Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in front of 100,000-plus fans and a national-television audience might make it the most popular race in the world held under the lights.
So what better time for PEAK® Lighting to show off its aftermarket automotive products to the world.
Clint Bowyer’s fellow PEAK driver John Force took home his 150th Funny Car victory in his PEAK Lighting debut Aug. 4 in the NHRA Northwest Nationals. Now, it’s Bowyer’s turn to put the No. 14 PEAK Lighting Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in victory lane after Saturday night’s Cup Series race.
For the first time in NASCAR history, Bowyer’s Mustang will carry headlight decals with the high beams on for the night drive in Tennessee.
“This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen,” said, Bowyer referring to his car’s paint scheme and its shining headlights. “The SHR and PEAK folks have come up with a cool lighting paint scheme. It’s a neat way to show everyone about PEAK Lighting.”
The race will mark the second of three primary races this season for Bowyer with Old World Industries, the parent company of the PEAK and BlueDEF® brands. PEAK Coolant & Antifreeze served as the No. 14 sponsor in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment will be the primary sponsor for Bowyer in October at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
PEAK’s legacy in motorsports spans over 40 years and includes leading drivers such as Dale Earnhardt, Michael Waltrip, and Kyle Petty. Besides Bowyer’s No. 14 car, PEAK is a partner with the Haas F1 team with drivers Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, Clint Bowyer Racing’s two Dirt Late Models, and drag racing’s winningest driver Force.
Bowyer and his team are working to make his car is as fast as it looks Saturday night in Bristol. He enters the race on the half-mile, high-banked track tenuously holding the final spot in the 16-driver NASCAR playoff standings. He holds a four-point advantage over SHR teammate Daniel Suarez in 17th place.
While Bowyer is trying to preserve his place in the standings, he’s only 76 points out of 12th place with just three races remaining in NASCAR’s regular season. Bowyer knows it’s go time to make the playoffs, but he wants to make sure his team is competitive once the playoffs begin.
“You can talk about the bubble and worrying about points, but I am way more worried about getting established and running up front at these types of racetracks,” he said. “If you make the playoffs and can’t compete in it, then what’s the use? We have some things to work out. We have some time. We have some good racetracks for us including Bristol coming up. We have plenty of racing but we have to get some things figured out.”
Bowyer arrives at Bristol after finishing 37th at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last weekend. He qualified fifth and raced at the front of the field, earning two bonus points with his ninth-place finish in Stage 2. A lap-137 accident ended his race ruining what looked to be a good points day for the No. 14 team.
Bowyer hopes Bristol is the track where he can turn it around. He owns seven top-five finishes in 27 starts there, including three consecutive top-10 finishes. In this past April’s race at Bristol, Bowyer started eighth and finished second in Stage 1, and eighth in Stage 2. He took the lead with 125 laps remaining, but contact with Joey Logano with 60 laps remaining ruined his bid for victory.
“Old Bristol has always been good to me and we’ll need that again Saturday night,” Bowyer said. “That’s a place where we will put on a hell of a show and hopefully come out on top. We could use some good fortune.”
Given the way he’s raced at Bristol in recent history, Bowyer’s No. 14 Peak Lighting Mustang might just light the way.
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 PEAK Lighting Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What is the challenge of Bristol?
“In the spring there, long runs were my strong suit. I couldn’t take off all day long. Some of those things made sense. We were down a little bit on air (pressure) and it took a little bit of time for (the tires) to come in. The problem is, when you balance around that and you just pump the air pressure up, then it doesn’t work, either, and you don’t handle there.”
Is short-track racing the best racing in NASCAR?
“You would have to really sell hard for me not to believe that short-track racing is our best product. It just is, and the reason I say that is because it’s so much fun, so demanding inside the car. The workload is through the roof for the driver and the excitement is there for the fans.”
What happens if you unintentionally wreck someone?
“If you wrong somebody on any racetrack, you try your best to right that wrong immediately. You push that push-to-talk button and have your spotter go down there and take the butt-chewing for you and apologize on your behalf. But if that doesn’t work, you just hope that if something happens, he’s not going to be able to get it fixed and get back out there and repay you before you have a chance for him to think about it and get over it. Hopefully that doesn’t happen until the next week.”