 12.3 average finish in NSCS events at Daytona, the best average finish among active drivers at the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway.
Race for the Chase... With nine races remaining before the 12-man Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set, Bowyer sits 15th in the point standings and a mere 16 markers outside of 12th place. The 31-year-old driver gained 58 points on 12th-place point man, Carl Edwards, with his seventh-place run at New Hampshire.
Can you talk a little about the battle going on in the point standings as we near the Chase? "Boy, it's a battle. I think it's going to be a battle right down to Richmond. I wish it wasn't, but I think it's going to be. In Infineon, we were in it and then got knocked out of it, literally. We had a strong run going and got caught up in somebody else's mess."
Do you worry about things that are out of your control in the Race for the Chase? "It's definitely something you have to worry about. Like I was saying about Infineon, we drove our way back to the front after getting wrecked earlier and still got caught up in that wreck there at the end of the race. We were running towards the front and had some of the guys we needed to finish ahead of beat. Then, 30 laps later, we're spun out, crashed and have a damaged race car to finish last on the lead lap. It is part of it and definitely, not a fun part of it."
Is there a lot of pressure right now on the No. 33 team to make the Chase? "Yes, there is a ton of pressure on us right now. It's tough getting into the top 12 and it's hard to stay inside the top 12. Our cars are fast enough, but we need to just have it all put together. If your cars were not strong enough, we'd really be struggling. This season, our cars are fast enough, but we just need to finish."
You finished fourth in the Daytona 500. What are your thoughts about racing there this weekend? "I'm looking forward to Daytona, but Daytona is one of those places that can either make or break you. You have to be able to realize that. You have to be able to put yourself in a situation for a good finish at the end. In order to do that, you have to take some chances, and it will get dicey. A good handling race car goes a long way for this race though. We really want to win at Daytona before they repave it, and we have one more shot at it this weekend."
You've been one of the drivers that loves the bumps at Daytona. Why is that? "It's not necessarily the bumps, it's the age of the race track. You slip and slide around, so you need your car to handle well. Not only do you draft and get up on the wheel there, you're slipping sideways and are tugging on the wheel to keep it straight. After they repave it, it will be just like Talladega where a bullet is going to win. If you have a fast race car there, you can drive up to the front and make some moves in order to win.
Can you talk a little more on the bumps? "Well, they're not really bumps, they're more like swells. The cars go into a swell and you see the guy in front of you drop three feet. But, once you get out there and you're racing, you don't even feel them or notice them. When you're running practice by yourself or qualifying, you're saying to yourself, 'man this place is rough.' They are going to repave it and there is nothing we can do about it. So, it is what it is."