BUSCH: Indy IRP: Clint Bowyer preview

CLINT BOWYER Continuing the Points Climb at IRP Huntersville, N.C. (Aug., 2, 2005) -- Last weekend's race at Gateway International Raceway may not have been the best executed race for ACDelco driver Clint Bowyer. Nonetheless in the end, ...

Continuing the Points Climb at IRP

Huntersville, N.C. (Aug., 2, 2005) -- Last weekend's race at Gateway International Raceway may not have been the best executed race for ACDelco driver Clint Bowyer. Nonetheless in the end, after determination and consistency, the 26-year old knocked down another top-10 finish and closed the gap on series leader Martin Truex, Jr. Two races ago Bowyer trailed Truex by 142 points. He now heads to Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP) for the running of the Kroger 200 on Saturday night, just 70 markers out of first.

"Last Saturday definitely wasn't the prettiest of races for us," said Bowyer. "We ran in the top-15 and top-20 for the majority of the night and struggled to get good track position. But, we were there at the end to capitalize on another top-10 and gain some ground in the points chase, and that's all that counts. We found a way to get there, and that is something you have to be able to do to be in contention for the championship."

In contention he is. The Emporia, Kan., native heads to the .686-mile oval just west of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the coveted Brickyard lays, with one pole, one win, six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes. He is tied with Truex and Carl Edwards with the most top-10 finishes, but knows another win and more top-five efforts is what he needs to further solidify his quest for his first NASCAR Busch Series championship.

"Top-10 finishes are nice, but at this point in the season we have got to knock off more top-fives, maybe even top-three finishes and another win or two, to really close in on Truex and possibly get a good grasp on the lead," added Bowyer. "Truex is a great driver and is behind the wheel of a great car and team. He is going to be tough to beat. But it can be done."

Points of Interest...

* Runnin' It...The Real Car Guys will take chassis No. 019 to Indianapolis Raceway Park this weekend. This is the chassis Jeff Burton drove to a second place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway in April after starting second in the No. 21 Reese's Peanut Butter Lovers Chevrolet.

* Track Stat...Bowyer has raced once at the 0.686-mile oval. That start came last year in the No. 21 Reese's Chevrolet, where he started 15th and finished 17th.

* ACDelco Stat.... In seven starts at IRP, ACDelco has a record of two wins, four top-five and six top-10 finishes. In 1998 and 1999, they went to the winner's circle and finished fifth with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. behind the wheel. The following two years with Kevin Harvick, they finished eighth then revisited victory lane again. In 2002, Johnny Sauter brought them home a fourth place finish. Then Ron Hornaday brought them home an eighth place finish in 2003. Last year was ACDelco's worst year, with Hornaday finishing 35th. This weekend they hope their Real Car Guys can get them another top-five finish or even a trip back to victory lane.

* NBS Points...After 22 races in the 2005 season, Bowyer sits second in the points standings. He's now 70 markers out of the lead with one win, six top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.

* Start time...Saturday night's Kroger 200 is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. EDT. TV coverage of the 200-lap event on TNT begins at 8:30 p.m., with live radio coverage also beginning at 8:30 p.m. EDT on your local MRN Radio affiliate and XM Satellite Radio. Remember times and dates of the race may change so check your local listings.

No. 2 ACDelco driver Clint Bowyer on Indianapolis Raceway Park ...

Talk about your run there last year.

"I struggled a little. It's a difficult track to get around. You have to wait on the car so long to come around the corner and it's hard to discipline yourself to wait on it before you pick up the gas. But, it's a neat race track and tough to pass on. I am really looking forward to going because I know we have a good car."

What makes IRP so tough?

"You just can't run around the bottom. IRP and Darlington are about the only two tracks where it's like that. It's so flat down there and it's a multi-grade banking, which makes it really hard to pass because you have to get down and make the car work on that. You basically have to be a lot faster than the guy in front of you to pass him or use the old chrome horn."

Talk about the heat that you have been experiencing during this part of the summer?

"The heat wear's you down more mentally than physically, I think. By the end of the race you are drained a little bit. But, I'd like to think I am in pretty decent shape. I do a lot of cardio over the winter. I like to do a lot of jogging. You don't have as much time to do it during the racing season, but the heat hasn't bothered me as much this year as it did last year."


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Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Johnny Sauter , Martin Truex Jr. , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer