CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Talladega II Race Report

October 14th, 2018

Date: Oct. 14, 2018
Event:1000Bulbs.com 500 (Round 31 of 36)
Series: Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps, broken into three stages (55 laps/55 laps/78 laps)
Note: Race extended five laps past its scheduled 188-lap distance due to a green-white-checkeredfinish.
Start/Finish: 2nd/2nd (Running, completed 193 of 193 laps)
Point Standing: 6th with 3,086 points, 21 points ahead of the cutoff

Race Winner:       Aric Almirola of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford) in overtime
Stage 1 Winner:   Kurt Busch of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner:   Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 55):

Bowyer started second and finished second to earn nine bonus points.
Bowyer tucked in behind Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) teammate and polesitter Kurt Busch on the start and held his place throughout the stage.
Told crew his car was loose in turns.
Made a gas-only pit stop on lap 12.
● SHR drivers raced single file and pulled out to a big lead before sweeping the top-four spots in the stage.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 110):

Bowyer started second and finished second to earn nine bonus points.
Made four-tire stop on lap 57 before the stage went green.
Once the green flag fell, Bowyer and his SHR teammates dominated the stage, running single file and in the lead.
SHR swept the top-four spots in the stage for the second time in the race.
“We did what we had to do today in the stages,” crew chief Mike Bugarewicz told Bowyer and the crew.

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 193):

Bowyer started 15th and finished second.
The No. 14 pitted for four tires before the final stage, dropping to 15th at the start.
Climbed to fifth after a caution with 46 laps remaining.
The SHR foursome returned to the front of the field, with Bowyer fourth, running single file with 40 laps remaining.
Bowyer started fourth and moved to second when the field returned to racing with 24 laps remaining.
The No. 14 stayed in second even when a late caution sent the race into overtime.
Bowyer said his engine sputtered during overtime with fuel running low, but he battled through some wild racing and finished second.

Notes:

● Almirola’s victory in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 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.
● Almirola’s win marked SHR’s series-leading 11th points-paying victory 31 races into the 2018 season. SHR also won the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
● This was SHR’s 14th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
● Almirola’s triumph delivered the 105th points-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 674th all-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
● Ford now has 28 all-time series wins at Talladega, including 10 of the last 13. This was its seventh straight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory at Talladega.● This was Bowyer’s ninth top-five finish of 2018.
● Bowyer earned his seventh top-five in 26 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Talladega.
● Aric Almirola won the 1000Bulbs.com 500 victory. It was his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win, his first of the season and his first at Talladega. His margin of victory over second-place Bowyer was .105 of a second.
● There were eight caution periods for a total of 32 laps.
● Twenty-nine of the 40 drivers in the 1000Bulbs.com 500 finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Cummins/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Man, that was about as easy of a Talladega race as I have ever experienced. What a day to be in a Ford! Every time I looked in my mirror it was a wave of blue ovals. What a day for SHR, too. That was all about cooperation. There’s no way you could overstate how good our cars were today. We finished second in both stages and the race, so that’s a pretty good day for us. We’ll go to Kansas and get a good run and make sure we are in the Round of 8 after next weekend.”

Playoff Standings: (with one race to go before Round of 8):

1.       Kevin Harvick (3,128 points) +63 points
2.       Kyle Busch (3,111 points) +46 points
3.       Joey Logano (3,104 points) +39 points
4.       Kurt Busch (3,095 points) +30 points
5.       Aric Almirola (3,087 points) 1 win
6.       Clint Bowyer (3,086 points) +21 points
7.       Martin Truex Jr. (3,083 points) +18 points
8.       Chase Elliott (3,066 points) 1 win
9.       Brad Keselowski (3,065 points) -18
10.     Ryan Blaney (3,061 points) -22 points
11.     Kyle Larson (3,057 points) -26 points
12.     Alex Bowman (3,015 points) -68 points