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Bowyer: Racing is 'about what you're going to do tomorrow'
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Those heat-of-the-moment tirades that fans are able to hear during the course of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race might be entertaining, but they don't always tell the whole story, according to HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer . "Whether I'm frustrated or happy or whatever … whether it's a (celebration) or a pissed off moment that happens, the wick's pretty short," Bowyer said Thursday at Kansas Speedway , site of Saturday's GoBowling 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "It burns out in about five minutes. The next thing out of my mouth is 'Alright, now what are we going to do to fix it?' " Bowyer, 36, is in a transition year, spending the 2016 season as driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet for HSM. He'll move over to Stewart-Haas Racing in '17, inheriting the No. 14 ride currently occupied by co-owner/driver Tony Stewart . An early-season start that saw the driver finish inside the top 20 only once in seven races frustrated the eight-time winner, and that frustration often could be heard as he vented to his team on the radio during races. But it's what takes place after the pot has boiled over, he said, that determines what occurs next. "I don't ever care about yesterday or what happened in a practice or a race," he said. "… This sport is all about what you're going to do tomorrow. That's what you have to instill into yourself and everybody around you to be able to go out there and get the job done, compete at the level I know we're capable of competing at for our sponsors and for ourselves." Bowyer hasn't been to Victory Lane in a Sprint Cup race since the 2012 season, a span of 123 races. He did qualify for last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup based on points earned, but was eliminated in the first round. HScott fields two Sprint Cup teams -- the No. 15 of Bowyer as well as the No. 46 for driver Michael Annett . Bowyer enters this weekend's race 27th in points while Annett is 35th. But two of the last three races have seen Bowyer finish inside the top 10 -- he was eighth at Bristol and seventh most recently at Talladega. "I was struggling to get that kind of consistency where I was last year," he said of his final season at the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing . "When you're down, most of the time there's a reason, especially when you're down as far as we' re down. We had work to do; we're starting to get some new waves of cars built, get some things to where we are satisfied with them and excited about bringing them to the track and seeing what our hard work has done. That's all you can do." Anyone should be frustrated, he said, if they felt their performance as a driver or their team's performance wasn't up to par. That doesn't mean a team no longer attempts to improve. "When you're running good, it's easy," Bowyer said. "When you're running bad, it's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. I don't care what organization you're at or how much depth you have or anything else. It's that simple. … "This is hard. This is a hard business and it's very competitive. If you're good, you better work hard to stay good or you're not going to be there long. If you're bad, you've got to work hard to get caught up."
Michael Waltrip Racing penalty upheld in appeal
RELATED: Official release on appeal A three-member appeals panel upheld P4-grade penalties issued to Michael Waltrip Racing 's No. 15 Toyota team Wednesday, severely hampering driver Clint Bowyer 's hopes of advancing from the first round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The National Motorsports Appeals Panel -- which heard the team's appeal at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina -- ruled that the Waltrip -owned organization violated the rules set forth in the penalty notice and the panel affirms and upholds the original penalty assessed by NASCAR. On Sept. 23, NASCAR handed down punishment for an illegally mounted track bar and suspension infractions as part of pre-race technical violations after the postseason-opening race Sept. 20 at Chicagoland Speedway , stripping Bowyer of 25 points in the drivers' championship standings, suspending crew chief Billy Scott for three races and fining the team $75,000. The penalties were issued at the P4 level of discipline in the NASCAR deterrence system, which went into effect in the 2014 season. Scott, who was also placed on probation for six months, was atop the No. 15 team's pit box last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after MWR deferred the penalty until after the appeals process. RELATED: Bowyer to drive No. 14 car for SHR in 2017 Michael Waltrip Racing plans to cease operations at season's end and it was announced on Wednesday that Bowyer will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017, while he hinted that light will be shed on his 2016 plans shortly. The team announced later Wednesday that it would not appeal the ruling. "We are disappointed with the outcome of today's ruling and still feel our interpretation is within the guidelines," according to the statement. "Rather than continue the appeals process, MWR is ready to focus 100 percent of our company's resources on winning at Dover and trying to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup ." With the penalty upheld, Bowyer remains last among the 16 playoff drivers in the Chase, 39 points behind 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who holds a tenuous grip on the final berth to avoid elimination and move to the next postseason segment. The title-eligible Chase field will be whittled to 12 after the Challenger Round finale, Sunday's AAA 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at Dover. The three members on the National Motorsports Appeals Panel chosen to hear Wednesday's appeal were Paul Brooks, Bill Lester and Bill Mullis.
