No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota driver Clint Bowyer spent Monday attending the Goodyear Tire test at Michigan International Speedway. In Bowyer’s first season with Michael Waltrip Racing, the No. 15 team has tested Daytona, Texas, Pocono, Bristol and twice at Michigan. Plus an additional road course test to prepare for Sonoma. Bowyer says the test time has helped his new team build their notebook and get up to speed faster than it may have in previous seasons. Now the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team is heading to Pocono for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Bowyer’s first season at MWR has also been the best of his Sprint Cup career. A victory, four top-five finishes, and holding 10th place in the points standings in 2012 are all career bests after 20 races. Bowyer’s history shows he could add to those totals this weekend. He owns one top-five and five top-10 finishes in 13 starts at Pocono. The MWR team is 10th with a 55-point lead over the 11th-place driver. Only six races remain before the start of the 10-race Chase.
ON TESTING: “We just don’t have as many opportunities to test as we used to. NASCAR has really regulated our opportunities, so you have to make the most of a test when you can. You have to take full advantage of it and try to learn for no matter where you go. You have to learn that package and what adjustments work around that package. That’s what we’ve really been trying to do with some of the packages that we’ve been working on. We try to learn how to adjust within that package. It may not be the best package for Michigan, but it may be the best package for Pocono. We just have to figure out how to adjust around it.”
“It’s been really beneficial to be as young of a team as we are - or as new as we are at working together to have tested as much as we have this year. We’ve tested more this year than we have in quite some time because the tracks are repaving. Tracks like Michigan, Pocono, Bristol - even Kansas coming up is going to have a new surface. And for a group of guys that are all working together for the first time, it has been an advantage. We’ve learned a lot about each other, the setups and what we like. It’s been a huge help and I think we’ve been fortunate to test as much as we have.”
ON MICHIGAN TEST: “The test was good. We were able to go through some of our things that we’ve been wanting to try which is a good thing. We are documenting some laps for Goodyear. The tire looks good. It has good grip. I think it’s kind of in-between the tire that we had before and the tire that we ended up racing on (in June) as far as speed. It’s not crazy fast like that first one was, but not as far off as the one we raced. Tire wise, we are all pretty happy. I’m just working on some balance things and trying to learn some things for when we come back here. The speeds are great and everybody is pretty happy so far.
“First and foremost it’s a test for Goodyear. It really doesn’t matter what we’re doing with our car balance wise as long as we’re in the ballpark of where we are going to race lap time wise – those tires don’t know the difference as to what setup is underneath of it, so changing and setup don’t affect what Goodyear sees as far as their tire data one bit.”