This Weekend's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet Impala at Pocono Raceway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 298 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Chevrolet, built new in 2010, made its debut at Atlanta...
This Weekend's Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet Impala at Pocono Raceway ... Clint Bowyer will pilot Chassis No. 298 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This Chevrolet, built new in 2010, made its debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. Bowyer and the No. 33 team were in line to score a top-10 finish when late-race contact cut Bowyer's tire, resulting in a less-than-desired 23rd-place finish.
Pocono Stats ... In eight NSCS starts at the "Tricky Triangle," Bowyer has earned one top-five and four top-10 finishes. His best finish at the 2.5-mile track came last August where the Emporia, Kan., native led 23 laps en route to a third-place finish. The two-time NSCS race winner has completed 1,455 of 1,506 laps contested (96.6 percent) and owns a 17.5 average finish at the Long Pond, Pa., facility.
Rearview Mirror ... Clint Bowyer, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday, is back in the thick of the Chase for the Sprint Cup battle following a seventh-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team climbed two spots, to 13th, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and sits a mere four points outside the coveted top 12 with 13 races remaining before the Chase begins.
You're out of the top 12 right now but, with how you guys have been running this season, are you confident you can get back inside the Chase?
"I think so. Our cars are definitely fast and that gives us the confidence we need to get through these summer months. This is where it is important to have a string of good runs. Pocono starts the list of race tracks that can either make or break your season. These summer months are crucial in making sure your cars are fast and that you have the finishes to back it up. I feel that there is no reason why we can't do that to get ourselves back in this Chase hunt to compete for the championship."
Can you talk a little about the tracks coming up and how you think you'll perform on them?
"We definitely have some good tracks coming up for us. We had a good run the last time around at Pocono. We're confident that we can have strong runs at both Pocono races. We've seen some teams struggle there in the past and we need to capitalize on those opportunities. Then, with the road course, we've had good runs at those as well. At Infineon, we've been very fortunate to have good finishes there and we need to keep that up. Those are three important race tracks for us. Michigan is another one. We were strong there last year and hope to have those same results again."
The Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines have been strong. Will that horsepower help you out as you head to those long straightaways at Pocono?
"Absolutely, but our cars are handling better, too. When you look at those tracks where horsepower is vital, like Pocono, we think our engine package will help us run well there."
We know engines are important at Pocono, but can you talk a little on how brakes play a factor as well?
"The straightaways are so long and then you have tight corners. You have to woe your car down getting into the corners and that certainly takes a toll on the brakes. You have to have a good brake package and manage them so you can be there at the end of the race."
This will be the first time the series heads to Pocono with the new green, white and checkered flag rules. How will that play into your strategy at the end of the race?
"At any of these big racetracks, the fuel strategy comes into play. Especially, with the three attempts at the green, white and checkered flag finishes. People are going to run out of fuel. It's going to happen. The whole field is going to be upset if someone sputters or runs out of fuel. Somebody is going to look back and think we should have come in to top off and then others are going to have that play into their hand by getting themselves a win. I certainly see that happening at one of these bigger race tracks during these next two months."