No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer races at Texas Motor Speedway in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Bowyer finished second last spring and owns three consecutive top-10 finishes at the 1.5- mile track near Fort Worth.
Bowyer is ninth in points with three top-10 finishes in the last four starts. Michael Waltrip Racing’s three Sprint Cup cars are all in the top-10 in owner points. The Emporia, Kan. native credits his crew chief Brian Pattie with much of the No. 15 team’s early success. Both Bowyer and Pattie joined MWR in 2012.
ON TEXAS: “It always seems like there are 1.5-mile racetracks that I run well at, and for some reason there are some others that I struggle at. Texas has always been one that I’m comfortable at. I’ve always been able to find speed right off the bat. And I’ve always raced well there too – I’ve always been good on a long run and that’s what it takes to be good at those 1.5 miles. It’s a fun racetrack. I enjoy going to Texas. It’s one of the ones that always sticks out on the schedule that I can’t wait to get back to – and I want to win at! You know that’s a cool place to win. There are a lot of neat things around the trophies. Everything that they have is pretty unique in our sport. Those are the things that really stand out in your mind as tracks you want to win at.”
ARE YOU SURPRISED AT THE PROGRESS SO FAR? “Am I surprised? No. Proud? Yes. I’m very proud of everybody’s hard work. It sure makes you feel so much better about making the change and the decision that you’ve made and all the naysayers – people that looked at you and thought, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ It sure makes you feel a lot better about that. We’re just beginning. I think that the race team and the 5-hour ENERGY car couldn’t be happier with the progress that Brian Pattie has made with our race team. That was a team that he assembled around me. The whole organization has been a breath of fresh air and a lot of fun so far.”
IS IT HARD TO CHANGE TEAMS? “It’s pretty easy when things are going well. I’ve been around racing my whole life, and I’m smart enough to realize that this is an exception – this is not the way it’s supposed to be. But, I also saw a wave building at MWR at the end of last year with the way that Martin Truex Jr. ran – I saw potential. Out of all the organizations, all the teams that I went to, talked to – this is the one that all the doors always opened back up to. They all led to MWR. I just saw a lot of upside and potential. A lot of moving pieces that if they came together correctly they could really be good. I think that’s what happened.”
ON BRIAN PATTIE: “I think we’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. Every week I see things that are still weaknesses and things that we have to improve on. That’s the thing that really makes me excited. We are good now – but if we can improve just a little bit more we are going to be just that much further ahead. We’ve run in the top-five almost every week that I can think of. We haven’t led races and led laps, so we’ve got to get better at that. Obviously that’ll come with time. But in a short amount of time we’ve come a long ways. I’m very proud of that. I’m even more excited about the upside of that and seeing the improvements and the room to improve that we still have ahead of us.”