Clint Bowyer: “This sh-t’s fun again!”
What young movement? Strike one more win for the veteran class! Clint Bowyer brought the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing car to victory lane at Martinsville Speedway on Monday.
This year comes at a very important time for Clint Bowyer. Stewart-Haas has a development line below their MENCS operation. Cole Custer is down there and he’s coming. However, at the top, Stewart-Haas Racing is filled with veterans, not rookies.
You’re only as good as your last race. Clint Bowyer’s last win came 190 races prior despite coming close multiple times in 2017.
“Last year was tough for me. Here’s this opportunity you’ve been waiting on and you wasn’t able to showcase what you thought was gunna be there,” Clint Bowyer stated from the media center at Martinsville Speedway.
“But, there was a lot on everybody’s plate last year. It wasn’t a lack of effort, on anybody’s part.”
“We finished 2nd, three times last year. We got close. We just had too many valleys in-between the peaks.”
“All the sudden toward the end of the year, the #4 car, you just feel it. We finally found our way. We got on that train track and away it went.”
That transition happened rather dramatically as well. With 3 races remaining in the 2017 season, Kevin Harvick took to the outside of Martin Truex Jr. He drove around him and put the #4 Stewart-Haas Racing team in victory lane.
This year, all of the Stewart-Haas Racing cars are showing speed. A few weeks ago, the team had all four cars inside the top 10.
“Gibson came off the road. He’s in the shop keeping all the cars the same.”
“You can’t look at an organization as one time and one car, you’ll fail. Now you’re starting to see 4 cars running well, week in and week out. That’s the way it needs to be to be successful.”
Did you ever have any doubts?
“Hell yes. Yes, it was pretty dark,” Bowyer explains. “This year, racing’s fun again.”
“I wish I could show you the text from Tony Stewart. He told me all the things that I needed to do. He knows my demeanor. It was the normal Tony Stewart text, to me.”
“I told him, ‘Don’t worry about it. This shit’s fun again.’ ”
“Our cars are good. All four cars are good. I appreciate the army of people that make this possible for all of us.”
Clint Bowyer was quiet on the radio.
“I was busy damn it. That’s Kyle Busch in your mirror. That car presents pretty big in the rear view mirror and it’s a hard one to keep in the rear view mirror.”
“I even got a little cottonmouth that last run. I needed a drink of water and I wasn’t even going to let off the steering wheel to get that.”
In that last run, Kyle Busch started to slow down and save his tires. Clint Bowyer was laser focused on maintaining the lead while putting down fast laps.
Though, at that point, fast laps is no longer the objective. Maintaining the gap, saving your own stuff and having something for the end is the new objective.
Brett Griffin spotter for the Stewart-Haas Racing #14 was the one that caught that.
“Brett picked it up. He helped me not just push that throttle through the floorboard off the corners. And not lean on the wheel too much, not push the brakes too hard.”
“Be easy on your stuff and save it. Because you knew Kyle was doing that same thing behind ya. He’d make a run and we’d try to pick it up a little bit.”
“I was able to match his runs. That’s when I knew, we had ’em.”
Several cars nearly brought out a caution told the end of the 500 lap race at Martinsville Speedway. On-fire, smoking and dropping parts, they all made it to the pit lane.
“Then you see, I don’t know who it was that was smoking, on-fire or whatever else. Thank god they pulled in!”
“I did not wanna have to deal with a restart.”
Related: Martinsville Speedway results