Appeal date set for Michael Waltrip Racing
RELATED: Bowyer drops to 16th in Chase standings after penalty Michael Waltrip Racing formally filed its appeal of the No. 15 team's P4 penalty on Thursday, one day after NASCAR handed down the original punishment. MWR's appeal will be heard Wednesday, Sept. 30, but the team's request to defer suspensions was granted -- that means Clint Bowyer 's crew chief Billy Scott is permitted to sit atop the pit box at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend. The team's original penalty consisted of Bowyer losing 25 driver points, team co-owner Rob Kauffman docked 25 owner points and Scott fined $75,000 and suspended for three races. Scott was also placed on probation for six months. RELATED: MWR caught with hand in cookie jar
Michael Waltrip driving in Daytona 500
RELATED: 2016 Driver Tracker " Daytona Speedweeks schedule Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip announced Thursday that he will compete in this year's season-opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event as driver of the BK Racing No. 83 Toyota. Waltrip , 52, made the announcement during the FS1 program "Race Hub." "It's a great opportunity for us to expand our team and go racing ," Waltrip said, adding that Maxwell House will provide sponsorship. BK Racing will field three teams at Daytona, with Waltrip joining current BKR drivers Matt DiBenedetto and David Ragan . DiBenedetto competed for the team in the No. 83 last season while Ragan, who joined BKR during the offseason, will be in the team's No. 23 Toyota. With Waltrip in the No. 83, the organization will field a third entry for DiBenedetto at Daytona International Speedway . It is believed to be a one-race deal for Waltrip , who made three starts last season and has made no more than four starts annually since 2010. Waltrip scored his first NASCAR premier series victory in 2001 when he won the Daytona 500 , a race that was marred by the death of seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt. Waltrip came back to win the 500 again in 2003. He also won the summer race at Daytona in 2002 and the fall event at Talladega Superspeedway in 2003. Waltrip was also a team owner – his Michael Waltrip Racing organization fielded full-time teams with the backing of Toyota, which entered the series in 2007. MWR drivers won seven times before the organization closed its doors at the end of the 2015 season. Waltrip has 28 career starts in the "Great American Race." The 58th running of the Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 21 (1 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
Science of a crew chief: Randolph takes unusual path to racing
Doug Randolph graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. So it was only natural that the Morristown, Tennessee, native eventually found employment in racing . "I use it every day," Randolph said, grinning. If you think he's kidding, think again. "The definition of wildlife biology is it's a science and it's an art, manipulating habitat for animals. To me, racing is the same way," said Randolph, crew chief for driver Tyler Reddick and the No. 29 Cooper Standard Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series. "If you go into it 100 percent engineering driven, and you forget the art of it, the pumping your driver up, assessing where his head is, you might not be able to pull off the success you want. For sure, that definition plays a huge role in racing I think." Reddick is eighth in points following two straight top 10s -- a seventh-place finish at Dover and a fourth-place showing at Charlotte. Teammate Daniel Hemric is third in the standings. Randolph didn't set out to become a crew chief, but he did hope to be involved in racing in some capacity. And not just videotaping local races from the top of a press box in an effort to lure fans to the local pizza join for viewing and a meal later. Yeah, he really did that. "One of my best friends worked for Mr. Gatti's Pizza and we went around to softball games, local races and videotaped them," Randolph said. "Then we'd try to convince people at the games or races to eat at Mr. Gatti's and watch the replays. "He and I would get on top of the press box. He would video and I would sit there and drink beer, to be honest. But those were good times." Randolph has served as crew chief in all three of NASCAR's national series, winning in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with drivers Scott Riggs and Clint Bowyer , as well as the Camping World Truck Series with Ryan Blaney , Keselowski and Reddick. There were near-wins in Sprint Cup , second-place finishes at Bristol (with Jimmy Spencer) and Talladega (with Paul Menard ). But his start came with a local standout, L.D. Ottinger, a Newport, Tennessee-based driver. Randolph was on the crew in 1990 when Ottinger won an event in what is now known as the XFINITY Series at Bristol Motor Speedway . It was in that race that Michael Waltrip survived one of the most devastating crashes in NASCAR, his car exploding after striking the exposed corner of the outside wall. "Nobody will ever remember who won the race; they'll always remember the wreck," Randolph said. "L.D. wasn't the first one by the wreck, but he took everyone down pit road. And when he did, he said 'He's dead.' He said it three times. "They red-flagged the race … it was hard." Incredibly, Waltrip was not injured. The time spent working for Ottinger helped lay the foundation for what was to come. "Probably one of the best people for somebody that didn't know anything about racing to learn from," Randolph said, "because his attention to detail. I'd be putting the fender decals on and one might be just a little crooked. He'd say, 'You've got to fix that' and I'd say, 'They can't see it from the stands.' He'd say, 'Yeah but I'll be driving around the race track worried that that thing's crooked.' " Understanding professors helped Randolph complete his college education while still heading to the race tracks each weekend. Eventually, he made the decision to "do this racing gig for a year or two. "L.D.'s led into going to Junior Johnson's and, man, once you're there, how do you leave racing ?," Randolph said. Johnson, an inaugural member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame and one of the sport's legendary figures, won 50 times as a driver, and nearly three times that often as an owner (132 all told). Randolph's first job as crew chief came in 2001, at Bill Davis Racing with driver Dave Blaney . Eleven years later, he helped guide Blaney's son, Ryan, to the win in a Truck Series race at Iowa. He's found a home in the series, and a home at Brad Keselowski Racing . "When you're Cup racing , that is your life," Randolph said. "You have no (other) life. I've got a wonderful wife, wonderful kids. Truck racing came for me at a point in my life when my daughter was in high school playing every sport imaginable. I missed a lot of that with my son. It was great to experience it with my daughter. … "We're very lucky here that Brad has given us an organization with a definite vision that's different. He wants to give back to the sport and he's given us the freedom to go and do it. We have a great group of guys that support each other. It's a lot of fun. If you're Cup racing and you're not one of those first five guys, you're not having any fun." But there's stress at every level of racing , and that's "what you hope for," he admitted. "You hope there is a stressful situation and you and your driver and your team can get through it better than the next guy."
