In his first 13 starts at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer only posted three top-10s as the majority of his finishes fell in the 20s or 30s. However, then October 2012 happened, and since then, things have changed. Since then, Bowyer’s worst finish is 13th.
“I don’t know why since that victory it gave us a boost of confidence and we’ve seemed to run a lot better,” Bowyer commented. “This was a terrible track for me — I hated this place. I’m pretty fond of it anymore and my car is pretty fast today. It was fast last weekend as well. I’m looking forward to the 600 — long race and a lot of things have to go right for a long time. There is no way of getting around that. Nonetheless, pretty sporty so far.”
While he has grown to become fond of the racetrack, the 600-mile mark isn’t something that pleases Bowyer as he says there’s no reason for a race to be this long.
“It’s a selling feature to have something longer than the rest — the biggest, baddest, longest race of the year — the most grueling,” Bowyer commented. “I understand the catch of having one race a year be drastically longer than the others, but that 400-mile race seems to be on these mile-and-a-half tracks a good number.”
Regardless, it’s a magic number that the teams have to work with and Bowyer did a good job last year as he finished eighth. The secret to success? Easy – work on your car throughout practice and make sure that it has a good balance.
“Not one way or another, just a good, solid balance and making decent grip in my race car and if you do that it will be good at night too,” Bowyer explained. “Certainly, we see it every year — teams that really take off during the day and struggle at night and vice versa. It’s definitely real — something that you have to be conscious of and make sure that you’re keeping up with the race track. If you’re really good during the daytime, you better be looking over your shoulder and be anticipating a challenge ahead.”
Bowyer was right under the lights at the Sprint Showdown as he won the event to qualify into the All-Star race. Bowyer says the key to success with his team as they got the car working right due to good communication.
“Communication is so important and you can’t underestimate that,” Bowyer commented. “You can get lackadaisical — especially with our team so when you’ve been together for awhile and you have a lot of fun and it was time to pull the reins back and make sure that we’re taking care of business. Last week we were fast in practice and backed up in that qualifying race, backed up to the All-Star Race and we were definitely a lot better than we’ve been all the way through the day.”
If Bowyer can once again follow the same keys, look for the No. 15 Toyota to be fast on Sunday night and perhaps find more success at Charlotte.