No. 33 Team Finishes Season Top 10 in Points Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team topped off a successful 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season by pulling out a 12th-place finish in the Homestead 400 at ...
No. 33 Team Finishes Season Top 10 in Points
Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet team topped off a successful 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season by pulling out a 12th-place finish in the Homestead 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday.
With the effort, Bowyer finished 10th in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup point standings. It was the third time in the last four years that the No. 33 team has earned a top-10 finish in points.
On Friday at the 1.5-mile track, the Shane Wilson-led team started the weekend off loose in first practice and made major adjustments in qualifying trim with Bowyer posting the 16th-fastest lap among 46 competitors. Later that day, he turned a lap in the time trials session that was good enough to line up the No. 33 Chevrolet 17th on the starting grid.
On Saturday, the Emporia, Kan., native had some trouble in the first practice session and brushed the wall, causing minor damage to the car. The Helping Hands crew fixed the damage quickly and were able to get the car back out on the track. After the repairs, Bowyer posted times good enough for 29th and 27th on the speed charts, respectively. The car was once again very loose, but by the end of practice after completing adjustments, the team was excited about their chances in the 400-mile event on Sunday.
Race day in Homestead brought sunny skies and warm temperatures for the estimated crowd of 67,000. Bowyer started the event on the inside of row nine and initial feedback from the driver was that the car was very loose in and off the corners, but tight in the center. Bowyer would continue to steadily improve on the track, working his way up to 15th.
On lap 17, the caution flag waved which gave the crew a chance to make minor adjustments to the car and tighten it up. The changes worked in the beginning as Bowyer worked his way up to 13th position on the track, but as the long green-flag run went on, the car began to loosen up and slide around on old tires. Wilson decided to pit under green on lap 70, put on four fresh Goodyear tires, and wait for a caution to make major changes to the car.
The caution Wilson was looking for came out on lap 97 and the team made wholesale changes to the car to aide Bowyer's drive around the South Florida facility. The Florida sun also went behind the clouds and the changing track conditions worked in Bowyer's favor. The next 100 laps, Bowyer began improving his position on the track, making it up to as high as 12th.
On lap 179, the sun came back out and Bowyer started complaining that the car was very loose and sliding around when he tried to accelerate out of the turns. A quick pit stop under caution on lap 187 gave the crew the opportunity put on fresh tires and make minor adjustments, which helped the car find grip out on the hot racing surface.
Bowyer ran some of his fastest lap times of the day and worked his way up to eighth on the leaderboard. Under caution on lap 201, the team decided to take two right-side tires, but only a handful of cars came down pit road as most teams chose not to pit, dropping the No. 33 Chevrolet to 19th position for the restart.
The next 40 laps were ran under green-flag conditions and Bowyer found the setup he was looking for, consistently passing cars and advancing his way up to 12th before pitting for the last time on lap 240. A caution flag three laps later put the No. 33 one lap down in 19th with only 16 laps to go, but they were awarded their lap back by NASCAR Officials as one of the "wave-around" cars.
Back on the lead lap, Bowyer began another trademark late-race charge with three-lap tires, passing seven cars on the final green-flag run. He crossed the start/finish line in 12th at the end of the 267-lap event.
Carl Edwards scored his second straight victory followed by 2010 NSCS Champion Jimmie Johnson, RCR stablemate Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, and AJ Allmendinger. Fellow teammate Jeff Burton finished 31st.
Harvick ended up third in the final NSCS point standings while Burton finished in 12th.
"We fought a loose car early, but Shane and the guys worked hard to make the changes we needed in the end to secure a solid finish. The timing of that final caution really hurt our team since we pitted under green a few laps before, but I'm content with a 12-place finish. We ended up finishing 10th in points which is great for our friends at General Mills being that it is their first time in the Chase since being in the sport. I look forward to heading out to Las Vegas next week to celebrate a great comeback year with our RCR teammates."