Michael Waltrip Racing supports STEM initiative
Race shop hosts event to promote science, technology, engineering, math CORNELIUS, N.C. -- The questions weren't surprising and ranged from "how much do you make" to "how did you get interested in racing ." Nothing too bizarre to start off, and with just enough feedback to keep the trip interesting and the attendees attentive. Last month, Michael Waltrip Racing and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Brian Vickers hosted approximately 30 teenagers from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte (Mecklenburg and Union Counties). It was one of four events the organization took part in this year to help demonstrate the importance of STEM, an academic curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math. According to the U.S. Department of Education ( www.ed.gov/stem ), "only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. Even among those who do go on to pursue a college major in the STEM fields, only about half choose to work in a related career. The United States is falling behind internationally, ranking 25th in mathematics and 17th in science among industrialized nations." Following the screening of a short video and the open discussion, the teens, ranging in age from 13 to 18, toured the expansive facility where MWR personnel explained the engineering and safety aspects of today's Sprint Cup Series cars in a more hands-on setting. Vickers, a three-time winner in Sprint Cup and a former NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, said he has tried to tailor his approach to the interest of each individual group. "I wouldn't say it's changed it dramatically but certainly there are some things you learn as you go through the process," he said. "It's interesting. Every group is different, some are totally engaged, absolutely thought it was the coolest thing ever, especially the younger kids. The older groups, when you're in high school ... they want to pretend like they're not impressed even though they are. They're just that age where all their peers' opinions really matter so you have to really pull it out of them. "One mistake I made early on was just hammering science, technology, engineering and math. Because that's what it's about, right? I think it should be an integral part of it but the reality is you're not going to get 100 kids in one room and they all want to be engineers." The bigger picture, he said, was the opportunity to promote the value of getting an education. And that was the message he tried to impress upon the teens. "Something I have learned is that everyone here is intrigued by different things. Maybe it doesn't involve STEM, but maybe it does," he said. "What I would say to you is you should take your education seriously, but do something you love. Maybe it is working on race cars or building rockets or building skyscrapers, whatever. Maybe it's writing a play, or maybe it's being the next great artist. I don't know. "I'm not going to stand here and tell you that you need to be an engineer if that's not something that intrigues you. But I will tell you that your education is one of the most valuable assets you're going to have in your life." He doesn't undersell the importance of the STEM program, however. Integrating it with the Boys and Girls Clubs has been a success from the standpoint of providing youngsters with hands-on learning opportunities. In addition to the tour of the race shop, the teens were also the guests of the team at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It works for us," Vickers said of the program. "Because that's what racing is about. It's engineering-based. One of the last ones we did was in Atlanta, and we got just some amazing responses. "Those kids were so engaged. They had these dreams, and yeah, some of them, a big group of them in fact, wanted to be engineers. We had two or three that really wanted to work on race teams. And one young boy wanted to be an architect, a couple wanted to be musicians. ... And that's great. "But to only talk about (engineering), I think, it doesn't go as well. So I've kind of opened it up a little bit more; still focus on that but talk to them about what do they want to do, what are they interested in?" So just how much does he earn? "I always get that question," he said, laughing. "I do pretty well."
