No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer is spending Tuesday and Wednesday attending the Goodyear Tire Test at the newly reconfigured Bristol Motor Speedway. After that he is heading to Michigan International Speedway for a NASCAR open test prior to the regularly scheduled Sprint Cup Series race weekend.
For Bowyer it will be his third visit to a new racing surface in the last two weeks following last weekend’s trip to Pocono Raceway.
“This has been one of the most interesting stretches of races that I can remember because it’s like we’ve visited three new tracks in the last two weeks,” explained Bowyer. “Each track was unique on its own even before the repave, but now it just adds a little extra challenge when you have to adjust to a new surface. You spend years building your notebook and trying to learn the track, but a repave or surface upgrade can make a pretty big difference.”
Bowyer has back-to-back eighth place finishes in the last two races at Michigan. He is looking for his third straight top-10 finish in the last three weeks when he visits Michigan this week after a fifth place finish at Dover and sixth place finish at Pocono.
“The race at Pocono with the new surface and shorter race proved to be more exciting for the race fans and changed the dynamic of the race for the drivers,” Bowyer continued. “Pocono still has a lot of character even after the repave, but it was smoother and had more grip.
“And I have to give a tip of the cap to the folks at SMI, Bristol Motor Speedway and NASCAR for listening to the fans and making the changes that needed to be made to provide a better experience at Bristol,” said Bowyer. “The surface before wasn’t bad and it wasn’t bad racing, but it wasn’t the Bristol that we all grew up watching. I think the fans will be happy with the changes they made.”
Michael Waltrip Racing’s three Sprint Cup Series entries finished third, fourth and fifth in the March 18 race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. finished third, Bowyer finished fourth and Brian Vickers fifth.
Bowyer joined reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton at the test.
Immediately following the test at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bowyer and the No. 15 team will head to Michigan for the NASCAR Open Test on Thursday prior to start of the regularly scheduled NASCAR weekend starting on Friday.
“If Michigan is even close to the job that they did at Pocono and Bristol then I think the fans will be in for a treat this weekend. It should be very fast, exciting racing and make for a great show. I can’t even remember the last time I visited three racetracks in a two week period that all had new racing surfaces. It’s pretty great to see the investments that ISC, SMI, Pocono and NASCAR are making in these tracks to improve the product on the track.”