Everyone knows Clint Bowyer’s love of racing. Whether it’s racing motorbikes in his youth, competing 15-plus years in NASCAR, or spending his free time these days watching his Dirt Late Model teams race across the country, his love for motorsports is well documented.
There’s another aspect of his life that might not be as well known but certainly evident after spending even a few minutes with Bowyer family at the track or on its 650-acre farm in Mocksville, North Carolina, where vintage cars, trucks, racecars, dogs, cows, eagles, pigs, donkeys and goats are intermixed.
Yes, Bowyer is an animal lover.
“We’ve always had animals around ever since we were kids, so it’s something that’s always been part of me,” he said. “Heck, these days Lorra and I travel with two kids and two dogs each weekend to the racetrack. Between all the kids’ toys and the dogs, our motorhome looks like the Clampetts (of the television series Beverly Hillbillies) live there.”
He’ll get to combine that love of animals with his racing this weekend when he drives the One Cure Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
One Cure is a project led by the Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University. The One Cure program is founded on the principle that cancer affects all creatures and that treatment breakthroughs come through collaboration between scientists and doctors working with people and animals. This approach is known as comparative oncology and it is the guiding concept of One Cure and the Flint Animal Cancer Center at CSU. The center works to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets, and teams with the human medical field to translate research findings that will help people with cancer.
The center, located in Colorado State’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital, sees more than 1,500 new animal cancer patients every year, with approximately 130 patients enrolling in carefully monitored clinical trials specific to their cancer type. The canine and feline patients are helping pioneer cancer research, moving cutting-edge treatments out of the laboratory and into clinical practice, ultimately providing hope for the next generation of animal and human cancer patients.
“We lost a great guy on our dirt team to cancer earlier this month and there have been a few folks we’ve lost in NASCAR recently to cancer,” Bowyer said. “Cancer sucks. But I’ve learned about cancer through One Cure and there’s hope through studying animals. They told me one in three people, one in four dogs, and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetime and it’s a leading cause of death for all of us.”
Bowyer said there are few things in life more important than seeking a cure for cancer.
“Dogs are the best subjects to study cancer because they get cancer naturally, just like people,” he said. “Plus, they live in the same places, breathe the same air, drink the same water – even sometimes eat the same foods. I’ve learned through the One Cure folks that dogs share 85 percent of our genetic makeup. If you can cure cancer in a dog, then you have a good shot at doing the same things for humans.”
Bowyer hopes race fans will visit www.OneCure.com, where they can learn about the research and offer financial support.
He hopes he can create even more attention for One Cure Sunday at the fast 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval. It marks his 15th start at Las Vegas, where he earned a second-place finish in 2009, plus three other top-10 finishes. He’s riding momentum into Las Vegas after leading every practice session, qualifying third and finishing fifth at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend. That finish, combined with Bowyer’s 20th-place run in the season-opening Daytona 500, put him ninth-place in the standings after two races.
“It’s been a lot of fun to run so well at Daytona and Atlanta,” he said. “Let’s keep it that way in Las Vegas.”