Clint Bowyer debuted in NASCAR in 2004 with Richard Childress Racing. He drove for him and Kevin Harvick Incorporated that season in what was then called the NASCAR Busch Series. He raced with Chevrolet power. In 2005, he was full-time with RCR and by 2006, he was up to Cup action. He’d remain with them all the way through the 2011 season. All eight years, he drove with Chevy’s backing.
Then, came the switch to Michael Waltrip Racing. In that, came a switch from Chevy to Toyota power. His first two years were stellar, finishing second and seventh respectively in the final standings. The final two years were seasons to forget coming in 19th and 16th respectively. Then, last year, he signed a one-year deal with HScott Motorsports in their No. 15 Chevy to bide his time before moving over to Stewart-Haas Racing to replace Tony Stewart in 2017.
But, one major change occurred first, SHR switched from Chevy, whom Bowyer had nine years experience with, to Ford, whom Bowyer had never driven with. It was all new to SHR as well as Bowyer. How well would he adapt to this after three straight frustrating seasons?
So far, the transition has been smooth. He was very quick at Daytona and if not for a crash that left him with a 32nd place finish, he would have nabbed a top 10 finish in the season opener. He had that good of a car. The last two races, he’s finished 11th and 10th respectively.
Now, he heads to Phoenix, a track where he’s finished in the top five twice to go along with six top 10’s over the course of his career. This time though, it’s going to be much different than the past trips to the one-mile PIR oval.
“I’m going there with a new team in Stewart-Haas Racing and a new manufacturer in Ford, so going to Phoenix will be like a whole new world for me,” said Bowyer ahead of this weekend’s Camping World 500. “Right now, we are really just trying to figure out these Fords, figure out my guys, and get that communication down that everyone knows is so important. I’m looking forward to the challenge of Phoenix.”
Bowyer, is really hoping he can lean on fellow SHR driver Kevin Harvick to refigure this place out quickly.
“My teammate (Kevin Harvick) is really good out there – five victories (in the last seven races) – so I’ll be leaning on him. He represented SHR at the Phoenix test in February, so hopefully with what he learned all of us will be good when we go back there this weekend.”
Phoenix, ranks up there as one of Bowyer’s favorite race tracks. It’s the place where he made his Cup debut and will always hold a special place for him because of that.
“It’s always fun to go to Phoenix. It’s a cool racetrack, one of my favorites,” Bowyer continued. “It was my first racetrack where I made a start in the NASCAR Cup Series. I started with Richard Childress Racing and Bill McAnally, so it is always special to go back there. I think the new downforce package is going to be exciting. Obviously, since the repave, that place is pretty slick and the tires are hot, so I think it is going to be pretty good.”