CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Atlanta Race Report

February 25th, 2018

Event:               Folds of Honor 500 (Round 2 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format:             325 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/155 laps)
Start/Finish:      9th/3rd (Running, completed 325 of 325 laps)
Point Standing: 5th with 74 points, 15 out of first

Race Winner:    Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):

  • Started ninth, finished second to earn nine bonus points.
  • Crew told Bowyer he was the fastest car on the track on lap 14.
  • Climbed to seventh by the lap-30 competition caution. Bowyer asked for no adjustments during his pit stop.
  • Moved into second place on lap 75, often turning top lap times.
  • Best stage finish since winning Stage 2 at Pocono International Raceway on July 30, 2017.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):

  • Started second, finished ninth to earn two bonus points.
  • Bowyer immediately reported his car felt much looser in the corners.
  • Dropped to eighth before pitting for adjustments under green on lap 128.
  • Adjustments paid dividends as Bowyer began climbing through the field and turning quick lap times.
  • Pitted under caution on lap 158 for air adjustments. Bowyer restarted the race in 10th with seven laps remaining in the stage.
  • After some frantic racing in the final laps, Bowyer finished the stage in ninth about five seconds behind the stage winner. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 171-325):

  • Started eighth, finished third.
  • Bowyer moved to fifth by the lap-200 mark as rain began to sprinkle the track.
  • The rain held off, and Bowyer showed he would be a threat for victory lane.
  • Bowyer restarted the race in fifth with 23 laps remaining.
  • Surged to third on the restart and likely would have finished second if the race had lasted another lap. 

Notes:

  • Kevin Harvick’s victory in the Folds of Honor 500 marked the 44th overall win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). It was the organization’s 40th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its second at Atlanta. Tony Stewart won at Atlanta on Sept. 5, 2010.
  • This was SHR’s fourth NASCAR Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
  • This was Bowyer’s first top-five and sixth top-10 finish in 18 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta.
  • All four SHR drivers finished on the lead lap and in the top-13 at Atlanta on Sunday. As a result, all four drivers are ranked in the top-10 of the driver point standings.
  • There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps. Thirteen of the 36 drivers in the Folds of Honor 500 finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing:          

“It’s a fun racetrack. There aren’t many places left that can put on a show like that and be able to race all over the place, so I just appreciate this place. I appreciate Harvick’s speed. He was so fast. Man, I’m telling you our Haas Automation Ford was good all weekend long. All of our Stewart-Haas cars were fast. That’s a credit to everybody’s hard work over the offseason, and it paid dividends here tonight.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Las Vegas 400 on Sunday, March 4 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by FOX.