No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer gets his first chance to drive NASCAR’s new Gen-6 Toyota on a mile oval this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Bowyer said racing the new car on the flat Phoenix track will be far different than racing on Daytona’s high banks where he finished 11th in Sunday’s Daytona 500.
After Phoenix the Sprint Cup Series will race at the 1.5-mile Las Vegas track, the half-mile track at Bristol and the 2-mile high speed oval at Auto Club Speedway in California. All provide unique challenges to the drivers and teams seeking advantages with the new car.
ON PHOENIX: “Now the racing really begins. In the next couple weeks you are really going to see who the strong teams are that are going to be competing for a championship all season long. Daytona is its own deal - its own type of racing. Now as we move on to Phoenix and Vegas you are going to see who has figured out this new car and who still has some work to do. That’s the beauty of the start of the NASCAR schedule - we visit virtually every type of racetrack in the first six weeks - Superspeedways, short tracks, 1.5 and two-mile tracks - it’s all there. I’m excited to see where we are compared to the other teams. I think we’re in a pretty good spot.
“Last season we left Daytona in the exact same position as we did this year - with an 11th place finish. Then we got to Phoenix and we cut down two tires in the first 30 laps and that put us behind for the rest of the afternoon and put us in a little bit of a whole to start the year. If we can have a solid race in Phoenix I think we’ll be in a great position to start the season.”