Forgive No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang driver Clint Bowyer if he indulges in a little nostalgia before the start of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
The 40-year-old driver hopes he and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammates, as well as their Ford Performance partners, return to the form they exhibited during the 2018 season, when Bowyer won two races, SHR captured 13 victories and Ford Performance earned its 16th manufacturer’s championship by posting 19 wins.
Despite advancing to the Round of 8 in the NASCAR playoffs, Bowyer didn’t visit victory lane in 2019 while SHR posted four victories and Ford Performance added 10 races to its victory tally. Good, but not the success enjoyed in 2018.
“I hope we’ll better all those numbers in 2020,” said Bowyer, who begins his 15th fulltime season at the 62nd annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 16.
“We had a lot of good runs but we didn’t have a lot of great runs in 2019,” he continued. “We didn’t punch our ticket to get into victory lane and that’s what we are in this business to do. We had a lot to overcome between rule changes and everything else. It was a tough year for the Fords, especially coming off a spectacular, best year ever for the Fords in 2018. Hopefully 2020 will be back to like it was in 2018. Time will tell. You just have to keep perfecting the little things and control what you can control.”
Part of controlling what can be controlled is the new crew lineups Bowyer and teammate Aric Almirola bring to the 2020 season. Bowyer will work with crew chief Johnny Klausmeier and his crew while Mike Bugarewicz and his crew, who worked with Bowyer since the driver’s arrival at SHR in 2017, are now paired with Almirola at SHR’s No. 10 Ford.
Bowyer said the adjustments to new crew chiefs and road crew isn’t as dramatic as it might seem.
“I’ve worked with Johnny every week, no different than Aric has worked with Mike since he’s been at SHR,” Bowyer said. “We literally work alongside them in meetings at the racetrack all weekend, 38 times a year. Every Tuesday morning at the shop, you are sitting alongside them in meetings.”
While there will be new faces on the No. 14 in 2020, a majority of the car’s longtime corporate partners return to provide the paint schemes in the new year.
Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford begins the season carrying the Rush Truck Centers and Mobil 1 paint schemes at Daytona. Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner for the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived at SHR in 2017 and has been with the organization since 2010. With Bowyer’s background working in his dad’s towing service in Emporia Kansas, he understands the importance of keeping trucks up and running. That is why Rush is proud to partner with Bowyer and support the trucks that haul the race cars as well as customers across the country with its total service management package, RushCare Complete. This all-inclusive solution provides dedicated concierge service, vehicle telematics, mobile service, express routine maintenance, real-time service updates and a comprehensive source for all-makes parts.
Mobil 1 isn’t just the world’s leading synthetic motor oil brand, it also provides the entire SHR team with leading lubricant technology, ensuring that all SHR Mustangs have a competitive edge over the competition on the track. In its 17th consecutive season as the “Official Motor Oil of NASCAR,” Mobil 1 is used by more than 50 percent of teams throughout NASCAR’s top three series.
In addition to Rush Truck Centers, Mobil 1 and Haas Automation, PEAK colors will join Bowyer for several races in 2020 along with those of One Cure, DEKALB and others.
Las Vegas odds – 20:1 – already make Bowyer one of the 10 favorites to win the sport’s most prestigious race at Daytona. His Roush-Yates-powered Mustang, combined with Ford Performance expertise and ultrafast SHR pit crew should keep him at the front of all the events during 2020 Speedweeks.
Bowyer’s Speedweeks kicks off Sunday, when he drives the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang in the 75-lap Busch Clash. The field is limited to 2019 Busch Pole Award winners, past Busch Clash winners who competed full-time in 2019, former Daytona 500 champions who competed full-time in 2019, former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full-time in 2019, and 2019 NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers.
“All year long, you focus on points and the playoffs but you don’t even think about that in Daytona,” he said. “All you are thinking about when you are practicing, qualifying, running the Busch Clash is what are you going to learn or what are you going to do to win the Daytona 500. That’s the ‘Granddaddy of Them All’ and the one race each of us wants to win. As those laps wind down and that trophy gets closer and closer, winning is the only thing that matters. We’ll worry about points at the next races.”
It’s been a busy and successful offseason for Bowyer.
FOX NASCAR announced Bowyer will expand his on-air contributions in 2020, adding more Xfinity Series races to his schedule in the television booth. He’ll also appear on the network’s Race Day and Race Hub programs throughout the season. In January, Bowyer watched his Kansas City Chiefs win in the NFL playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium in Missouri and, on Feb. 2, he attended the Super Bowl in Miami, where the Chiefs won their first title in 50 years.
Bowyer hopes that football success translates to his racing. A successful Daytona 500 would go a long way toward making the 2020 season look a lot like 2018.
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
Are you ready for the 2020 season?
“I’m so ready. We have a great year ahead. We’ve got to get back to work and no better place to go than the Daytona 500. Wouldn’t we look good in victory lane? It’s the only race where you sit back and visualize yourself in victory lane. I don’t even know what I would do. I can’t comprehend winning it.”
How cool was the Chiefs Super Bowl victory?
“I remember when I was a kid watching the Chiefs on television, so to get to go to Arrowhead for the playoff game this year and then get to go to the Super Bowl in Miami and watch them win was one of the greatest moments of my life. It was a great game. I’ve thought it was their year all year. What’s the old saying, ‘You have to lose one to win one?’ They lost a heartbreaker last year to New England and this year they put that lesson to good use and won one for themselves. It was a great moment for everyone back home. Whenever I have been around championship teams, they all have that 100-percent confidence in what they are doing. I hope that translates to us this year.”
How important is the support you get from corporate partners on the No. 14?
“The amount of support you need these days to run well is huge. I know you hear drivers talk about the importance of corporate partners all the time and that’s true, but at SHR, they are a key to our success on the track. ExxonMobil knows our sport and our engines inside out. Andy Moran and his Mobil 1 lubricant engineering team help to develop new formulations at points throughout the year, which constantly exceed our very high expectations and provide the vital improvements we need. Rush Truck Centers helps us get to the track, and that isn’t easy. SHR has four primary Cup haulers, (as well as) Xfinity (Series) and several test haulers. It’s a logistical challenge traveling all over the country, but the Rush Truck Centers folks oversee everything for us. Without either one, SHR wouldn’t enjoy the success we have enjoyed.”