October 14, 2012
Clint Bowyer Wins Charlotte
Clint Bowyer Race Summary: No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer won his third NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the 2012 season Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver started fourth and raced with the leaders throughout the night. A strategy call to stretch fuel mileage in the closing stages of the race enabled Bowyer to remain on the track while others pitted. Despite Denny Hamlin closing in, Bowyer crossed the finish line less than half a second ahead of his fellow Toyota driver for his eighth career victory. The No. 15 ran out of gas as Bowyer attempted a celebration burnout. Bowyer’s run capped a night that saw MWR place all three of its Toyotas in the top 10. The Emporia, Kan. native and the 5-hour ENERGY team return to action Sunday at Kansas Speedway in the sixth race in NASCAR’S Chase for the Sprint Cup. The victory moved Bowyer to fourth in the Chase just 28 points out of first.
- Started fourth and finished first
- Third win of the 2012 season and eighth of his career.
- Led three times for 29 laps
- Eighth top-five finish of 2012 – most of Bowyer’s career.
- The No. 15 carried a special paint scheme honoring its new Pink Lemonade flavor and the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade
BOWYER: “Just very proud of these guys -- very proud of everybody. We've had cars all year long capable of winning and to be able to win three times for me and everybody's led laps and we've just had a great year. Thank you to Michael (Waltrip, co-owner) and Rob Kauffman (co-owner) for taking a chance on me. Man, I love these guys."
Are you proud to get you first win on a 1.5-mile track? "It is my first mile-and-a-half race track win and it's Charlotte -- this is my worst race track. I think even with this win, it's still my worst race track with statistics and everything. Just unbelievable job -- that's a team effort. Brian Pattie (crew chief) -- you know everybody with this EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) system, you can just fuel mapping and things like that and we've been working on fuel mileage. It paid off. I can't do a burnout. The thing doesn't have enough fuel in it to do a burnout. I'd like to practice a burnout. It's so much fun burning rubber. Hell, I don't care. I'll tell you it's a lot more fun handing that trophy over he's fixing to hand me -- that's what it's all about."
Does this emphasize that you're a contender in the title hunt? "Realistically, we're still in the thing. We've just got to keep doing what we're doing. Charlotte was a huge setback, but what a great way to bounce back and get pointed in the right direction. Going home next week -- that's going to be a lot of fun. Who knows what's going to hold with Kansas. The repave and everything, I think it's going to be maybe another wild card race for all of us in the Chase."
How special is it to win at Charlotte? "You know, first and foremost, this is my worst race track. To be able to come here and compete and have cars capable of qualifying in the top-five and racing up front, I mean, that's -- man, I'm telling you that means a lot to me. I think it speaks volumes to our team, Brian Pattie (crew chief), everybody that he's assembled around me from the get-go. It's truly -- it makes you almost giddy. It's so much fun to come to the race track knowing you've got cars that are capable of getting the job done, you've just got to figure out how to make it work. Who would have thought in a million years after making this switch and coming over to a new family and everything that was new that we would be in victory lane three times and still -- how many races, five races left?
MICHAEL WALTRIP: "The thing that's the most special to me about the win tonight is we have 160 people that work right up the road from here, and they spend so much time caressing and working on these cars and tuning them and getting them ready to go to the track and this was their home race. They got to come watch our car drive to victory lane. Very thankful for the fact that we were able to get to victory lane and our people are able to celebrate the victory. I think a significant part of this victory, and I want to just echo Clint's (Bowyer) sentiments, not only did the Toyota engine run with as much power as we needed to win with, we got the fuel mileage we needed to win with, we had just enough gas to do one of the most amazing starts to a burnout I ever saw. It really went kind of downhill from there. But to have an engine under your hood that can perform like it did qualifying in the top-five with a new track record speed, have that kind of speed and then also have the economy that it takes to race to the checker and not have to pit late, I think a lot of people need to look at what our manufacturer has done for our organization. You know, Clint has won three races, and he hadn't been able to drive to victory lane yet because of getting there with just enough fuel. And that speaks volumes to what Toyota does. But then a guy like Brian Pattie (crew chief) has to sit on that box and make those calls that get that car just across the start-finish line."
CHASE STANDINGS (After 5 of 10 races)
1 Brad Keselowski 2214 Leader
2 Jimmie Johnson 2207 -7
3 Denny Hamlin 2199 -15
4 Clint Bowyer 2186 -28
5 Kasey Kahne 2179 -35
6 Greg Biffle 2171 -43
7 Martin Truex Jr. 2165 -49
8 Tony Stewart 2164 -50
9 Jeff Gordon 2164 -50
10 Kevin Harvick 2158 -56
11 Matt Kenseth 2147 -67
12 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2128 -86
View the Charlotte Recap Video on Michael Waltrip Racing
View photos from the race >