Nobody in NASCAR is counting on the power of home cooking more than No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver Clint Bowyer this weekend when the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series races Sunday at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City.
Bowyer is a native of Emporia Kansas, a town of 25,000 people about 110 miles from Kansas Speedway. He rightly calls the 1.5-mile oval his home track.
“Obviously, you want to win the Daytona 500, a championship, things like that, but winning at your home track is right up there,” said Bowyer, who owns two top-five finishes and six top-10s in 20 starts at Kansas.
“It’s always fun to go home. It’s always busy to go home. Going back to Kansas Speedway, you have so many people who have made a difference and got you to where you are, you owe it to them, just like you did when they were helping you on that racecar, to go see them. To see how they’re doing, see their kids now. Things have changed a lot since I’ve moved away and moved to North Carolina and got into this Cup racing. But, to be able to go back and see family, friends, peers, people I used to race with, businesses that used to sponsor you, it’s important to me to go back and see all of those.”
Bowyer will debut a new primary sponsor at SHR when he drives the No. 14 DEKALB Ford Fusion onto the Kansas track. DEKALB announced its partnership with Bowyer and SHR in August at the annual Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa inside its “Fuel Your Yield” tent. DEKALB will serve as primary sponsor for Bowyer and the No. 14 team this weekend with the brand serving as an associate partner at all other races. DEKALB has been helping farmers ensure a future of performance with industry-leading corn seed products for more than 100 years. And while driving a purpose-built racecar that puts out more than 850 horsepower is his day job, Bowyer is also a farmer in North Carolina.
“I grew up in farm country and saw firsthand the hard work that goes into growing crops and taking care of livestock,” said Bowyer, who literally began his racing career on Kansas dirt by racing motocross and then Late Models at Lakeside and I-70 Speedways in Kansas City. “Farming takes time, energy and incredible attention to detail. DEKALB understands all of that, and they know what farmers need to take care of their crops. It really is an honor to represent DEKALB and spend time with their customers.”
Bowyer’s heart is still in Emporia, where he’s a big part of the community. In March 2013, he bought the Clint Bowyer Autoplex car dealership on U.S. Highway 50, where he once worked as a lot attendant, dent specialist and detailer. Across the street sits the Clint Bowyer Community Building, constructed in 2012 thanks to a $1.5 million donation from his foundation. Inside are 25 computers at the public library. There is a scoreboard at the aquatic center, a video camera at the auditorium, shoes for the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program, backpacks for kids, Christmas trees for needy families. And, in nearby towns, playground equipment and the reconstruction of a tornado-ravaged community center – all of it and more paid for by Bowyer’s foundation, or out of the driver’s own pocket.
Emporia appreciates its native son, having renamed the street on which the family towing business resides as “Hon. Clint Bowyer Boulevard.”
Bowyer needs a good run in Kansas much like he did at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last weekend when he finished second in the first two stages and the race. The performance put Bowyer 21 points ahead of the ninth and final cutoff position for those drivers advancing out of the Round of 12 that ends at Kansas. SHR teammate Aric Almirola’s victory at Talladega marked the 56th overall win for SHR. It was the organization’s milestone 50th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its first victory at Talladega. All four SHR drivers – Bowyer, Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch – have won races in 2018.
“We had a great weekend as a team and company in Talladega,” Bowyer said. “Now, we’d like to do the same in Kansas.”