Saturday, August 11, 2012

Drivers to Watch: Bowyer versus Truex

The Chase season starts in five short weeks and competitors are driving hard for wins – at this point, it’s anyone’s game. All of these drivers are contenders and counting anyone out is premature. We saw Tony Stewart win five out of ten races last fall, so the chance to see something more or less impressive is realistic.

For this series of “Drivers to Watch” articles that we have been posting this week, I asked my fellow writers to weigh in with their thoughts on drivers as I compared the top contenders. Today Amber Klima and I weigh on our thoughts about Truex and Bowyer's season. 

Martin Truex Jr.  - 7th in points -  0 wins, 1 poles,  1 DNF
Clint Bowyer  8th in points- 1 win, 0 poles, 2 DNFs

Martin Truex Jr. at NHMS in July 2011
Photo Credit: Genevieve 
Martin Truex Jr. is looking for win number two in the Sprint Cup series. He hasn't been to victory lane since 2007.  He almost had a win in Kansas but Denny Hamlin passed him and Truex Jr. had to settle for a sixth place finish.  Still, his season hasn't been so bad; he's fifth in points and it is likely that he will be able to hold on to that spot. He could score that second victory for MWR. Truex Jr. has been the Michael Waltrip Racing driver of the No. 56 NAPA Toyota Camry for the past two years and his team seems to finally be coming together. As long as Truex stays consistent and he doesn't run into any bad luck on track, then he could finish within the top 12.

Clint Bowyer is a talented, dependable driver who is consistent. With six career wins, 35 top fives and 106 top-10 finishes in 238 starts. One of those wins came earlier this year at Sonoma. Bowyer missed the Chase season in 2011 - but not by much. Now racing for Michael Waltrip and 5-HOUR Energy, he's in a good position: eighth in points. With two wins at Talladega and two at New Hampshire, both tracks in the Chase, the chance for Bowyer to score a repeat victory is realistic. He'll have to have solid finishes to move up significantly in the points, but either way, Bowyer is on the rise and I believe his chance to finish in the top five this year is realistic. He can cement that in one race.

Amber - what do you think?
Clint Bowyer in Martinsviille April 1st, 2012
Photo Credit: Genevieve

Martin Truex Jr. - I agree that his team is finally starting to  come together, but I don't think it is soon enough to make a big difference this season. However, I do believe that Truex will have at least one win before the end of the season. He is showing more confidence in himself as a driver which is resulting in better finishes. As long as he keeps up this consistency, he will be able to finish within the top ten in points. When the season ends and he has that top-ten finish in the record books, he will be able to carry some momentum over into the next season. It is important that he doesn't have any major engine problems, crashes or DNFs during the remainder of this season. I have high hopes for his performance during the 2013 season.

Clint Bowyer - He is a very talented driver, but not as consistent as he could be at this time. That, in my opinion, is the only thing that is holding him back. If Bowyer didn't have the two DNFs then he would be higher in the points standings. Honestly, I think it is too late in the season for him to bounce back from the two DNFs especially having only one win. I truly think that the move to MWR is what Bowyer needed and seems to be the key to turning his career around. He has had more top ten finishes, and is running towards the front more than he was last season. Bowyer just needs to keep heading in the right direction. As long as he finishes the 2012 season on a positive note then I feel that Bowyer will be even more successful next year.


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