Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Toyota on Kansas

CLINT BOWYER: Toyota driver Clint Bowyer is headed home for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway.

Bowyer was born and raised about 100 miles from Kansas Speedway in Emporia, Kan. The proud Kansan maintains a strong connection to his hometown and earlier this year purchased the car dealership that he worked at as a teenager - the dealership formerly known as Emporia Motors and now referred to as the Clint Bowyer Autoplex. Team owner Michael Waltrip, NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrel Waltrip and future Hall of Famer Mark Martin joined Bowyer for the grand opening of the Clint Bowyer Autoplex on April 18 before the spring Kansas race.

Bowyer’s 79 Fund raised more than $1 million for the design and construction of the Clint Bowyer Community Building, which he then donated back to the community. The Community Building, a multi-use facility for community events including high school dances, weddings, town hall meetings and concerts, is located on the Lyon County Fairgrounds across the street from the Clint Bowyer Autoplex.

Bowyer ranks eighth in the Sprint Cup Series standings with 2,098 points. Bowyer trails point leader Matt Kenseth by 51 points with seven races remaining in the Sprint Cup season.

BOWYER ON KANSAS: “I love coming back to Kansas and think that they’ve done such a great job with turning Kansas Speedway into a destination track for NASCAR fans. It’s a fun place to visit with all the restaurants, shopping, sporting events and things to do within walking distance of the track. That all used to be farm field and now it’s like a whole new city centered around the racetrack. It’s one of the better experiences you can get going to a racetrack.”

BOWYER ON EMPORIA: “I was raised in Emporia. That means a lot to me. I love the people there and the community itself. I always want people to know that I’m from Kansas and that I’m proud of that. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be a bigger part of that community in recent years through the community building and now the car dealership. Who would have thought in a million years that the kid working in the shop cleaning cars for customers would one day own the place! That’s so surreal to me, but I have great partners with the folks from Davis Moore Auto Group and they keep the place going for me while I focus on my day job. I still have a lot of ideas and input, but they keep selling cars while I keep racing cars.”

MARTIN TRUEX JR. ON KANSAS SPEEDWAY: “We are thinking outside the box now because we really have nothing to lose. We are taking a list of things we want to try during the test. At Dover, we ended practice on Saturday with a fifth- or sixth-place car and we felt that wasn’t good enough. We’re in it to win at this point in our season. By thinking outside the box, we may find that little something that’s been missing.

“I’m looking forward to the test day to see how the new zone tread tires perform. We didn’t run it earlier in the year so I commend NASCAR for giving us the extra track time. We ran it at Atlanta so this will be the second race for the tires. I think it will be interesting and will give the crew chiefs something to think about and work on. It is a lot different than running the normal tire. It wants different things. I expect the setup notes to be a lot different now for Kansas and it will be totally different from what we experienced at Atlanta. I’ve never run this type of tire on a repaved or a newer track.

“In the spring race, the groove opened up a lot more than it did last year. I really love Kansas. It doesn’t have a lot of banking for a mile-and-a-half track, but it’s still really fast. The corners are sweeping. There is just something about Kansas that this team has hit on. It’s been a really good track for this NAPA team. I can’t wait to go there. It’s definitely a place where I have a lot of confidence. I hope our NAPA Toyota will be better than all the rest.”

TRUEX ON THE CURRENT MINDSET OF THE NO. 56 TEAM: “The last couple of weeks we’ve been through a lot. It’s been a very difficult time. There are two things we can do. We can either give up or go out and try and win seven races. My NAPA team has been working so hard and with such a great attitude that we want to win. I cannot ask for a better bunch of guys. I am so proud of them for it.”

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