The last time Kansas native Clint Bowyer was in Richmond, does not bring back good memories. The 15 spun. It helped his teammate get in the chase, but days later Martin Truex, Jr. was ripped out. The Michael Waltrip racing loses sponsorship and ultimately contracts from three teams to two. Bowyer admits, it was rough for a while.
“The fan base, Twitter and things like that -- I took a beating for a while, but we weathered that storm,” said Bowyer. “It’s behind us and it’s a lot of fun to interact with those fans whether it’s good or bad. It’s all positive interaction as far as I’m concerned because they are talking about our sport.”
Bowyer knows that people are still talking about ‘spin-gate’ as the series returns to the so called scene of the crime for the first time since it happened. And he feels like his fan base is as strong as ever.
“I think so,” said Bowyer. “Everybody knows me, I love to have fun in this sport, I appreciate the sport and try to give back every chance I get.”
This weekend at Richmond could mark a fresh start for Bowyer. With qualifying on Friday rained out, the 15 car will have its best starting spot of the year, third. This is also one of the Emporia native’s best tracks on the circuit. He has two career wins and an average finish of 10th on the Virginia short track.
“Looking back over the years you always have a track that fits your driving style and you’re confidence level is more for some reason and this has always been the case for me,” said Bowyer. “We’ve run well in the Nationwide Series here, always run well in the Cup Series and I’m always excited to get here.”
This week also marked a new beginning for Bowyer personally, who married his longtime girlfriend Lori over the off week.
“We did have us a good honeymoon -- had a big bonfire at the house the other night. I was burning some brush and I look over and I was like, ‘How’s your honeymoon honey? Pretty good, huh?’ We had so much fun. “
The perfect wedding gift would be another Richmond trophy and a spot in the Chase for the Championship. He will chase the pole sitter, 21-year-old Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski to the flag in Saturday night’s race. The field was set by practice times because of the rain.
If Bowyer could get to victory lane, it would put the bad taste of last year and the bad luck to start this season in the rear view mirror.
“You keep knocking on the door, you’re going to bust it open and we’ll get our win -- I really do believe that we’re capable of doing that. Our organization -- our cars are running fast and our model has always been consistency and it’s strange when you’re not a part of that consistency right now,” said Bowyer. “Everybody sees that in this sport. You’ll get that shaken off and get things smoothed out and we’ll get our win.”