It’s been 190 races since Clint Bowyer was in victory lane. But on a delayed-till Monday race at the shortest track on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup circuit, Bowyer and his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing celebrated as only Bowyer does. It was a popular win and one crew chief Mike Bugarewicz and SHR competition director, Greg Zipadelli were happy to be part of.
Bowyer’s crew chief since coming over to Stewart-Haas Racing last year, Mike Bugarewicz said in his decade in the sport, you don’t expect anything until the last few laps.
“It could come down to the last one. You could have led all the laps all day long, and it may not work out for you in the end,” Bugarewicz said.
Bugarewicz said the team just stay focused and kept digging until the race’s end.
“…for him to have that winless streak of 190 races, I’m so happy for him to finally get another one, get a picture with his son,” the No. 14 crew chief said.
“I know he’s been wanting that for a long, long time, and I really liked it for this team. It’s not always seen because we’re not always up there leading all the laps in every race, but these guys work just as hard as any team out there. We’re a really tight‑knit group, and well deserving for this whole team and whole company who’s really dug hard all winter long.”
SHR Success in 2018
SHR’s competition director, Greg Zipadelli said it was really cool to get the No. 14 back to victory lane — the first time since Tony Stewart retired.
“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome,” Zipadelli said.
“Who doesn’t love Clint, know what I mean, he’s a great guy who’s a great addition to Stewart‑Haas.”
Zipadelli said it’s been a solid year for the four-car team of SHR so far.
“Everybody has worked really hard in the off‑season, like every other team, but last year we were trying to figure out how to put motors in cars to make it to the racetrack, and that’s not a lie. I mean, it was that bad when we switched over to Ford. It was a lot of things that were a lot harder than we thought they were,” Zipadelli said.
He noted that they have been more able to work on a lot of little details.
“…I think it’s shown in the performance to start the year,” he said.
Zipadelli said it’s early, and the MENCS is a long season.
“We can’t take a deep breath, or you’ll get passed in this sport,” he said.
Changes in Bowyer
The SHR competition diredctors said he’s seen Bowyer a lot more focused, dedicated and harder working this year—as well as the whole No. 14 team.
“They had a year last year, they had speed at a lot of racetracks and just couldn’t close the deal, put it all together,” he said.
“Mike has done a great job of learning and growing as a leader and pulling these guys together, including Clint. You know, you can see it. You can see it in their performance, but you can see it with these guys just every day in the shop, in our meetings and things of that nature.
Proud of them. They’ve—sometimes it takes a little bit of time to work together and learn to believe in each other, and I think what you saw today was an example of that. But if you look at their performance from Daytona to today, it’s been significantly better.”
The MENCS series garage has the Easter weekend off but will be back on the track the following weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The green flag drops at 2:00 om on Sunday, April 8th for the OReilly Auto Parts 500.