CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Las Vegas I Race Report

March 4th, 2018

Event:               Las Vegas 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series:               Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format:             267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish:      11th/18th (Running, completed 265 of 267 laps)
Point Standing: 11th with 93 points, 42 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: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

  • Started 11th, finished 14th.
  • Bowyer climbed as high as ninth in the early going but reported his car would not turn in the center of the corners.
  • He pitted on lap 38 for tires, fuel and adjustments.
  • Bowyer still struggled with handling and lost a few positions as the stage ran to the end without a caution.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

  • Started 15th, finished 20th.
  • Pitted on lap 121 for more adjustments to help the car turn.
  • Adjustments began to pay dividends, and Bowyer’s lap times improved as he climbed to 12th.
  • A loose lug nut forced Bowyer to pit lane on lap 143 for a two-tire stop.
  • The stop dropped him from 12th to 20th and a lap behind the leader. 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

  • Started 20th, finished 18th.
  • Bowyer narrowly averted disaster when his car suffered only minor front-end damage from a multicar accident in front of him on lap 183.
  • Crew made repairs and returned Bowyer to the race in 19th, fifth in line to earn the free pass.
  • The team gambled in the closing laps to stay on the track instead of pitting, hoping to capitalize on a caution. The caution never came, and Bowyer lost a second lap. 

Notes:

  • Harvick’s victory in the Las Vegas 400 marked the 45th overall win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). It was the organization’s 41st points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win and its third at Las Vegas.
  • This was SHR’s second straight Cup Series victory. Harvick won last Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
  • This was SHR’s fifth Cup Series victory with Ford. The team won its first race with Ford when Kurt Busch captured the 2017 Daytona 500.
  • This was Harvick’s 16th Cup Series victory since joining SHR in 2014. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was 2.906 seconds. It marks his second series win of 2018, his second at Las Vegas and the 39th of his Cup career.
  • There were four caution periods for a total of 29 laps.
  • Nine of the 37 drivers in the Las Vegas 400 finished on the lead lap.

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

“We struggled to get the car to turn in the middle of the corners in the early going. The guys made a lot of changes, and we thought we had it going in the right direction. Then we had to come back in for the lug nut, and that got us a lap down.” 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the TicketGuardian 500k on Sunday, March 11 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 3 p.m.