Bowyer Visits Kansas Eager For His First Win
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer previewed the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup with local media at Kansas Speedway on Wednesday. His Kansas City visit comes one month before his September 30 race at Kansas Speedway, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Kansas 400.
The Emporia, Kan., native is ninth overall, a fairly secure position to make it into the top 12 of the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Championship. For this Kansas native, winning his first NEXTEL Cup Series race in front of his hometown crowd at Kansas Speedway sounds perfect.
"I drove by that track for so many years, dreaming of the day I could race there. It's an important race for me, the third race in the Chase," Bowyer said. "The first time I remember coming to Kansas Speedway all I wanted to do was not fail. I just wanted to run decent, get out of here, and not crash. And now, I want to win, I'm here to win."
As the third race in the Chase, drivers like Bowyer arrive at Kansas Speedway at the top of their game. Only the top 12 drivers are eligible to compete for the championship in the final 10 "Chase" races of the season. Teams dig for points to make it into the Chase, building momentum for a shot at the championship. For Bowyer, this also means a shot at his first win.
"Look at our season last year, those 10 races were some of our best runs of the season. So, I'm looking forward to going to those tracks, a lot of them are good tracks for us," Bowyer said. "I'm excited about my chance of winning races and being competitive in the Chase."
Bowyer has a best finish of third this season. His most recognizable finish, however, was at the Daytona 500. Bowyer launched into 2007 by sliding across the finish line upside-down and on fire. Yet going down in the history books for such an act isn't enough for him.
"I'm thinking I got him, I'm going to have a good finish and BAM. Out of nowhere, I'm upside down and on fire," Bowyer said. "But that's not how you want to be known, unless it's sliding across there to pick up that big trophy in Victory Lane. I don't care if it's in the fence, upside down, on fire, crash, whatever, as long as you're the first one across there."
Bowyer also realizes that he can't do it alone. In his search for his first win, he has to have a successful team at Richard Childress Racing. And the No. 07 car has to be in top shape with the best equipment on the track.
"There's so much of our sport that people don't get to see on TV. It's not just that the best drivers go out and win the races. It's the best team," Bowyer said. "It's no different from any football team or baseball team - there's no "I" in our sport. You're only as good as the equipment you're sitting in and the car that your team provides."
Moving into the Chase at the comfortable ninth place position, Bowyer is just a few spots behind fellow Midwesterner Carl Edwards. Edwards, a Columbia, Mo., native, has won two races so far this season. Together the Midwesterners represent the possibilities of racing at the top level.
"I think it says a lot about the Midwest and the talent level of drivers we have in the Midwest," Bowyer said. "To come back to Kansas Speedway and race in front of a hometown crowd, it just means a lot to be here."
"It's unbelievable to look back four, five years ago and just think I was just dreaming of some day having a chance to do this," Bowyer said. "Don't ever give up on your dream and listen to your parents and work hard. It's not easy and nothing comes for free in this world and you gotta push to get what you want."
Catch Bowyer, Edwards, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Kansas Speedway this September 29 - 30. Tickets are available for the NASCAR Busch Series Yellow Transportation 300 and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Kansas 400 and April's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series O'Reilly Auto Parts
250 and IndyCar Series Kansas Lottery Indy 300. Call 866.460.RACE.