So not many people are talking about Clint Bowyer as a serious title contender, and to be honest they haven't been all chase. But the Kansas native is one of four drivers still anging around with three races left in the season.
“Let’s be honest – I don’t think at the start of the season that anyone thought that we’d be sitting where we are today," said Bowyer's crew chief Brian Pattie. "Hopefully if it works out we’ll win the championship. If it doesn’t we are going to take some positives into next year and try to polish the edges that weren’t so polished this year and make it right for next year.”
And it is amazing really, this is a brand new team, lead by cast aways from other teams and here they are, mixing it up with the big boys.
"All of us came together for the very first time December 7, 2011," said Pattie. "We went to test at Disney. It was just a shakedown test. That was the first time that I even got to see Clint with his helmet on and actually talk to him. I mean we were friends and talked in the garage area at the track, but this was the first time we got to actually work together. I told the guys coming back from Martinsville the other night – if you would have told us as we were sitting at dinner one of the nights at Disney that we’d be sitting third in points within shouting distance of the lead with three races to go – what would you have said? I really wasn’t looking at that."
The 15 team is within shouting distance thanks to another strong run at Martinsville, where they were fifth.
NASCAR moves on to Texas this week, and normally Bowyer is not all that strong at intermediate tracks. But he already has a win at Charlotte and at sixth at Kansas.
“I got the Charlotte winner going to Texas," said Pattie. “All I can do is worry about running well and putting ourselves in position to win races every week."
Texas is not a bad track for Bowyer. He has an average finish of 13th there, with three top fives and seven top tens. If the 15 can keep its steady pace, then the team has a chance."Winning a championship in the Cup Series is tough to do and we’re finding that out the hard way by running good and not making up spots," said Pattie. "We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’ve had a phenomenal summer and fall. The last 20 races or so have been pretty good. We’ll just keep plugging away and hopefully they’ll mess up and we are there to capitalize.”