Talladega II: Clint Bowyer race report

Bowyer Brings BB&T to Victory Lane in Thrilling Talladega Finish TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 31, 2010) -- Richard Childress Racing drivers Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick added to the excitement of the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup and the drama of ...

Bowyer Brings BB&T to Victory Lane in Thrilling Talladega Finish

TALLADEGA, Ala. (Oct. 31, 2010) -- Richard Childress Racing drivers Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick added to the excitement of the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup and the drama of restrictor plate racing with a thrilling 1-2 finish in Sunday's 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

The RCR teammate's last lap drag race to the checkers ended with a trip to Victory Lane for Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T team, and gave car owner Richard Childress his 11th victory at Talladega, the most by any car owner at the track.

By earning his second victory of 2010, the Emporia, Kan., native maintained his 12th place position in the NSCS championship point standings, and is now just 17 markers outside of the top 10 and 60 markers outside of seventh place despite a 150-point penalty incurred earlier this year.

Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team were solid all weekend leading into Sunday's 500-mile marquee event. The team posted the 16th fastest time during the first of two practice sessions on Friday, and opted out of final practice. On Saturday, Bowyer narrowly missed a pole award with a 51.903 second, 184.498 mph lap around the 2.66-mile superspeedway. The time was just 0.040 seconds off of the pole winner, and earned Bowyer a second-place starting berth for Sunday.

Starting on the outside of the front row, Bowyer was fast from the get-go, often finding that he had to drag his brakes on the straight-a-ways so that drafting partners could keep up with the ECR power under the hood of his burgundy Chevrolet. He hovered anywhere from first to 16th in the running order until pitting under green on lap 40 for four Goodyear tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to correct a tight-handling race car.

Exiting the pits in sixth, Bowyer again found himself right in the mix. Drafting through the field on both the high and low side of the race track, he was among 26 drivers who took turns leading over the 188 lap event, with the field making green-flag pit stops on laps 71 and 115.

Bowyer was running 11th in a large pack of cars racing four wide around the 2.66-mile superspeedway when another car spun on lap 140, sending the field scrambling to avoid disaster. Bowyer made contact during the Melee, and interim crew chief Scott Miller immediately directed the driver of the No. 33 down pit road so that the RCR team could evaluate and fix the damage.

Crew members applied a small patch over a hole on the right side of the front nose of the Chevrolet before servicing the race car with four tires and two cans of fuel. Bowyer restarted the race 27th on lap 145, determined to make his way back up through the field.

Bowyer remained a top contender in the race, running up front shortly after his final pit stop, and leading the race with just ten laps to go.

When a caution for debris set the field for a late race restart with just four laps remaining in the 188-lap event, Bowyer knew that he would have to be strategic in order to remain the race leader. Leading the field to the restart, Bowyer drafted with fellow ECR driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who aligned his bumper with the No. 33's rear-end. The duo created a two-car draft for the remaining four laps of the race, pulling out to a sizeable lead until Kevin Harvick, with assistance from David Reutimann, pulled along side them for a drag race to the finish.

Bowyer and Harvick, each pushed by their respective drafting partners, raced side-by-side, making it to turn one of the last lap nearly even with each other when a wreck in the middle of the field caused NASCAR officials to display the caution flag and freeze the field as they came to the checkered flag.

With the field frozen, the final finishing order was determined by examining the last scoring line crossed before the caution was displayed, with Bowyer edging Harvick for the victory by just the nose of his Chevrolet.

Juan Pablo Montoya finished third, giving ECR the top three finishing positions, while David Reutimann and Joey Logano rounded out the top five finishers.

RCR stable mate Jeff Burton was involved in a lap-133 incident and finished 41st.

