Clint Bowyer talks 2020 season and iRacing

Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo

By: Sarah Handy, Staff Writer 

Clint Bowyer’s 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season was off to a consistent start prior to the temporary racing hiatus due to COVID-19. He recently spoke about his season so far, returning to racing, and the Pro Invitational Series racing he’s been participating in on iRacing each week. 

West Coast Swing

Clint Bowyer’s season kicked off with a sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500 as the NASCAR Cup Series headed out West for the ‘West Coast Swing.’

The swing kicked off at Las Vegas where Bowyer went on to finish 12th. He followed up Vegas with the pole at Fontana but a disappointing 23rd place finish. However, things turned around as the swing wrapped up at Phoenix with his No. 14 Ford finishing fifth. Bowyer told Kickin’ the Tires, leaving the west with a top-five was a confidence and momentum booster. 

(Photo By: Nigel Kinrade Photography / NKP Photo)

“I think we are fine. I think we knew we would have growing pains learning each other,” said Bowyer. “But getting a top-five leaving the West Coast was definitely a confidence booster for all of us, a momentum booster and certainly something we can work on. We have a direction now which is the most important thing and we can march down that way.

“I think once we do get back to racing it will be like a whole new season starting, but you will already know your strengths and weaknesses and direction in which to build your cars. In a sense it’s the start of a new season, but that being said, I feel a lot more confident and headed down the right path.”

When Racing Resumes 

There are a lot of unknowns right now as of when NASCAR will see on track activity once again. The sport could see doubleheaders or mid-week races to make up well over a handful of races. Kickin’ the Tires asked Bowyer his thoughts on the possibility of either of those options. 

“In every crisis situation there are things to be learned and positives to bring out of it,” said Bowyer. “There’s certainly the opportunity to do a mid-week race or a one-day show or a double-header. All those options are on the table and we will get to see if it works first hand.”

iRacing

Clint Bowyer has competed in both Pro Invitational Series races on iRacing the past two weekends at virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and the virtual Texas Motor Speedway. He went on to finish 16th at Homestead and 11th at Texas.

Homestead was available for fans to watch on FS1 and the Fox Sports App, while Texas could be seen on Fox, FS1 and the Fox Sports App. The series will return this weekend at the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway with coverage returning to the three Fox options.

Bowyer weighed in on being a part of the experience and iRacing. 

“Yeah, what a wonderful opportunity for the sport, for racing in general.  iRacing has been around a long time and it’s just something that keeps evolving and they’ve perfected,” said Bowyer. “Man, the timing couldn’t have been anymore right for a perfect storm situation.  Here we all are, just longing for some sports action, some competitive action that we can broadcast and show a fan and, boom, here it is in our lap.  The opportunities that Fox has created for all of it, they took a chance. They didn’t probably know everything about iRacing. They jumped in the deep end, it worked and it’s gonna be even bigger and better.”

He Isn’t New to iRacing 

“We have had a partnership with iRacing on our dirt late model team for several years and we’ve run an iRacing team since last year,” said Bowyer. “I have always jumped on it from time to time even though a lot of people don’t know that.”

“My favorite thing to do on iRacing is not my day job. I came from dirt racing, so I love to get on there and burn laps on a dirt late model, a sprint car or midget. Heck, I have even done off road truck racing that I never got a chance to do. Those are my favorite things to do. A lot of my fans and peers get on and race Cup races and tracks we race on every week. For me, iRacing gives me a chance to drive something I have always wanted to drive but never had the chance. That’s why I love iRacing.”

It’s a Challenge

iRacing is the closest thing to the real on track experience as one can get and many drivers use it to prepare for upcoming races or just to have fun. Kickin’ the Tires asked Bowyer how challenging it is, and he weight in on that for us.  

“It is challenging for sure,” expressed Bowyer. “It’s like, who would have ever thought that this would have become a reality and then on our televisions, and then even more so who would have ever thought that it would have created a situation that had us all jumping up and down on the edge of our seats.  It’s an incredible opportunity for all of us to try to bridge the gap right here while we all wait to get back on the race track.  I couldn’t be happier.  I was extremely happy for our industry, happy for everybody involved, all parties involved, whether it was iRacing, NASCAR, Fox that provides us all this entertainment.”

This Is an Opportunity 

“Everybody is in this together.  Everybody is struggling through these times.  Our partners, each and every partner, every sponsor within the industry of NASCAR, everybody had an opportunity to be seen on Sunday because of this situation and being aired on Fox,” said Bowyer.

“We took a chance, and everybody buckled down and did the best they could, and it had a little bit of everything.  It was super-competitive.  It was still light-hearted and fun.  I think it was the perfect atmosphere for the situation and I think Fox seeing the viewership and getting more involved and excited about it. Putting it on the old big brother station, going to the network is going to be even bigger for everybody – again, all parties involved – whether it’s the industry of NASCAR, a driver and his brand, and all of his partners that back him.  This is all an opportunity to create some exposure for all of us until we get back on the race track in front of our fans.”

Keeping Busy

Without knowing when racing and what most would consider a normal schedule and life will resume, everyone is trying to stay as busy as possible in such trying times. Athletes, such as Bowyer and his own family are no different. 

“Just trying to keep the kids sane, trying to keep my wife sane, trying to help her.  We’re all in this together. Everybody is doing the same thing,” said Bowyer. “There’s no magic button to push.  There’s no secret ingredient.  We’re quarantined. It does suck. It sucks for everybody, but we’re doing this for a reason, we’re trying to protect one another and trying to keep everybody alive and healthy, and doing what our president and the government asks us to do.  This is the right step.  It is extremely damaging to everybody anywhere you look, you feel bad for restaurant owners, business owners, everything, but we’re gonna get through this.”

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