Clint Bowyer, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota- Phoenix Preview

A visit to Phoenix International Raceway located in the “Valley of the Sun” presents the perfect opportunity for Clint Bowyer and the No.15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota to shine this weekend.

A mechanical failure under the hood prematurely ended Bowyer’s run in the season-opening Daytona 500 last weekend leaving him with a 41st-place finish, a somewhat unusual spot for the driver who ranked second or third in the driver points standings for 12 of the 26 weeks in the “regular season” last year.

But Phoenix has been kind to Bowyer, who just missed visiting victory lane in April 2008, finishing second to Jimmie Johnson. In this race last year he finished sixth. With a new qualifying procedure in place, things may heat up at the one-mile desert oval as drivers battle for a top starting spot.

Bowyer on qualifying: “That had become stale and it needed help. There’s no way getting around it. I think our Fridays were somewhat stale and I think it’s going to add a new element of excitement — who knows what’s going to happen. I really think that you’re going to see that. I think moving through those segments you’re going to see people make a quick adjustment and tune themselves right into the game or more importantly tune themselves right out of the game. There’s going to be a lot of moving parts and it’s going to be something that’s going to be interesting to follow on qualifying day. I don’t think you’ve ever really said that before. It’s going to be cool.”

Crew Chief Brian Pattie on the new qualifying procedure: “I think it’s going to be exciting for everyone, not just the fans. Knock out qualifying was enjoyable to watch in other series and I don’t think it will be any different for us. If anything I think it may be beneficial for the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota.”

Bowyer on Phoenix:  “Phoenix is a good indicator of who has their stuff together to start the season. Daytona is sort of its own deal. The next few weeks we will see who some of the contenders will be. We go to Phoenix– a short track and then 1.5-mile the next week at Las Vegas. We tested the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota a lot in the off season at places like New Smyrna so I’m ready to get this baby on track this weekend at Phoenix and put Daytona behind us.”