Bowyer begins the Chase this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway where he’ll pilot the No. 15 PEAK Antifreeze and Coolant Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing. In nine career races at the 1.5-mile oval in Joliet, Ill., Bowyer owns seven top-10 finishes.
All 16 Chase drivers know the importance of starting well at Chicagoland as well as the following races at New Hampshire and Dover. Four drivers will be eliminated from contention after every three races in the 10-race Chase with the remaining drivers battling for the title at the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bowyer has a busy schedule before the Chicagoland race. The Emporia, Kan. native visited Texas Motor Speedway on Tuesday for media events then returned to his home state Wednesday for a one-day test at Kansas Speedway. After the test Bowyer and the Chase drivers will join in Chase kickoff events Thursday in downtown Chicago.
How does it feel to qualify for the Chase?
“Just super proud and excited for everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing). My crew, Billy (Scott, crew chief) came onboard and really catapulted us. Everybody on this 5-hour ENERGY, all of these crew guys, we dug in deep through these summer months and somehow got back into the swing of things, of this Chase talk and for that I’m forever grateful to these guys. They could have gave up, all the news and all of the stories. Brian Pattie (No. 55 crew chief), David Ragan and all of the guys – it really has been a lot of fun. It’s a great culture and it ain’t over man. The pressure is off. Hell, let’s go have fun in this Chase and see what happens.”
What is your outlook for Chicago?
“I really like the track. You can run bottom to top there and that’s good when you can widen out like that at a track. It’s a big race because we have Peak on board this weekend and it’s their backyard. And it’s the first race of the Chase so the pressure cooker heats back up. Last weekend, it was making sure we were in this thing. Now it’s time to make sure we stay in this thing so we can compete for a championship.”