Good news and bad news for Clint Bowyer this week. The bad news is his streak of top tens came to an end at Atlanta when an electrical problem relegated him to a 27th place finish. But the good news is, Bowyer is looked into the Chase for the Championship.
"This is the first time I've been in a situation where we are locked in before we get to Richmond and we can race like we have absolutely nothing to lose - and everything to gain in terms of bonus points when the system resets after the race," said Bowyer.
Making the chase is a remarkable achievement for Bowyer in his first season at Michael Waltrip Racing. MWR had never had a team in the chase before (this year they have two as teammate Martin Truex, Jr is also locked in). And at this time a year ago, this team didn't even exist.
"There were so many unknowns coming into this season with this team, but to be able to land on our feet with a great organization like MWR, a great sponsor like 5-hour ENERGY and great teammates in Mark Martin and Martin Truex Jr. - I really couldn't have asked for a better situation," said Bowyer. "(Crew chief) Brian Pattie and everyone on our 5-hour ENERGY Toyota is just hitting on all eight cylinders at the right time and I'm looking forward to this Chase."
First things first, and up this week before the chase starts, it the regular season finale, as it were, at Richmond. This is a good track for Bowyer, who has a win, a top five and seven top tens, with an average finish of 10th in 13 previous races.
"I think it's more important for us to go to Richmond and try to win to get those extra bonus points," said Bowyer. "We've really been focusing on finishing in the single digits over the last couple weeks to secure our spot in this deal. Wins are very important, but you can't gamble for a win if you aren't locked in. We're locked in now and if we have even an outside shot at a win in Richmond I'm going to do everything in my power to get those bonus points. As we saw last year - every single point counts!"
The Backstretch Blog: Bowyer on the Backstretch
Bowyer on the Backstretch (August 15, 2012)