Pit Note No. 6: Fresh Start for Clint Bowyer
That's how Clint Bowyer kicked off the final portion of Tuesday's 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowyer certainly had an extra pep in his step and showed off his charismatic personality, both of which were sorely missed during a tough 2016 season.
Bowyer, an eight-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner, scored just three top-10 finishes last season. A switch to Stewart-Haas Racing for 2017 could be just the change he needs.
"A lot of thought goes into the new season, with a new life, a new chance, new crack at bat, new sponsor, new teammates and a new organization," said Bowyer, who will pilot the No. 14 Ford for SHR. "What an unbelievable opportunity it is to go out and do what you love to do, and do it in first-class equipment.
"There's no fluff and buff (at SHR); no sales pitch when you walk through the door. It's just guys with their heads down, working, digging and building race cars that go fast - and those are the kinds of hot rods you want to be in."
One of Bowyer's new teammates, Kevin Harvick, is proof that the switch to SHR can be a career-defining move. In his first three years with SHR, Harvick has 12 wins and captured the first championship of his career in 2014. He followed that up with a second-place finish in 2015.
During this past offseason, SHR announced it was switching manufacturers from Chevrolet to Ford. Harvick called the change a "massive undertaking," but a switch that shouldn't yield any setbacks.
"Everybody's a little anxious to get on the track. The hardest things come from a technology side and pulling things out of a database and simulation - but we may never miss a beat on the race track, and that's our goal," said Harvick. "We want to come out of the box strong and run for another championship.
"I think you have to … be realistic about everything. I think there are still things to be realistic with expectations. We all know that. We just need a direction and know where we stand. It's all going to be good and we'll make it that way."
The 35th Annual NASCAR Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway runs through Wednesday.
Driver media availabilities will be streamed live throughout the event on NASCAR.com. Daily updates will be available at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow #CMSMediaTour for all the latest updates.