That’s all that separates Clint Bowyer from 12th place and advancing to the second round of the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Bowyer and his 5-hour ENERGY team at Michael Waltrip Racing are 15th in points entering Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway—the second of the 10-race Chase. Four of the 16 drivers will be eliminated after the third Chase race at Dover on Oct. 4.
A victory this weekend at New Hampshire or next week at Dover would automatically lock Bowyer into the next round. The Emporia, Kan. native owns a pole (2007) and two victories (2007,2010) at New Hampshire’s Magic Mile. He owns nine consecutive top-10 finishes on Dover’s mile oval.
The next two weeks will see the pressure turned up on Bowyer and nearly all of the Chase drivers as they battle to survive and advance the next two rounds then join three other drivers to battle for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 22
What does it take to get around New Hampshire?
“New Hampshire is actually a little tricky. I’ve had some success there in the past but it can be tough to get a handle on. You have to roll the center and then be able to put the throttle down. May sound pretty basic but it’s actually pretty tough to do. You get the thing rolling the middle good and you get yourself loose off. Then you try to tighten it up and now you can’t get off the corner to where you can pass anyone.”
What would it mean to win Toyota’s first championship?
“Yeah, I mean, Toyota is – you know the neat thing about sponsors, the relationships, the actual people behind those products and that brand are what make that brand. And I’m telling you there’s so many good people that work for Toyota and represent that brand, whether it’s me driving on the weekends or me selling those cars at my dealership, they’re good people. They’re fun people. They’re energetic. They work hard. They’re successful and they just get it and they need a championship and they’ll get it.”
Do you feel like you have pressure to perform in the Chase?“We’re racing for jobs – all of us, all these people. That’s the cool thing about this it’s all blue skies from here and I don’t mean that as we’re going to be the first ones out. I don’t believe that. I think I can outrun a few of these guys. This is new hope, new life, rejuvenation for everybody – all of us at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and, by the way, how can you possibly build your resume any better than performing at the absolutely most pressure that you could ever have with all of this. That’s a strong attribute to all of us if we can accomplish this and go around and have success in the Chase. We’ll all be just fine.”