Clint Bowyer is one of the best drivers in the Cup Series at Sonoma.
Bowyer scored his first and only win at the track in 2012, but has been a mainstay in the top 10. He has eight top-10 finishes in 11 starts at the California road course. And six of those eight have been top fives.
Last year’s electrical problems that cut his race after five laps led to a 40th-place finish meant 2016 was the first time since 2010 that Bowyer had finished outside the top 10 at Sonoma.
“I have no idea how this became one of my best tracks,” Bowyer said. “It sucks that my stats got knocked down by catching on fire five laps into the race last year.”
Bowyer is currently 12th in the points standings. But with eight drivers in the top 12 winless and nine drivers with official wins to qualify for the playoffs, Bowyer would be on the outside of the playoffs if they began today. A second Sonoma win would be a big deal.
Bowyer hasn’t been as good at Watkins Glen, the Cup Series’ other road course, compared to Sonoma. He’s finished in the top 10 just four times there. There must be something about Sonoma that he likes.
“You are way more at ease here,” Bowyer said. “This is a short track with finesse, rear grip, take care of your tires, type of track. But again, beating and banging and getting the most [out of] getting under someone and out-braking them. I think this is a much more technical track than Watkins Glen.
“I don’t want to knock the Glen. When you go there, it is balls to the wall. You have to be extremely good on braking and have a fast race car. Here, I feel you can carry things a little more at a track like this. Both of them are a ton of fun and so unique. That is the thing. We race and chase each other in circles non-stop. It is refreshing to have a break like this when we come out here and go to Watkins Glen.”
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