Stewart-Haas a class apart – Bowyer

Image by Harrelson/LAT

Stewart-Haas a class apart – Bowyer

NASCAR

Stewart-Haas a class apart – Bowyer

Stewart-Haas Racing is best the team in NASCAR Cup Series racing says, Clint Bowyer.

With all four cars still in championship contention and coming off a dominant performance last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Bowyer told RACER the teamwork, feedback, and the equipment has made for “a deadly combination right now.

“And I think we have become the best organization in Cup racing,” he said. “I think that’s true right now. That’s not being selfish. That’s not being arrogant or sarcastic. That’s real. The numbers are proving it. Having all four cars with a win, we’re doing it right now.”

The difference for Bowyer in his second year with the No. 14 team is stability. Bowyer is working with the same team and crew chief, and there were no significant changes within the company during the off-season. The switch from Chevrolet to Ford is now a year ago, and Bowyer has been operating this year within a space of familiarity.

“Last year, it was just so many things that were new,” Bowyer said. “We changed manufacturers, and it never felt like I was sitting in the same hot rod week to week. We’d learn, cut the body off, we’d change something, whole different aero deal. Week to week, [and] I’m not good at that.

“I need to be sitting in the same car, feeling the same things, adjusting the same things, car reacting to those adjustments kind of the same. That’s where I find my comfort and really get within my wheelhouse. And that’s what we’ve got this year.”

In 2017, Bowyer was not a part of the postseason; a development that he admitted to RACER at the time was as frustrating as it was surprising. He also came up short in finding victory lane last season, although he had six top-five finishes, including three runner-up efforts.

Stewart-Haas has won 11 races this season. Bowyer has gone to victory lane twice, snapping a five-year winless drought at Martinsville Speedway before grabbing another checkered flag at the first Michigan event. Along the way, he and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz have bettered all their statistics from a season ago.

Bowyer picked up his second win of the season at Michigan in June. Image by LaBounty/LAT

Sunday afternoon, the only number that matters to Bowyer is eight. Looking to advance into the next round of the playoffs, he needs a clean day at his home track, Kansas Speedway. Seventh on the playoff grid, Bowyer has a 21-point advantage to protect and more pressure to handle.

“That’s what I love about the playoffs,” Bowyer said. “I think we saw it show its ugly face at the Roval. I was out. All right, you’re in. Well, you’re only two points in. Got to pass that guy. Well, don’t let him pass anybody. That intensity and excitement was through the roof that day.

“For a racer, yes, it’s nerve-racking beyond belief, but it was also fun as hell. Of course, it ended on a positive note, but you left on a high like no other, and only racing can do that.

“This weekend, right back in it with another cut-off. If we take care of business and do our jobs and have a solid weekend, we’re going onto the Round of 8.”

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