No. 14 Haas Automation VF-1 Ford Fusion driver Clint Bowyer grew up in rural Kansas, but when he walks into the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon this weekend he’ll feel like he’s arrived at his second home.
That’s because few places have shown Bowyer the hospitality like the “Magic Mile’” has over his 14-year Monster Energy Cup Series career.
Two of Bowyer’s 10 career victories and one of his two poles have come on the flat track including his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in 2007.
Bowyer calls the New Hampshire track “a big Martinsville.” That’s an affectionate term considering Bowyer led 215 laps and won the race in March - the last time the Cup Series raced in Martinsville.
“I love New Hampshire,” said Bowyer. “That place just fits my driving style. We don’t get up to that part of the country a lot so it’s good to see the race fans there. They have so many tracks and they love their racing from modified to late models to our stuff. The support races they put on at New Hampshire are some of the best of the year. Man do they like to party there!”
A look at his record makes it easy to understand why Bowyer likes racing in the Granite State.
At the 2007 September race, Bowyer earned his second career pole on Friday, then led 222 of 300 laps Sunday to win the first Cup Series race of his career. Attrition played no role in the victory as, for the first time in the sport’s modern era, the entire 43-car field finished the race.
Fast-forward to September 2010, when Bowyer started second and led the most laps before fading back. A series of caution periods put him behind now-boss Tony Stewart over the closing laps. With both drivers trying to nurse their sputtering fuel tanks to the finish, Bowyer found himself in position to pounce when Stewart’s tank ran dry a lap from the checkered flag.
It was Bowyer’s turn to run out of gas with two laps remaining in the Sept. 25, 2011 race at New Hampshire giving the victory to – you guessed it – Tony Stewart.
“We still laugh about running out of gas and giving each other the victories,” said Bowyer.
“Whether its fuel mileage or those late restarts where everyone starts beating and banging. It seems like there is always an interesting finish there.”
Bowyer has made quite the impression on New Hampshire as well.
Then Gov. Maggie Hassan declared Sept. 5, 2013 “Rockin’ with Clint Day” in New Hampshire. Bowyer took her for a burnout, used a 250-foot crane to dig up a personalized, 7,500-pound rock at a local quarry, and took part in a rock-climbing race.
“There aren’t many states where I’ve gotten to do burnouts with the governor,” laughed Bowyer.
Bowyer hopes history will repeat itself and he chalks up a third victory this weekend when the Cup Series visits New Hampshire for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. He arrives in New Hampshire after a 12th-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Bowyer started eighth and ran in the top-10 until late in the race when tight handling conditions hindered his bid for victory.
The 2018 season has been a year of resurgence for Bowyer and the No.14 Haas Automation VF-1 team led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz. The combination has posted two victories, six top-fives and 10 top-10s while climbing to sixth in the Cup Series point standings. There’s no better or likely place for Bowyer to add to those numbers than New Hampshire this weekend.