2011 Stats: Points Finish 13th, 1 Win, 4 Top Fives, 16 Top Tens, Average Running Position 14.5, Average Finish 15.5, Laps Led 345, Driver Rating 87.5
Strengths- Bowyer is at his best on restrictor plate tracks, short tracks, short flat tracks and Infineon.
Weaknesses- Clint Bowyer is as consistent of a driver as they come. He holds the modern era record for completing the most races in a row without a DNF (83 races). In 2012 I think his level of consistency will take a step back. MWR cars are much more susceptible to equipment reliability issues then RCR cars.
Intermediate Track Grade- B, Clint Bowyer scored the 12th most points in the series on this track type in 2011. His strength is largely based on consistency, not on dominating performances. Last year he only had one top five finish and led 83 laps (44 in the spring Texas race). In 2012 I think he’ll take a step back at these venues.
Flat Track Grade- B+, On paper Clint Bowyer had a dismal year on the short flat tracks in 2011. He only had one top ten and had a 20th place average finish . In the fall New Hampshire race he came close to winning but ran out of gas in the closing laps. Martin Treux Jr. was good on the short flat tracks last season so I wouldn’t expect anything different from Clint Bowyer.
I don’t think Clint Bowyer will be effected by a scenery change at the big flat tracks. Last year Treux finished 10th and 12th at Pocono. Those finishes were actually better than Bowyers. What those finishes really represent is MWR’s ability to create big horsepower when needed.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- A-, Clint Bowyer has arguably become the safest pick in the series at these wild card venues. At Talladega he’s finished in the top twelve in seven of the last eight races. In these races he’s outscored his closest competitor by 30 points and his second closest by 85 points.
His level of consistency hasn’t been as high at Daytona. In the last five races he only has one top fifteen finish. Before this five race stretch he had a 11.1 average finish.
So why didn’t I give him an A? I think a key reason to his success was RCR equipment. He’s won races with it, Kevin Harvick’s won races with it, Paul Menard scored the most points in the series on this track type last season and Jeff Burton has the best Talladega driver rating in the last seven races there.
Short Track Grade- B+, Clint Bowyer is one tier below the elite short track drivers. His 2011 results provide a poor sampling of just how good he is on these tracks.
At Bristol Bowyer is in the midst of a tough stretch. He’s only finished in the top ten once in the last six races. In the four previous races he was 4 for 4 in terms of finishing in the top ten. Martin Treux Jr. has been pretty good here so I expect Bowyer to find success at the coliseum of racing.
Martinsville is a good track for Bowyer. In the last ten races he’s only finished outside the top eleven three times. Despite Treux finishing in the top ten in 2 of the last four races I’m slightly concerned he won’t be as good in MWR equipment.
Bowyer is almost always a lock for a top ten finish at Richmond, the site of his first career win. He sports a 10.5 average finish and has only finished outside the top twenty once.
Road Course Track Grade- B+, Clint Bowyer has been successful at Infineon throughout his career. In the last five races he’s finished 4th, 31st, 8th, 4th and 4th. Only Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart have scored more than him in this span.
From a career perspective Watkins Glen has been much tougher on Bowyer. However his 9th and 11th place finishes in recent years show that he can be trusted.
How to use Clint Bowyer from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? In 2012 I would really focus on using Bowyer at the “skill tracks”. I would lean heavily on him at Talladega, short tracks, and short flat tracks. He’s strong at Infineon but if you’re in an allocation league I think there will be better picks available.
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