NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Richmond International Raceway Preview
CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer came within two laps of winning at Martinsville Speedway on April 1 – the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ only short track race run in 2012. The series visits another short track Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway where Bowyer should be one of the favorites. The Emporia, Kan. native owns top-six finishes in three of the last five races and top-five qualifying runs in the last three races. The 2008 Richmond race winner’s stellar inaugural season at Michael Waltrip Racing took a hit Sunday when mechanical issues forced an early exit and a 36th-place finish at Kansas Speedway.
CLINT BOWYER ON RICHMOND: “Richmond is one of my favorite racetracks. It’s one of those racetracks that we’ve always run well at – I’ve won in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series and it’s a track that I always look forward to going to. I love night races, but I don’t like the night schedules because there is nothing to do all day. I want to race and hate the waiting.”
GETTING PAST KANSAS: “There is nothing we can do about what happened at Kansas except move on. There’s nothing you can do about that. That’s racing. You go home and get ready for the next weekend and make sure that all they guys stay focused and pumped up. We just got to go back out there and get it back this weekend in Richmond. The good thing is Richmond is a good racetrack for me to bounce back.”
BRIAN PATTIE ON RICHMOND: “Richmond I’ve had circled on my calendar for a while – the same with Loudon and Martinsville. Clint has a great track record at those racetracks and MWR has a good short track program. Martinsville worked out quite well for 499 laps – hopefully this race we can do the same but keep it there at the end.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· Man of All Seasons: Bowyer threw out the ceremonial first pitch to MWR GM Ty Norris on April 20 at the Kansas City Royals game versus the Toronto Blue Jays. Bowyer and team owner Michael Waltrip attended the NCAA Basketball championship game between the Kansas Jayhawks and Kentucky Wildcats in New Orleans on April 2. Bowyer attended the NFL Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.
· Bowyer at Richmond: Bowyer will make his 13th career NSCS start at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday night. In 12 previous starts, he has one win and six top-10 finishes. In the spring 2008 race, Bowyer started 31st – his worst starting position ever at Richmond – and raced his way to the win. On average he starts 14th and finishes 11th. Bowyer has led five races for a total of 75 laps. Bowyer has won in both the Sprint Cup (spring 2008) and Nationwide Series (spring 2007).
· Chassis Notes: The No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will race chassis No. 712 at Richmond. Bowyer finished 30th with No. 712 in Phoenix after struggling with multiple cut tires early in the race. Chassis No. 718 will serve as the backup and previously served as backup at Phoenix and Bristol but never raced.
· When You Got To Get Stuff Done: 5-hour ENERGY announced on Friday, April 20 at Kansas Speedway an agreement with Michael Waltrip Racing to expand their sponsorship of the No. 15 Toyota and driver Clint Bowyer for an additional 12 races in 2012. Bowyer will now drive the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota in 35 of 36 point races and the upcoming Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.