Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) driver, Clint Bowyer is smiling and upbeat heading into the Aarons 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. Many drivers look past Talladega and hope to just make it through unscathed. The track has been long considered a “wildcard”, due to the unpredictable nature of the racing here.
Talladega is one of only two tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule that utilizes restrictor plates, the other being Daytona. The restrictor plates lead to pack style racing that many drivers do not really care for. The pack racing usually leads to the “big one”, a massive crash that takes out many cars and plays no favorites in the process. There are many different strategies used at the 2.66 mile track. Some drivers try to get to the front and stay there so the big one will be behind them. Others fade to the rear in an attempt to see the big one before they get to it and get involved.
Maybe the best strategy is to treat it as any other race and stay positive. That seems to be Bowyer’s plan. As he spoke to reporters on Friday, Bowyer seemed happy as he joked with media members. Asked about the importance of attitude at Talladega, Bowyer replied, “Absolutely. There’s a lot of guys that come to this track worried, nervous and not scared that they’re going to get hurt I don’t think. It’s scared they’re going to lose points, they’re going to get caught up in a crash and it’s going to cost them and take a month to overcome a bad race.”
Bowyer has been successful at Talladega in the past. In 14 starts he has two wins, four top fives and seven top tens. He finished a strong fifth place in the spring race last year and has an average finish of eighth in the last four races. His MWR teammate Martin Truex crashed out of the spring race in 2012, but finished a respectable 13th in the fall race. Truex has also ran well this season, currently sitting 15th in points with three top ten finishes.
Bowyer’s positive attitude coupled with strong performance this season from MWR creates a recipe that could lead to a successful “wildcard” weekend in the MWR No.15 Peak Toyota Camry.