This week marks the 65th anniversary of the first ever Sprint Cup series race. On June 19, 1949 Jim Roper of Halstread, Kansas won that race in the then “Strictly Stock” division. Wouldn’t it be nice if on that anniversary if another Kansas racer won? NASCAR is at Sonama this weekend, a track that has developed in a good one for Emporia native Clint Bowyer. He’s finished in the top five each of the past three seasons, including a win in 2012.
A win would be a much welcomed sight for Bowyer, who hasn’t won since the fall of ’12, especially under the new points system. The good news is, after a shaky start to the year, the #15 team is finally starting to run like a team on the verge of a victory.
“The good news is that here lately we’ve really kind of got our feet back underneath us and got some consistency back,” said Bowyer. “Really honed in on a ‘B’ right now. Got some room to improve, which is always good. More importantly, just like the direction that we’re headed. We finally got our feet underneath us and hit our stride. That’s good because we’re out of mulligan’s.”
One of the areas where Bowyer has struggled his entire career and continues to look to make strides this season is in qualifying. This week will be the first time the series will qualify under the new system at a road course.
“The only thing that I see that could be a potential issue at Sonoma is running your lap and having so much track to get back and trying to keep your car from overheating and trying to stay out of the way of somebody,” said Bowyer. “You could really screw somebody’s lap up trying to get back to the pit area after your lap. That’s going to be something after qualifying -- I’m sure somebody is going to be mad because of that situation. There’s runoff areas and stuff where you can get out of the way, but we’re not very smart and sometimes we get in the way.”