Teams seek final rules clarity before Sprint All-Star Race
CONCORD, N.C. -- Questions about gamesmanship and tire requirements dotted the drivers' meeting before Saturday's NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, prompting several "what-if" scenarios for the annual non-points event. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director Richard Buck spelled out the race's unique procedures in a nearly six-minute instructional in the Charlotte Motor Speedway garage, but there was conjecture about some of the rules. Teams will compete in three segments (50 laps, 50 laps, 13 laps), with pit road closing on Lap 85 of the second segment. The top nine, 10 or 11 cars -- the number is selected by random draw during the Lap 100 break before the 13-lap final shootout -- will be required to pit for four tires. The basis for the format is to spice up the running order, putting cars with fresher tires behind those in front with older rubber for the dash to the finish. Chad Knaus, crew chief for the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson , was the first to ask about the requirement in the question-and-answer session that followed. "I got a little lost there through some of that," Knaus said, before asking Buck if a caution flag during the final 13-lap segment would allow all teams to stop and change tires if they were damaged by an incident. "There's many scenarios there," Buck said. "The premise is to have cars with 15-laps-old tires on them and cars behind them with new tires on them. We will not permit gaming of that. If we have an incident, for an example, we will have to go red and clean it up, we'll take care of that situation, we'll come back to it and then allow the teams to pit on or around (Lap) 85, wherever that may be, or any circumstance like that." Kyle Busch piped up: "That didn't answer the question. Chad's talking about in the last segment, in the last 13 laps if there's a wreck, not after Lap 85 in the second segment, you follow? He's asking about 100 and 113." Buck told the room that the field would not be allowed to take tires. Pressed by Busch about whether tires flat-spotted in a spin or damaged by running over debris would be fair game for a change, Buck replied: "That's EIRI (except in rare instances). Like I said, we'll manage that from the tower." Defending race winner Denny Hamlin , Busch's Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, was the next to raise his hand, asking whether the "100 percent rule" requiring competitors to race at their fullest ability was in effect. Buck replied in the affirmative. The question was prompted by suggestions that drivers might hold back and aim for 12th place or further back before the final segment, allowing them to have the benefit of four fresh tires for the final shootout. The "100 percent rule" was added in September 2013 in the wake of the Richmond scandal, where the former Michael Waltrip Racing team was penalized for attempting to manipulate the race results. Buck also said in his explanation of rules that NASCAR officials would make a mandatory lug-nut check during the two breaks between segments. Buck said the penalty for missing or loose lug nuts not fastened up against the wheel will require the offending team to remedy the issue, sending them to the tail of field.
Michael Waltrip : 'I gave it all I had'
Michael Waltrip Racing will run its final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The two-car team is shuttering its doors at the end of the season. Team owner Michael Waltrip was in a sentimental mood on Twitter late Thursday night and shared some thoughts: Ever built something really special? Where everyone involved in it was really proud to be part of it and then see it end? Happened to me — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 When from the beginning it was a struggle but you persevered, never taking no for an answer. Then you overcame the seemingly impossible.. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 You provided jobs for 100s of families, you gave young racers a chance, you won, and contended for a @NASCAR Cup championship. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 Sunday it'll be hard, but I'll choose to smile. We were underdogs who nearly survived in a grown ups world. Ultimately we didn't win it all — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 But what I will remember is more important to me than the statistics that @MWRteam will be judged by. People appreciate coming to work. — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015 So don't feel sorry for me. I think we get more from what we give. And I gave it all I had. And that's all I have to say about that. ✌️ — Michael Waltrip (@mw55) November 20, 2015
Michael Waltrip responds to MWR announcement
Michael Waltrip responds to the announcement that Michael Waltrip Racing would allow Clint Bowyer to pursue other teams at the end of the year, and that his racing team would not field a full time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2016.
Darrell, Michael Waltrip earn fourth quarter NMPA Spirit Award
Annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event recognized Darrell and Michael Waltrip have been selected by the National Motorsports Press Association as the organization's Spirit Award recipient for the fourth quarter of 2014. The brothers were recognized for their annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, which raised $450,000 through an auction, dinner and golf tournament. The proceeds from the fifth annual event benefit several organizations including Motor Racing Outreach (a non-profit organization that ministers to the needs of families of those involved in NASCAR ), Feed the Children (a U.S.-based anti-hunger organization) and Tucker's House (an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities that require modifications at home for safety, accessibility and therapy). Darrell Waltrip was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, won three premier series titles and 84 premier series races in his storied career. Michael Waltrip is a four-time winner in the sport's premier series with two victories in the Daytona 500 and is also the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing , which fields two full-time cars in the Sprint Cup Series . Also receiving votes for the second quarter award were the Kyle Busch Foundation and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter . Lynda Petty, the late wife of seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr . and longtime car owner Junie Donlavey, who passed away in June, have also won the quarterly award this year. An overall winner of the 2014 NMPA Spirit Award will be determined by the members of the NMPA and announced on January 25, 2015 at the association's annual convention in Concord, North Carolina. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the race of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule