CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Make no mistake, Clint Bowyer is amped up about returning to Stewart-Haas Racing for a second-consecutive season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
But on the flip side of that coin, Bowyer continues to harbor excitement about being involved in the dirt world as a team owner as well.
The two-car Clint Bowyer Racing team will again plan to tackle the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series with drivers Don O’Neal and Darrell Lanigan this year, fresh off the heels of finishing fourth (O’Neal) and sixth (Lanigan) in the series standings in 2017.
“As far as the dirt stuff, it’ll be kind of the same old thing, (running the) Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series,” Bowyer confirmed on Tuesday, during the opening day of the 36th annual NASCAR Media Tour presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We’re definitely looking forward to getting back at it.”
Bowyer circled dirt track racing as a winter refresher and something that brings him joy when he’s not busy with his “day job” at the Cup level.
“That is fun in the offseason for me, having the team and being at the shop when I can,” Bowyer smiled. “I was actually polishing the side of the hauler yesterday. All the tires came in for (Florida) Speedweeks … there’s literally a semi-load of tires to be mounted. The guys are going to test in Brunswick (Georgia) for the first race of the year. Penske was there with a shock guy and going though all that stuff. There’s just a lot going on right now.”
“It’s a type of racing that’s become ultra competitive … and it has really become even more so as the engineering and everything has crept into it, just like in this sport (NASCAR). But that is my fun, man. That is what I do for fun. That is what I enjoy. I am at the shop and I enjoy that during the week, working on those cars. It’s no different than the Cup Series. You have new stuff, we got the pit box done and the new hot rods are sitting there … the engines, I just put one in and blew some smoke yesterday in the five-ball. That’s what it is all about. When you’re a racer, you can’t get away from it. If it’s the offseason and there is a hot-rod sitting there, you’re going to be working on it.”
While Bowyer is unable to be at the track with his dirt late model team very often due to his schedule on the NASCAR side, he said he trusts the people he has managing the operation to keep the bar high.
“My guys on that front do a great job,” Bowyer affirmed. “I am very proud of our dirt program and enjoy it and love the partnerships we have. A lot of those things have been with me a long time. I really enjoy it.”
Asked if he would consider racing one of his own dirt late models, Bowyer said that while he’d like to do so and that he enjoys the fun factor of dirt racing, the current depth of competition and his own full schedule make the scenario a tough ask.
“I used to (race dirt late models) all the time; I just don’t have time anymore,” the Kansas native explained. “Between that and the fact that it’s gotten so competitive … you can’t just show up like that now.”
“It used to be that you could just get in and out-drive somebody, but now, the equipment is so even that the guys who do it every day and for a living are down the road with it. You can’t just show up and compete anymore, even though you wish sometimes it were easier to do.”
Clint Bowyer Racing will kick off the 2018 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series season Feb. 2-3 at Golden Isles Speedway in Brunswick, Ga.
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 24-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
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