This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Daytona International Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot chassis No. 294 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the annual Budweiser Shootout event. This chassis was driven in two restrictor plate races during the 2010 NSCS season at Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Bowyer drove the No. 33 Chevrolet to Victory Lane at Talladega last Halloween and to a top-five finish in the prestigious DAYTONA 500. In both races, he qualified inside the top 10 and led for a total 56 laps.
It's Good to be Back ... After a two-year hiatus, Bowyer will make his second career start in the annual Budweiser Shootout under the lights at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Bowyer scored a top-15 effort in his first outing with a finish of 14th in the 2008 event.
Familiar Faces ... Shane Wilson returns for his third season atop the pit box after scoring two wins, seven top-five, and 18 top-10 finishes in 2010 with Bowyer at the wheel. Kevin Hamlin, who replaced RCR Vice President of Competition Mike Dillon as Bowyer's spotter for the final three races of the 2010 NSCS season, will also return for the 2011 season.
How was your off-season?
"The off-season was really great and too short. I had a lot of fun. I actually went hunting right after the banquet for two or three weeks. I enjoyed some hunting back home around Kansas and then went on to Tennessee to a buddy's house and enjoyed some more outdoors there. I just relaxed and took it easy. I worked on my dirt program quite a bit. I'm really excited about that. We're hoping to start a new team, making us a two-car organization running on dirt next year. I've been working a lot in the shop on the dirt cars and, hopefully, making their program bigger and better this year than it's ever been."
You made the Chase last year and won some races. What are your goals for this year?
"Same thing, just add one to the end of it, that's all you can do. You set out the year to win races, make the Chase and win a championship. Those are your three goals, in that order. Hopefully, we can win more races, do better in the Chase and compete for the championship. That's the ultimate goal for everybody.. It's going to happen at RCR, and I want to be the one that makes it happen."
Talk about Paul Menard joining RCR as the fourth driver.
"I'm really excited. I thought Paul really came on last year big time. He was really starting to run well and was consistently up front. He was a guy you were being passed by when you were running well. I'm excited to have him as a teammate. He brings a lot to the table for us on and off the race track. To be able to work with him on the race track will add another element to our already solid program. I think we'll be even better. I think we're ready this time. That's the biggest thing. We had four teams and it didn't work. This time, we have our ducks in a row. We're organized, we're structured and we have a lot more depth in our management and engineering. Across the board, we're ready for it this time."