No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota
Dover International Speedway
CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer has the makings to be one of the coolest school teachers ever, but it appears he’d probably be pretty tough handing out grades. He gives himself and his Michael Waltrip Racing team only a B+ for its 2013 season so far despite sitting fourth in the point standings — eight spots higher with more laps led, top-fives and top-10s than at the same point last year. While he might not celebrate an A grade for the season, he’ll likely blow out some candles Thursday in celebration of his 34th birthday.
ON THE SEASON SO FAR: “I’d give the 5-hour ENERGY team, myself included, a B+ so far. I think to give yourself an A you need to win races and we haven’t been able to do that yet. Certainly in the points with all the things that have happened – we crashed out a couple races, like Talladega – we blew up at California. I mean, there’s been some setback and through all that we’re still good in points, so we’re happy so far.”
MONTH OF MAY: “The month of May has been tough on me historically and we got through it half-way decent. We didn’t have the finishes we wanted, but we didn’t have terrible finishes and that goes a long way towards moving forward to the summer months and not having to look over your back. Now we can continue to hone in and work on speed and racing for wins.”
DOVER: “At Dover you just have to race hard. That’s not a track that you can let your guard down at all. You have to be up on the wheel every lap and you have to have to whole package. You can’t be off in any way, shape or form in any area or you’re in trouble.”
BRIAN PATTIE ON MONTH OF MAY: “We had good speed in the month of May. That month is historically a challenge for Clint, so we were pretty happy that we had a top-10 car at Darlington, obviously we had a good car at Talladega and it didn’t work out as we planned there – and we finished top-10 at Charlotte. That’s decent. We’re ahead of where we were last year by quite a bit and that’s the goal. The end result is the same as last year. We have to make the Chase and continue to pay attention to 11th, so that hopefully we lock in before Richmond.”
DOVER: “Clint is fast at Dover. That’s one of his better tracks. June is full of tracks that he’s pretty good at and he likes a lot, so we have to capitalize on that. He had two solid races at Dover last year and we just need to find a tic more speed and execute throughout the event and I’m sure we’ll run really well.”
ADDITIONAL NOTES OF INTEREST
· MEDIA AVAILABILITY: Bowyer will host an open media availability at the back of the No. 15 Cup hauler on Friday at 10:15 a.m.
· BIRTHDAY BOY: Bowyer celebrates his 34th birthday on Thursday, May 30.
· BOWYER IN DOVER: Bowyer will make his 15th start at Dover on Sunday. In 14 previous attempts Bowyer has one top-five (spring 2012) and seven top-10s. He has led 34 laps. On average he starts 18th and finishes 13th. Current streak: four consecutive top-10 finishes, including a top-five last June.
· 2013 vs. 2012: Through 12 races of 2013, Bowyer is ranked eight spots higher (2013 – fourth; 2012 – 12th), has 19 more points (2013 – 385 points; 2012 – 366 points), three more top-five finishes (2013 – four; 2012 – one), one more top-10 (2013 – six; 2012 – five), he has led 109 more laps (2013 – 114 laps; 2012 – five laps).
· 5-hour ENERGY Open Track Session: Bowyer and team owner Michael Waltrip are participating in a question and answer session on the pre-race stage at the start/finish line on Saturday at 9 a.m. The event is free to ticket holder for the 5-hour ENERGY 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.