NASCAR takes its premier series to Texas next week for the eighth race of the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

CLINT BOWYER: "I'm just very, very happy for a lot of reasons. Everybody at RCR has worked very hard to get us back. To have Kevin [Harvick] racing for a championship is where obviously Jeff and I wanted to be. But to have him still have a shot at winning a championship, that's very important. To be able to win two races in a Chase for our race team is very important. Shane [Wilson, crew chief] built an awesome racecar. Scott [Miller, interim crew chief] has done a great job all year long of being a competition director and filling that role that we never had, filling the void. To be able to step in and come close to winning two races in the four races he's been here is pretty incredible. I'm very proud of the job that he's done stepping in for us. I'm proud of everybody to be able to give up our crew, to make sure that Kevin had the best opportunity to win a championship, and to win a race with his crew is what they needed, what we needed as a race team. You couldn't ask for a better day."

"We have been close to winning three of the seven races we participated in, in this Chase, and that's due to great preparation from Shane Wilson and everybody on this 33 team. It was important to me to get my 33 pit crew guys. A lot of people don't realize how much work goes into this. For those pit crew guys, the guys that build the bodies, build these racecars week in and week out at the race shop, to be able to win, it is redemption. It finally puts that behind me as a racecar driver, as a person, and us as a race team.

"I'm thrilled for RCR. I mean, you have to think about all the hard work that goes into it. It's not just us racecar drivers. When you're at that race shop every day, you realize the passion for this sport, no different than you have as a racecar driver. The sacrifices their families make for them to work day in and day out at the racetrack, the weekends. Those guys are the hardest-working people in this sport. They get it done here. All of us take it easy for the week, and we go back to our job on the weekends. Their jobs start 7:00 on Monday morning. To realize how much hard work and dedication goes into those cars, that's what makes you the proudest, the pride in Victory Lane, to know what it means to those guys.

"I was pushing the 18. I think he was a little bit on the apron. I was kind of stuck pushing him. I was like, 'where the hell are you going?' It left me in a bad position, and the 47. More importantly, it probably left the 47 in the worse situation. He was four-wide, tight corners and he kind of checked up. I was behind him. When you check up at the speeds you run here, you know, I turned him around. But then I looked in the mirror and I saw Kevin was tore up. I was just sick. It makes you sick to your stomach. You don't want to be the guy, have all the people on the racetrack to take RCR and all the employees out of a championship. I was pretty sick about it. But as soon as he got back up there, I pushed him, went right back up to the front, I was like, Well, thank God."

SCOTT MILLER: "We brought some really good racecars to the track. Really the whole race Clint did a fantastic job of putting himself in a position to win. We tested the waters a lot all day long to see what would work and what wouldn't work. Fortunately, some of the things he found during the race worked out for us there at the end."

"The key to everything today was having a fast racecar and him putting himself in the right position to be able to win the race. So it was just one of those days where everything lined up. Fortunately, we're sitting here talking to all of you."

RICHARD CHILDRESS: "Standing in the winner's circle with Clint and the team was real special because it brought back memories of being here 10 years ago with Dale Earnhardt when he won this race. I was thinking about that."

"The job Scott Miller has done for us all year long helped put us in this position. To be able to step in and do what he's done, I'm really proud of that."

"Clint Bowyer, he'll go down in history as one of the great restrictor plate racers, just like Kevin. Him and Kevin both were up there. I didn't know which one won it. My grandson said, 'We know we won it, so let's go to the winner's circle'. I was sitting there kind of numb until he told me that."

"Although we're racing for the championship, it comes down to a win. It may be different at Homestead, but not really. If you have a chance to win a Cup race, you have to go after it. I told Clint, if it comes down to the win, you guys have got to do what you got to do. I was just happy for both of them. Both of them got beat up a little bit in that one incident on the backstretch. To be able to come back and run 1-2, I couldn't be happier. Like I said, I was kind of wondering which one won and if it was real, because the scoreboard never went up to 188, it stayed at 187. I was a little concerned about that."

"I'm really proud of what everybody's accomplished this year. Everybody forgets where we were. You remember the bad years. We had good years in 2007. Like I said, Clint was a contender for the championship. Kevin and Clint were right there in 2008. We were just off in 2009. But the end of 2009, the last 10 races in the Chase, our cars would have been right up there if you would have just took the points. We felt good coming into this year. Hopefully Kevin can pull it off. We're going to throw everything at it we can."

-source: rcr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Richard Childress Racing