Phoenix II: Clint Bowyer preview

* This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 255 from Richard Childress Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2009, this Chevrolet debuted at Atlanta...

* This Week's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet at Phoenix International Raceway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 255 from Richard Childress Racing's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. Built new for 2009, this Chevrolet debuted at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March, where Bowyer recorded a sixth-place finish, a 36th-place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May, and a 10th-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. Most recently, Bowyer raced this Impala SS to a 19th-place finish at Martinsville Speedway in October.

* Phoenix Facts ... In eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix, Bowyer boasts two top-five finishes. His best finish, second, came in the April 2008 running of the 312-lap event. The Emporia, Kan., native has completed all but nine laps of competition at the desert oval and has an average finish of 16.6.

* Through 34 Races ... Over the season's first 34 races, Bowyer has accumulated four top-five and 15 top-10 finishes, an average start of 16.9 and an average finish of 15.3. The two-time NSCS winner has led 40 laps of competition and has completed 9,578 of the 9,913 (96.6 percent) laps contested thus far.

* Rearview Mirror ... Bowyer's strong performance in last Sunday's Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway resulted in a seventh-place effort and the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team's 15th top-10 finish of the 2009 season.

* Get to the Points ... Bowyer's seventh-place finish at Texas 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 the current position holder, Kyle Busch, by 105 markers.

* RCR at PIR ... Richard Childress is tied for third with Robert Yates for car owner victories with three. In 58 races at Phoenix, RCR has earned three wins, including Kevin Harvick's sweep of both races at PIR in 2006. Prior to that, Dale Earnhardt won the Checker 500 on Nov. 4, 1990. Additionally, the Welcome, N.C.-based organization boasts 11 top-five and 24 top-10 finishes.

* Former Winner ... While Bowyer has not yet won at Phoenix in NSCS competition, he has visited Victory Lane there once before. Driving the No. 2 Chevrolet for RCR in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Bowyer won the 2007 Bashas' Supermarkets 200.

* Where It All Started ... Bowyer made his NSCS debut at PIR on April 23, 2005. The 29-year-old driver started 25th and finished 22nd driving RCR's No. 33 Chevrolet. Since then, Bowyer has recorded two poles, two wins, 19 top fives, 49 top 10s and has led 696 laps in 116 races throughout his first four seasons on NASCAR's senior circuit.

* The Collective RCR ... In 34 races this season, RCR's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entries have notched 11 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes. The No. 29 team kicked off the 2009 season with a win in the Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. RCR-prepared cars have also completed 38,789 laps with its four drivers -- Jeff Burton, Bowyer, Harvick and Casey Mears. RCR teams have led 244 laps and all four teams have earned just shy of $19.6 million combined purse money in 2009.

* Meet the Driver ... Fans can meet Bowyer on Thursday, Nov. 12 from 3 - 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time at Bashas' Supermarket located at 20351 North Lake Pleasant Road in Peoria, Ariz. Three hundred wristbands will be distributed at 2 p.m. on a first come, first served basis.

* Double Duty ... Bowyer, the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, will drive the No. 29 Holiday Inn/Holiday Inn Express Chevrolet in Saturday's Able Body Labor 200. Live coverage of the event begins Saturday, Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The race will be televised live on ESPN2 and broadcast worldwide on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.

* Last Time at Phoenix ... Bowyer had two strong finishes at PIR in 2008 but the constant hunt for improvement had the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team headed west with what crew chief Shane Wilson called a developmental setup. With limited time to fine-tune their experiment, the No. 33 team struggled to get their Chevrolet Impala SS handling to their driver's liking. The end result was a disappointing 26th-place finish.

CLINT BOWYER:

Where do you have to be good at Phoenix? Can you be good everywhere, or is it a track where you've got to adapt?

"You have to adapt at Phoenix. Both ends of the track are so different. You've got to have the car freed up to get through Turns 1 and 2 because it's so tight, but you can't get too free because when you get to Turns 3 and 4, it's such a long, sweeping corner that the car will get out from underneath you. So it's a lot of adapting. There's no perfect setup with both ends being different, but Phoenix is a fun race track. Practice and qualifying are both important, but you can't wait to get out there and race because it's a track where you can really make things happen."

You made your first Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix. When you get back there, do you think wow, this is where it all started?

"I do. I won a Nationwide race there. It's always been a good track for me and I really enjoy going out there. It's a great city, neat place to go."

As we near the end of the season and you haven't won a race, does the pressure increase when there are only two chances left? Do you start to put more on yourself?

"Not really. It's not any different than any other race. I'm a racer, I want to win every time I'm on the race track, but I also understand that you've got to have all the pieces of the puzzle put in place to win these races. It's a very competitive series. Everything has to be right to win one of these races."

Is it different racing there between night and day? It's a night race the first time out, then a day race when we head back in November.

"It's a big difference. The sun down the front straightaway heading into turn one can be a huge factor in the race."

-credit: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Casey Mears , Clint Bowyer , Robert Yates , Kyle Busch
Teams Richard Childress Racing