Last year was ‘shockingly frustrating’ for Clint Bowyer – Two wins later, Clint Bowyer is here
Clint Bowyer put the Haas VF1 machine back in victory lane. It’s the same paint scheme as his last win at Martinsville. So, what does VF1 stand for? Very first one.
Clint Bowyer took two tires just ahead of the rain. He jacked up the track bar, all the way. Then went on to hold off Kevin Harvick who was on 4 fresh tires.
The rain came and Clint Bowyer was the winner at Michigan International Speedway.
“Everybody knows what Tony brought to the table. Gene, is that rock,” Clint Bowyer states of Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas.
“He is the rock behind all of us. That enables us to go out and perform at our best. It’s never a questions of, ‘What does it take financially?’ or anything else.”
“It’s, ‘What does it take to win?’ What does it take to be better? What does it take to find victory lane?’ Those are the questions that Gene Haas asks and that’s it.”
“He doesn’t talk about, ‘Well that was a good top-10 finish.’ You can be proud of a good run somewhere. Maybe that was a track you struggle at, maybe you run 5th or 6th… No call,” Bowyer refers to a lack of a phone call from the boss, with the exception of a win.
“Winning and winning only is what he does in his industry. It bleeds through to his employees and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing.”
“Now, you see him embarking in his Formula One adventures. It’s just amazing what he’s done in motorsports in the last few years.”
What took so long?
This is year two for Clint Bowyer at Stewart-Haas Racing. The first year didn’t go so well for Bowyer. Why?
“It’s just so much fun to be in this equipment. Last year, was a shocker to me. It was frustrating. You get this opportunity. You’re thinking, ‘Boy we got ’em, I’m back!’ It just didn’t happen.”
“Mike and I didn’t have that communication down. Our cars weren’t very good and the way through. The #4 car was good, hit and miss here and there. But, collectively, all four cars weren’t that good.”
Stewart-Haas Racing pulled Tony Gibson off the road, per his own request. Gibson is now at the shop. He’s the man tying all 4 cars together as one unit. Now, all four Stewart-Haas Racing machines have speed.
“It’s go cat go. Being with Ford, Roush Yates Engines under the hood. It’s just a deadly combination.”
“Everybody’s fighting the same thing, collectively.”
The speed of Kevin Harvick in 2017 gave Clint Bowyer hope. Harvick passed Martin Truex Jr on the outside at Texas Motor Speedway, that was the turning point for the team.
“You could see the ingredients. You could see the potential. You just couldn’t reach it.”
“We just didn’t unload fast. We could. We’d be hit and then we’d be miss. Miss, miss, miss, hit. We just had zero consistency. We’ve had that consistency this year.”
“Until the last month. Then it was like, ‘Whoa! Hey! What was that?’ I think that’s what gets you through those tough times is when you see the potential.”
“The #4 car is knocking it out of the park. I mean, one more lap and he would’ve won another damn race. That was a gutsy call. I’m so proud of Mike for making that call. That’s uncharacteristic for him.”
“He’s not a gambler. That’s how smart he is, he knows not to gamble. Smart people don’t gamble.”
Bowyer on Harvick
In 2018, Kevin Harvick has been dominating. Harvick has collected 5 wins and 11 top-5’s later. Yet, Clint Bowyer took one at Michigan, picking up his 2nd win of the season.
“Oh I beat him!”
“When I came into this sport at RCR, he’s the guy that was there. I had no clue what the hell I was doing. I think he knew right off the bat that I was very green. He took me under his wing and helped me out.”
“He’s the guy right now. Him and Kyle Busch are the two that are shining the most.”
“Prayin’ for the rain, is what it took. But, it took that gutsy call from Mike to put me in that situation. Then to hold that Grizzly bear off because man he was coming quick.”
“Was he the fastest car all weekend long? Absolutely. Does the fastest car always win? No. That’s what’s cool about this sport. You never know what’s gonna happen.”
Two tire stop
Crew chief Mike Buagarewicz made the call for two tires. Yet, with the threat of rain, he expected other drivers to make the same call. They didn’t. Clint Bowyer was on his own to hold off Harvick.
“I looked in the mirror — There’s nobody coming. I think I half ran over my crew guy because I’m looking in the mirror. I gotta get out in front of these guys. Surely there’s going to be somebody take two tires because he already told me the rain’s coming.”
“I am the only person! I am a mile ahead. Everybody behind me was on 4 tires.”
“It was a gamble. It’s uncharacteristic for him. That’s part of growing and blossoming as a crew chief. That’s something I haven’t really seen a lot of for the two years we’ve been together.”
“We’re going to drink a little bit tonight by the way. That’s gonna happen. I know you guys are questioning it. I drink more of Kevin Harvick’s sponsor than I’m pretty sure he does. It’s a hell of a sponsor.”
Related: Michigan Race Results