We’re just weeks away from the 2019 Daytona 500. Clint Bowyer reflects on his off-season and upcoming season including having a new young teammate in Daniel Suarez.
Enjoying Time Off
Since leaving Homestead-Miami back in November of 2018, Bowyer has been enjoying life and family.
“Yeah, the off‑season is always [an] exciting time for everybody,” he said.
“You get the holidays to spend time with family that you’ve missed all year long while we’ve been chasing this dream of racing, and been fortunate enough to do a lot of fun things in the off‑season. We went skiing, as you said, just got back from a skiing trip to Colorado. It was beautiful. It was great snow. Stopped and watched my Chiefs. Man, we lost, but we gave them a hell of a battle. Watched several Chiefs games. It’s been fun.”
Getting to Know a New Teammate
With Kurt Busch leaving to drive the No. 1, it was finally announced a few weeks ago that Daniel Suarez would take over the No. 41 for the 2019 season. Bowyer said he didn’t really have an opportunity to get to know Suarez before he signed on to be a Stewart-Haas Racing teammate.
“…but since his test, we actually went to Mobil 1 appearance and a Peak appearance down in Texas, so we got to fly together and chat about his experience in the car so far with the new package and everything else,” Bowyer said.
The No. 14 driver noted it’s a bit difficult for Bowyer to communicate with Suarez.
“I always thought I was excited and got excited in conversations,” he said.
“People have told me [to] slow down. I had to say, hey, Daniel, slow down, I’m way too country for all this. But man, it’s fun to be around kids like that that are full of talent, full of piss and vinegar. He’s set on kill. He’s excited about his opportunity, as he should be.”
Bowyer noted Suarez is getting into good equipment.
“I know the equipment he’s going to be sitting in, the team that he’s going to be with,” he said.
“They were on fire last year with Billy Scott and all those guys. He’s got a good future ahead of him for this year. I’m excited for him.”
Expectations for the 14 in 2019
Bowyer said he really doesn’t know what to expect yet for the 2019 season.
“I don’t think anybody can expect too much right now or know what to expect,” Bowyer said.
“I’m going to a test in Vegas out here next week. I’m looking forward to going out there and getting, I guess, that idea of the expectations going into the season under my belt firsthand. Of course, I just said Daniel Suarez, my teammate, has been out to California and had a test with our Stewart Haas Ford Mustangs, but firsthand, I don’t really know what to expect.”
Bowyer said the rules changing for 2019 are pretty drastic.
“The face of our sport is going to be different,” he said.
“Time will tell what opinions are made, and certainly I’ll form my opinion when that time comes. Testing is one thing. It’ll be, what, 14, 15 cars out there next week. When you get out there with 40, it’s a whole different story.”
Looking forward to the test next week, as I said, but definitely looking forward to once you get out of Daytona 500‑‑ Daytona is always going to be Daytona. Daytona and Talladega are always going to be restrictor plate tracks. Time will tell whether these other mile‑and‑a‑halfs become restrictor plate tracks.
Strength in Numbers
With the four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford Mustangs of SHR, Bowyer said there is a bit of strength in numbers.
“…having four cars is such a powerful thing,” Bowyer said.
“The difference that Aric Almirola brought in and making that fourth car real. And what I mean by that is as you’re going through practice sessions, as you’re going through changes and decisions and making those decisions with the setup one way or another, to be able to have the confidence in what he’s saying and the lap times to back it up gives you a lot of confidence in a decision to go that way if that opportunity is there, and certainly that opportunity is going to be there having Daniel in that fourth car just like it was with Kurt in it or anybody else. It’s important for all of us to get Daniel caught up, up to speed on everything, and we’ll all benefit from that, Kevin, myself, Aric, everybody at Stewart‑Haas will benefit on him being up to speed as soon as possible.
Back on Track
Bowyer, along with Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, David Ragan, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Preece, Paul Menard, Ross Chastain, Landon Cassill, and Drew Herrin are expected to participate in a tire test at Las Vegas on January 31 and February 1, 2019.
The test will be open to the public.
The 2019 running of the Daytona 500 will be Sunday, February 17 2:30 pm with coverage on Fox, Fox Sports Go and on the radio via the Motor Racing Network.