No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang driver Clint Bowyer and his Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team judge their success on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series each weekend based on the scoring sheet after every practice, qualifying session and the race.
But this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Bowyer and his friends at Rush Truck Centers add an additional measurement to determine the weekend’s success – technician recruits.
Rush Truck Centers has been the primary partner on the No. 14 team since Bowyer arrived in 2017 and has been with the SHR organization since 2010. The San Antonio-based company with more than 120 locations and 7,000 employees has used Bowyer and the team to appeal to NASCAR fans as one way to recruit the technicians it needs to operate the largest network of commercial truck and bus dealerships in the country, with locations in 22 states.
According to Rush Truck Centers, the trucking industry is expected to need 200,000 diesel technicians over the next 10 years to keep up with maintenance demands. To help meet the demand, Rush will host a display in the fan midway this weekend where its recruiters will discuss with fans and prospective applicants the work its technicians do on the trucks, as well advantages of joining the company. A Rush Truck Centers truck and Bowyer’s No. 14 car will also be at the display.
Bowyer will visit the display twice and talk about technician careers.
“We want to get the word out that Rush, as well as the entire trucking industry, needs technicians,” said Bowyer, who now owns the car dealership where he once worked as a paint and body specialist. “Rush Truck Centers is a leader in the trucking industry and the largest commercial dealership network in North America. They want to train these folks and give them good jobs. I’ve been around a lot of them in the last few years and it’s a hell of a career.”
It’s diesel truck weekend on the No. 14 at Texas as Cummins makes its first appearance in 2019. While Cummins is a corporation of complementary business segments that designs, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions, it is best known for its diesel truck engines.
Cummins and Rush Truck Centers help SHR get its racecars to the track each weekend. SHR’s Peterbilt Model 389 haulers are equipped with Cummins engines and RushCare Telematics and supported by the RushCare team, which monitors and reports critical fault codes, vehicle performance and driver habits. This ensures the haulers remain in peak condition while traveling thousands of miles from race to race each season.
Cummins’ lineage dates back to the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911, when company founder Clessie Cummins was on the pit crew of the race-winning Marmon Wasp of driver Ray Harroun. Since its founding in 1919, the company now employs approximately 58,600 people and serves customers in about 190 countries and territories through a network of some 500 company-owned and independent distributor locations and approximately 7,500 dealer locations. It’s also headquartered in Columbus, Indiana – SHR co-owner Tony Stewart’s hometown.
“Cummins joined us last year and I told them they put me under a lot of pressure,” Bowyer said with a laugh. “Tony cares deeply about all our partners at SHR but Cummins, being from his hometown, means if we don’t run well we’ll doubly hear about it.”
Bowyer arrives at the ultra-fast 1.5-mile Texas oval 13th in points after a seventh-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Sunday. He’s posted three-top five finishes and 11 top-10s in 26 career races at Texas and qualified in the top-three in three of the last four Cup Series races. He’s even won at Texas, taking home the trophy in the 2006 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race.
“There’s no time like this weekend to finally break through there in the Cup Series,” Bowyer said. “I want (Texas track president) Eddie (Gossage) to hand me that trophy after the race.”
CLINT BOWYER, Driver of the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Cummins Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
What did you think of SHR teammate Daniel Suarez’s “Daniel’s Amigos” on pitlane two weekends ago at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, singing and dancing in support of the Monterrey, Mexico driver?
“That was one of the coolest things I have ever seen in this sport. I want one of those types of fan clubs. I saw a mariachi band in Fontana the night before and thought it was awesome. On Sunday, Daniel’s fans brought a lot of enthusiasm and excitement. I thought it was great.”
What do you think of Suarez so far?
“Oh my gosh, he is a blast. We both are excitable and get to talking where we can’t understand each other. We joke that both of our English isn’t too good. He’s really a great kid and fitting in perfectly with us.”
What have you told Suarez since joining SHR?
“I’ve just tried to emphasize to him how excited I am for his opportunity. No different than me, no different than Aric (Almirola) and no different than Kevin (Harvick) when he arrived Stewart-Haas Racing. I mean, everybody benefits from that army of people behind you at Stewart-Haas Racing. And as fast as our cars are, the speed that we have. For him in particular, Billy Scott is a crew chief who I’ve had before, so I know that the opportunity he has in front of him and I’m excited for him to be able to get that and benefit from the speed in our racecars. And get that second chance that he deserves. This sport is, it’s tough, especially as a younger driver, especially in today’s day and age.”
Is it different for younger drivers to break into the sport than it was when you arrived?
“When I came into the sport we tested, we did this, we did that. In between our race weekends, we were on the track somewhere in those racecars. These are drastically different automobiles than anything you ever drive coming through the ranks. When you get in these beasts and you get against that competition, the deck is stacked against you. And sometimes you don’t perform at your best under those circumstances. And, unfortunately, you have maybe only a year or two to prove your worth. So, for him, this second chance in this kind of equipment, it’s going to be a good opportunity for him.”