After breathing a deep sigh of relief Sunday night knowing he survived the roval carnage at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, No. 14 ITsavvy/Haas Automation Mustang driver Clint Bowyer is ready to kick off the Round of 12 of this year’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs this weekend at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
“I’m excited to reset and not be playing catch-up,” Bowyer said moments after Sunday’s race. “We put ourselves in a hole in the first round after a 25th-place finish at Las Vegas. I won’t put us in a hole again. Dover is a good track for me. Dover is a good track for our organization. I feel like we can get reset and go for that next Round of 8.”
Bowyer and his No. 14 Ford Mustang team entered Sunday’s final race in the Round of 16 on the Charlotte roval four points out of the final transfer position. But he qualified fifth Friday, then racked up 16 bonus points in the first two stages of Sunday’s race while surviving three- and four-wide racing throughout. He avoided numerous near wrecks in the closing laps en route to a fourth-place finish that boosted him to ninth in the final Round of 16 points and advanced him to the next playoff round with 11 other drivers.
Bowyer arrives at Dover 12th in points after the Round of 12 points reset. He is just six points outside the top eight and would love nothing more than to start the round with a good run Sunday. He said racing on the roval at Charlotte last weekend was tension-filled and expects this weekend’s more traditional race on the mile oval at Dover to be much more fun.
“This is a fun racetrack,” said Bowyer, who owns three top-five finishes and 15 top-10s while leading 83 laps in 27 Cup Series races at Dover. “This is a challenging racetrack, a very competitive racetrack, one of the most competitive and challenging tracks I think we go to. The balance of your car is just so important, balancing those front tires to the rear. You’ve got to enjoy places like this. If you don’t, it’s a long day.”
Bowyer isn’t a stranger to victory lane at the Monster Mile. He owns two NASCAR Xfinity Series victories at Dover. He led 70 laps and beat Matt Kenseth by .547 of a second on Sept. 23, 2006 to win his third of eight Xfinity Series victories in his career. His most recent Xfinity Series victory also came at Dover, in Sept. 26, 2009, when he led 83 laps and beat Mike Bliss to the checkered flag by 1.319 seconds.
Bowyer will drive the No. 14 ITsavvy/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for SHR at Dover.
ITsavvy (pronounced I-T-savvy) is a second-year primary sponsor in the Cup Series. The Addison, Illinois-based company is one of the fastest-growing resources for integrated IT products and technology solutions in the United States. ITsavvy has catapulted rapidly from a Midwest startup to a national leader in IT products and solutions.
Founded in 2004 by Mike Theriault and Chris Kurpeikis, ITsavvy has been consistently recognized as one of the fastest-growing businesses of its type. ITsavvy is a single-source, end-to-end IT partner. The company combines a comprehensive, value-added reseller business of more than 1 million computer, hardware and software products with an industry-leading advanced solutions group. ITsavvy has access to $8 billion in daily inventory in 46 distribution centers around the country with the ability to ship in-stock items the same day they are ordered.
Haas Automation is America’s leading builder of CNC machine tools. Founded by Gene Haas in 1983, Haas Automation manufactures a complete line of vertical and horizontal machining centers, turning centers and rotary tables and indexers. All Haas products are built in the company’s 1.1 million-square-foot manufacturing facility in Oxnard, California, and distributed through a worldwide network of Haas Factory Outlets.
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 ITsavvy/Haas Automation Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What do you expect will be different at Dover this weekend?
“Nothing. You’re gonna fight the same thing, the same struggles. Everybody will be a little bit better. You’ll learn from the first race and make adjustments as we progress. The teams learn a little bit better setup. The aero boys get a little bit better there, but it’s not like you just get better. Everybody gets better, so it’s kind of more of the same.”
How do the Round of 12 tracks stack up for you?
“Yeah, I mean you’ve got to always have confidence, no different than this. This is an opportunity. When you have a track that you say is a wild-card race, that’s an opportunity. And in the situation we’re in, you’ve got to be able to look forward to those opportunities at hand because we need one.”
Do you have confidence going to Dover?
“Dover is a good track for me. It’s a place that I really enjoy racing at and, usually when you’re enjoying something, it’s because you run well there. It’s just a good track for me.”
What are your thoughts on Dover?
“Dover is always a cool track that I think every driver looks forward to because it’s a driver’s track. You’ve got to man up, get on top of that wheel and make things happen. There are just so many things going on there on that concrete surface and high banks. It’s a lot of fun. If you win there, you’ve earned it.”
How important is experience at Dover?
“I’m telling you, this is one of the toughest tracks I went to the first time I came, but it’s a demanding racetrack. Here’s the thing about this track – it’s hard enough to get around here by yourself, then you get to racing somebody and now you get frustrated and it’s so easy to get yourself in trouble on that racetrack. That being said, I think younger drivers get themselves in trouble in racing conditions on this demanding racetrack.”
Is there more pressure at tracks where you’ve had success?
“I think so – there’s a little bit more pressure. There’s a reason there’s some pressure – it’s because we have performed there and we need to do it again. I feel like we can back that up and I’m fairly confident in that. You don’t take anything for granted, but this is one of those tracks where you kind of just go in and usually things work out.”