WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Watkins Glen is vastly different from Sonoma, where Clint Bowyer triumphed in June, but Bowyer has shown enough speed in his Sprint Cup car this weekend that a sweep of NASCAR’s road courses wouldn’t be out of the question.
“It’s a different beast here — quite a bit different, I think,” Bowyer said. “When I go to Sonoma, it seems real technical, kind of like a short track of road racing, really.
“We come here and I struggled a bit in years past. We got better last year. I’m looking forward to it. We have that same race car we won with.”
Indeed, Bowyer, in his first season with Michael Waltrip Racing, is driving the same car he ran at Sonoma, one of the No. 47 Toyotas built by MWR for Marcos Ambrose when Ambrose was driving for JTG/Daugherty Racing.
Yes, Ambrose, now in a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, is the odds-on favorite to repeat last year’s winning performance at the Glen, but Bowyer can’t be discounted, even though he has posted one top-10 and led but one lap in six starts at the 2.45-mile road course.
The race is pivotal for Bowyer, who can secure a spot in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff for the Sprint Cup with top-10 finishes in the next five races before the Chase field is set at Richmond. Bowyer is 10th in the standings, 57 points ahead of two-time winner Kasey Kahne in 11th.
“I’ve just got to stay solid,” Bowyer told the NASCAR Wire Service. “Those single-digit finishes are going to be plenty good enough. You just can’t have the catastrophic day. We can afford to have one, but we can’t afford to have two. . . .
“Just got to get through here, keep the thing on the race track, take care of the gearbox and do the things that we do each and every week. It’s just more difficult to do on these road courses.”