DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 11, 2010) – Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper team secured a ninth-place starting spot for the Daytona 500 after finishing fourth in Thursday’s Duel 150.
Bowyer & Co. had to start the 60-lap race at the rear of the field in their backup car after blowing a right-front tire in Wednesday’s practice session. The Shane Wilson-led team remained optimistic that their other No. 33 Chevrolet Impala would perform well once the green-flag dropped.
The Emporia, Kan., native proved that correct as he picked up 10 positions before the event’s first yellow flag waved on lap 25. During the ensuing caution period, the Helping Hands over-the-wall pit crew sprang into action, changing four tires, adding fuel and making a slight chassis adjustment. A lightning-fast pit stop by the Helping Hands crew netted Bowyer one position for the lap-30 restart.
Two laps later, near disaster struck when Bowyer was shuffled out of a three-car pack, got loose and made contact with another competitor to bring out the afternoon’s second caution. The No. 33 team fixed the minor cosmetic damage and sent Bowyer back on track to restart 24th on lap 35.
The 30-year-old driver dug down deep, once again, racing his way back into the top 10 over the next 11 circuits. The event’s final caution flag waved on lap 53, setting the stage for a final trip down pit lane and a four-lap shootout to the checkered flag.
Two tires were bolted on to the No. 33 Impala and the quick pit work lined Bowyer up ninth for the lap-56 restart. With two laps to go, Bowyer’s savvy driving skills afforded him the second position. He then was shuffled out of the draft but managed to get back in line directly behind his teammate Kevin Harvick.
With the checkered flag waving, Bowyer tried to push Harvick to victory, but Chevy driver Jimmie Johnson was able to hold off the RCR duo to cross the finish line 0.005 seconds ahead Harvick. Kyle Busch finished third, Bowyer was fourth and Regan Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
Bowyer’s other RCR teammate Jeff Burton blew a right-front tire and made heavy contact with the outer retaining wall on lap 24. Burton will have to start in the back of the field for Sunday’s 500-mile race as the No. 31 team will have to go to their back-up Chevy.
FOX’s live coverage of the Daytona 500 will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, Feb. 14. The race can also be heard on the Motor Racing Network and Sirius XM Satellite Radio.
Clint Bowyer Quote: “I’m really proud of Shane Wilson (crew chief) and all the No. 33 guys for their hard work. We had to start in the back, but their offseason preparation showed how our back-up car ran today. I tried to push Kevin (Harvick) around Jimmie (Johnson) at the end, but we just came up short. We learned a lot about how this No. 33 Chevy will handle on Sunday and we’re looking forward to have another strong run to start the season.”