It’s All About the Points
CORNELIUS, N. C. – Six points.
That’s all that separates Clint Bowyer from 12th place and advancing to the second round of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Bowyer and his 5-hour ENERGY team at Michael Waltrip Racing are 15th in points entering Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway—the second of the 10-race Chase. Four of the 16 drivers will be eliminated after the third Chase race at Dover on Oct. 4.
A victory this weekend at New Hampshire or next week at Dover would automatically lock Bowyer into the next round. The Emporia, Kan. native owns a pole (2007) and two victories (2007,2010) at New Hampshire’s Magic Mile. He owns nine consecutive top-10 finishes on Dover’s mile oval.
The next two weeks will see the pressure turned up on Bowyer and nearly all of the Chase drivers as they battle to survive and advance the next two rounds then join three other drivers to battle for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22
What does it take to get around New Hampshire?
“New Hampshire is actually a little tricky. I’ve had some success there in the past but it can be tough to get a handle on. You have to roll the center and then be able to put the throttle down. May sound pretty basic but it’s actually pretty tough to do. You get the thing rolling the middle good and you get yourself loose off. Then you try to tighten it up and now you can’t get off the corner to where you can pass anyone.”
What would it mean to win Toyota’s first championship?
“Yeah, I mean, Toyota is – you know the neat thing about sponsors, the relationships, the actual people behind those products and that brand are what make that brand. And I’m telling you there’s so many good people that work for Toyota and represent that brand, whether it’s me driving on the weekends or me selling those cars at my dealership, they’re good people. They’re fun people. They’re energetic. They work hard. They’re successful and they just get it and they need a championship and they’ll get it.”
Do you feel like you have pressure to perform in the Chase?
“We’re racing for jobs – all of us, all these people. That’s the cool thing about this it’s all blue skies from here and I don’t mean that as we’re going to be the first ones out. I don’t believe that. I think I can outrun a few of these guys. This is new hope, new life, rejuvenation for everybody – all of us at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and, by the way, how can you possibly build your resume any better than performing at the absolutely most pressure that you could ever have with all of this. That’s a strong attribute to all of us if we can accomplish this and go around and have success in the Chase. We’ll all be just fine.”
2015 CHASE STANDINGS
(After Race 1 of 10 races)
1 Denny Hamlin 2050
2 Matt Kenseth 2052
3 Carl Edwards 2049
4 Kyle Busch 2049
5 Kurt Busch 2048
6 Joey Logano 2048
7 Jimmie Johnson 2045
8 Ryan Newman 2040
9 Brad Keselowski 2039
10 Dale Earnhardt Jr 2038
11 Martin Truex 2035
12 Jeff Gordon 2031
13 Jamie McMurray 2028
14 Paul Menard 2027
15 Clint Bowyer 2025
16 Kevin Harvick 2009
NO. 15 CREW ROSTER
Front Tire Changer
Front Tire Carrier
Rear Tire Changer
Rear Tire Carrier
NEW HAMPSHIRE STATS
· Two wins (September 2010 and 2007)
· One pole (September 2007)
· Four top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 19 starts
· Completed 5,664 of 5,679 laps (99.7%) and led 516 laps
· Average start 13.3 and average finish 15.5
· One DNF (Did Not Finish) – April 2014
How the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Works
The 16 eligible drivers will compete in races at Chicago, New Hampshire and Dover for 12 spots available in the next round. A win at any of the three races advances the winning driver into the next round. The rest of the field of 12 will be determined by order of total points scored after the three races. Each advancing driver will be reset to 3,000 points, no bonus points for wins.
The 12 drivers who advance from the Challenger round will compete at Charlotte, Kansas and Talladega for eight spots available in the next round, with the same rules for advancing as in the Challenger round. Each advancing driver will be reset to 4,000 points, no bonus points for wins.
Eight drivers advance to races at Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix and compete for four spots in the final round. The same rules will be used for advancing as in previous rounds. Points for the four drivers going for the championship are reset to 5,000, no bonus points for wins.
The Chase championship will be decided by the driver with the best finish among the top four at Homestead.