Life is good for Clint Bowyer in 2014.
The former paint-and-body man at Kansas car dealerships has moved up in the world.
The 34-year-old now owns his own dirt car race team, built a community center and bought the Toyota dealership in his home town of Emporia, Kan. He stars in national 5-hour ENERGY and PEAK television commercials and recently gave a ring to longtime girlfriend Lorra Podsiadlo.
What's left for Bowyer as he begins his ninth Sprint Cup season?
He wants to move from the upper echelon of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to winning a Sprint Cup championship with his Michael Waltrip Racing team. Bowyer fells just 39 points short of that goal in 2012 when he finished second to Brad Keselowski and in 2013 he finished seventh of the 13 drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
Bowyer has five Chase appearances and expects the same results in 2014 season plus a return to winning ways that saw three trips to victory lane in 2012 under the leadership of veteran crew chief Brian Pattie.
MWR will make Bowyer's championship run a priority by pairing him with teammate Brian Vickers who'll drive the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine fulltime while Jeff Burton and Michael Waltrip will drive MWR's No. 66 that will play a significant role in testing.
It's been a long but successful journey from the dirt tracks of Kansas to taking eight checkered flags in NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing.
Bowyer began racing motocross in 1985 collecting more than 200 wins and several championships before moving to four wheels. He won numerous titles at tracks like Thunderhill, Lakeside and I-70 Speedways.
In his first ARCA start at Nashville in 2003 the youngster led 47 laps and finished second. The performance caught the attention of NASCAR team owner Richard Childress who paired Bowyer and Kevin Harvick behind the wheel of an RCR Nationwide Series entry in 2004.
Victories at Nashville and Memphis and ultimately a second-place finish in the 2005 Nationwide standings led RCR to field a Sprint Cup car for Bowyer at Phoenix that year.
The 2006 season marked Bowyer's first full season in Sprint Cup racing. Four top-five finishes led to a 17th place finish in the standings – enough to earn him second place in the rookie standings.
In 2007 Bowyer posted his first career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in just his 64th career start. Later that year Bowyer earned his first berth in the Chase and finished third in points.
In 2008, Bowyer won at Richmond and earned his second consecutive Chase birth finishing fifth in the standings. Bowyer capped off the impressive season by winning the Nationwide championship.
In 2009, Bowyer raced his way to four top-five finishes in the Cup Series finishing 15th in the standings. In 2010 he earned a third Chase birth winning at New Hampshire and Talladega. Bowyer's dramatic last turn pass of teammate Jeff Burton highlighted his 2011 season.
Victories at Sears Point, Richmond and Charlotte highlighted 2012 that saw him finish second just 39 points out of first. The 2013 season ended in a seventh-place finish but saw Bowyer post 10 top-10 finishes equaling a career high.