|DIBENNEDETTO NASCAR'S ROCKY BALBOA
|FROM JOURNEYMAN DRIVER TO HALL OF FAMER
|WINNERS NOT ADDING UP
|THE 600 IS STILL A CROWN JEWEL
|NEXT TWO WEEKS COULD BE TOO GOOD
|WALTRIP A TWO-WAY HALL OF FAMER
BOY OH BOWYER
There has been a lot of talk at the beginning of the Monster Energy Cup Series season, we need some of the younger drivers to have success and make their way to victory lane to fuel a NASCAR rebound. That would certainly help, but I would also argue we could use a big dose of Clint Bowyer.
I would argue the 38-year-old veteran is one of the best, if not the best interview and his press conferences are always rowdy, unruly, and raucous. He's also transparent and honest, even when the questions are tough.
It's why when he ended his 190-race winless drought at Martinsville Speedway, we knew Bowyer would burst into the media center whooping it up and it was show time. One of the first things that came up was how important it was to finally get the grandfather clock winner's trophy, but how was he going to get it back home? "I'm going to ratchet strap it to my wife's SUV. We're going to be the Clampett's with our trophy strapped to the roof," Bowyer joked as the room erupted.
Seconds later we're all laughing hard again when Bowyer was asked where his post-race celebration was going next? "The hospital," he declared. "Going to the hospital. That would be a safer measure for me right now, jumping in whatever ambulance there is here and tell them ?? just beg them to take me to the hospital!"
It had been since Charlotte in the fall of 2012, a year in which he captured three checkered flags, that Bowyer could clown around after a win, and experience the stress that goes with leading late and the race yours to lose. "It's being able to get out and have an opportunity to have your nerves run through the roof, cotton mouth, your legs shaking and everything else with 10 to go. It's been a long time since I've felt that anxiety, that much emotion, and then to cap it all off, I look over after the front straightaway, and here comes my kid running down the front straightaway, and I lost it then. I'm not going to lie, that was the one that capped it all off for me," admitted Bowyer with his nearly two-year-old son Cash sitting on his lap.
Priceless. pic.twitter.com/4ySYhYIeky— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) March 26, 2018
"A lot of people want to think about these kids as being a distraction to drivers and to athletes ?? hell, we ain't athletes, we've got power steering ?? but to drivers and things like that. You start to think about what really matters in
And it was pretty cool the Kansas native finally got his first win in his second season driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. Especially with teammate Kevin Harvick, the organization had proved it had cars to run up front and be successful, adding to the pressure heaped upon Bowyer's shoulders. "That's when you start panicking, and I'm not going to lie. Everybody
Bowyer also conceded, "I haven't won as many races as I needed to, but I've always been consistent, and that was always putting myself in position to have a shot at winning the championship at the end of the year. I finished second, had a lot of success in this sport, and being able to shine at the end of the year when the time is right for everybody involved, and over the last few years, I haven't been able to put all that together."
"This is a year that's starting to shape up to where I feel like I'm accustomed to, way back when I was confident that we were going to go to the end of the year and we were going to compete for a championship."
Thoughts like that just bring a big smile to his face. "This is a fun team. This is a family. I mean, we have a group text and we make fun of each other like the old days. Like it's finally feeling right, know what I mean? That's why I keep doing it, because it is fun, because we're very fortunate to be a part of a wonderful thing, and we all know that."
I'm not going to lie, it would be a blast see Bowyer show up in victory lane a few more times this year. Yeah, we may have some new kids on the block, but he's old school all the way and NASCAR needs more of that badly. Bowyer connects with the hard-core fan because that's exactly what he is. If he wasn't driving a race car, you could easily picture him in the infield with a big group of friends drinking beer, grilling steaks, and cheering his favorite driver on. He has a passion for racing from the local short tracks all the way up to Cup. "There's one thing I hope everybody knows is how much I do love this sport and love the opportunity ?? I love people," he said.