By Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet
I still remember back when I was racing at Lakeside Speedway in 2002, a few miles down the road from where Kansas Speedway was built. I dreamed about how cool it would be to race there, in front of thousands of fans, in the industry’s top national series. I was back in the sport’s grass roots of racing, running in NASCAR’s weekly modified series. We were fortunate enough to win the championship at Lakeside in 2002, but I still didn’t know which direction my career was going and I still had aspirations of running at the ‘big track’ in Kansas City.
The following year, I had the opportunity to run in two ARCA races. A few weeks after my second race, my cell phone rang while I was at work in my hometown of Emporia, Kansas. The voice on the other end of the line said he was Richard Childress. I laughed it off and tried to figure out which one of my friends was playing a joke on me. After about 30 seconds, I realized it actually was Richard Childress. I felt terrible about it and apologized. Once he told me to stop apologizing, he gave me the offer of a lifetime, to drive for Richard Childress Racing. I got packed up and moved east to North Carolina. The rest, as they say, is history.
Nowadays, I head to Kansas Speedway with one goal in mind, winning at my ‘home track.’ Winning at Kansas would be one of the biggest accomplishments of my career. You always come to your home track looking to run well, because you have family and friends watching you in the grandstands. Plus, there are a lot of fans of mine that live in the Kansas area that grew up watching me race and have followed me ever since I was five. Therefore, a victory there would not just be for me to celebrate, it would be for each and every one of my supporters throughout my life.
Kansas Speedway is a great race track where I’ve had great runs going in years past. For some reason or another, we’d fall a little short. Hopefully, this year will be our year.
A victory at Kansas Speedway would be a boy’s childhood dream coming true.