Homestead: Clint Bowyer preview

* This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 284 from Richard Childress Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2009, this Chevrolet debuted at Atlanta Motor...

* This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Homestead-Miami Speedway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 284 from Richard Childress Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2009, this Chevrolet debuted at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September, where Bowyer recorded a 29th-place finish.

* Homestead Facts ... In four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at HMS, Bowyer boasts one top-five and two top-10 finishes. His best finish, fifth, came when the series most recently visited the 1.5-mile oval last November. The Emporia, Kan., native has an average starting position of 18.7 and an average finish of 18th. His only finish outside the top 10 came in 2007 when a broken exhaust pipe which, ultimately, resulted in a transmission failure, due to excessive heat, left him 39th.

* Loop Data Says ... Bowyer's average running position of 14.5 and driver rating of 83.8 rank him 12th- and 14th-best, respectively, at HMS. Of the 1,069 laps that Bowyer has completed at the Sunshine State facility, 544 of them have come while running inside the top 15.

* Looking Back at 2009 ... Heading into the final race of the season, Bowyer has accumulated four top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, an average start of 16.8 and an average finish of 15th in 35 races thus far in 2009. The two-time NSCS winner has led 40 laps of competition and has completed 9,890 of the 10,225 (96.7 percent) laps contested thus far.

* Rearview Mirror ... Bowyer and the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Racing team posted their second consecutive seventh-place finish in last Sunday's Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil at Phoenix International Raceway.

* Get to the Points ... Bowyer's seventh-place finish at Phoenix allowed him to maintain the 15th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings. Out of the Chase field, the race for 13th place is on. Bowyer trails current position holder Kyle Busch by 86 markers.

* A Win for the Helping Hands ... The Helping Hands pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award for their quick work on pit road last week in Phoenix. The award is given on a weekly basis to the team that spends the least amount of time on pit road and finishes on the lead lap. It marks the third time the crew has won the award in 2009.

* One Trophy Missing from the Shelf ... Homestead has been a bit of an Achilles Heel for RCR and is one of the few race tracks where team owner Richard Childress hasn't earned a Sprint Cup Series victory. As a company, RCR's best finish at HMS came in 2003 and in 2008 when Kevin Harvick recorded runner-up finishes. In 29 starts, RCR has four top-five and 13 top-10 finishes at the mile-and-a-half, progressively-banked oval with drivers Dave Blaney, Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Green, Harvick and Mike Skinner. Auto Club Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway are the other tracks on the current schedule where RCR has yet to visit Victory Lane.

* Statistically Speaking ... Although he isn't in contention for the championship, Bowyer has recorded just two finishes outside the top 15 in the nine Chase races held thus far. The only Chasers who have exceeded Bowyer's feat are Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, with eight each. At the same time, Bowyer has recorded five top-10 finishes, equaling or eclipsing seven of the Chasers (Brian Vickers -- 0, Carl Edwards -- 2, Kasey Kahne -- 4, Ryan Newman -- 3, Denny Hamlin -- 5, Greg Biffle -- 5, Tony Stewart -- 5).


Other than the mechanical problems you had in 2007, Homestead has been a very strong track for you.

"It's a fun race track. I like the track a lot, and I look forward to going there every year. The past couple of years we've looked forward to finishing in the top five in points, so it's a little different this year. Being outside the Chase, we're there to win and to finish out the season strong."

Because of not being in the point battle, do you head to Homestead not wanting the season to end because you want to continue building, or do you just want 2009 to be over?

"You need a clean slate. It gets everyone rejuvenated, gives us all a chance to recharge the batteries, get the pep back in our step. It's been a long year. When you struggle like we have this year, it's tough. When you're struggling, you're working three times as hard and not getting the result, and that's frustrating."

There are a couple of guys that enter Homestead still mathematically eligible for the championship. Do you race them a little differently knowing what they have on the line?

"You're there to win. You're there to win for your sponsors and for your team. But, you give respect to those guys. You're not going to put them four-wide and hang them out on the outside, you're going to give them the respect that they have coming to them. But, you'll go out there and race your race, that's the bottom line. Ultimately, they are the ones that have something to lose. If it's coming down door-to-door for the win, they'd better back off or they might wind up wishing they had later."

-credit: rcr

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Mike Skinner , Greg Biffle , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Brian Vickers , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Dave Blaney , Kyle Busch