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.Read More
No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Crew Chief Brian Pattie has some rather simple goals for his driver Clint Bowyer in the 2014 season.
Win races, earn a third consecutive Chase berth and hoist the Sprint Cup trophy at season’s end.
The 37-year-old avid golfer begins his third season at Michael Waltrip Racing with Bowyer and the 5-hour ENERGY team as one of the favorites to battle for the title. Since joining MWR in 2012, Pattie has visited victory lane three times, finished second in the points in 2012 and last year equaled Bowyer’s career high in top five finishes.
But, that shouldn’t surprise anyone. The father of four who coaches basketball in the off-season has a history of bold calls during the race that often turns out to be the winning strategy.
Success has marked Pattie’s career since the Zephyrhills, Fla. native began crew chief duties in 1999 for Joe Nemechek’s NEMCO Motorsports. During his time at NEMCO (1999-2003) Pattie worked with drivers Nemechek, Ron Fellows, Dale Earnhardt Jr., David Reutimann and Kyle Busch. Pattie spent 2008-11 with former open-wheel standout Juan Pablo Montoya leading him to a berth in the 2009 Chase and a win in 2010 at Watkins Glen.
Prior to joining MWR, Pattie worked for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing where he served as crew chief for Montoya in the Sprint Cup Series 2008-2011. Pattie spent 2004 until mid-2008 in the Nationwide Series for Ganassi where he worked with drivers AJ Allmendinger, Dario Franchitti, Kevin Hamlin, Montoya, Scott Preutt, Reed Sorenson, David Stremme, Casey Mears, Jamie McMurray and Michael Valiante.
Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-HOUR Energy Toyota: “That was about what we expected and we’re right there with our Toyota teammates. We’ll be good in the Duels -- feel like we’ve got a solid 5-hour ENERGY Camry in the draft. We’ll be fine.” Michael Waltrip, No. 66 Blue-Def/AAA Toyota: “We haven’t had the speed since we got here and we’re trying to figure that out...
The Michael Waltrip Racing teams and drivers return to Daytona International Speedway Wednesday to resume practice in preparation for Sunday’s 56th annual Daytona 500. Thursday marks the first time the two 150-mile Duel races, races that determine the starting order for the Daytona 500, will be held at night. Friday and Saturday include normal practice sessions before Sunday’s “Great American Race.”
|8/23/14||IRWIN TOOLS NIGHT RACE||Bristol||17th|
|8/17/14||PURE MICHIGAN 400||Michigan||6th|
|8/10/14||CHEEZ-IT 355||Watkins Glen||27th|
|7/27/14||CROWN ROYAL 400||Indianapolis||16th|
|7/13/14||CAMPING WORLD RV SALES 301||New Hampshire||6th|
|7/6/14||COKE ZERO 400||Daytona||9th|
|6/28/14||QUAKER STATE 400||Kentucky||23rd|
|6/22/14||TOYOTA - SAVE MART 350||Sonoma||10th|
|6/15/14||QUICKEN LOANS 400||Michigan||10th|
|5/17/14||Sprint All Star Race||All Star Race - Charlotte||7th|
|4/26/14||TOYOTA OWNERS 400||Richmond||43rd|
|4/12/14||Bojangles' Southern 500||Darlington||12th|
|4/7/14||DUCK COMMANDER 500||Texas Motor Speedway||8th|
|3/23/14||AUTO CLUB 400||California||16th|
|3/16/14||FOOD CITY 500||Bristol||15th|
|3/9/14||KOBALT 400||Las Vegas||23rd|
|3/2/14||THE PROFIT ON CNBC 500||Phoenix||13th|