Late Surge Propels No. 14 ‘Built Ford Proud’ Mustang
Date: May 31, 2020
Event: Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 (Round 9 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Format: 500 laps, broken into three stages (125 laps/125 laps/250 laps)
Start/Finish: 23rd/2nd (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Point Standing: 12th with 232 points, 138 out of first
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):
● Clint Bowyer started 23rd and finished 12th.
● The No. 14 “Built Ford Proud” Mustang held its position early in the race before stopping at the lap 20 competition caution.
● Bowyer moved from 29th to 19th before pitting during the second competition caution on lap 60.
● Bowyer began turning “crazy fast times” according to the crew driving from 17th to 12th before the end of the stage.
● During the stage break, Bowyer pitted for adjustments to help the car’s rotation in the turns.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):
● Bowyer started 10th and finished sixth to earn five bonus points.
● The No. 14 “Built Ford Proud” Mustang faded to 16th by lap 180 with Bowyer reporting the car was “really tight.”
● Bowyer pitted for major adjustments to fix the issue during a caution on lap 200.
● The changes helped as Bowyer clawed back to 10th by lap 230 when a nine-car accident stopped the race for 11 minutes.
● Bowyer restarted the race in 10th with just 15 laps left and moved to eighth before another caution slowed the field.
● Bowyer jumped from eighth to sixth in the seven-lap green flag run to end the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):
● Bowyer started 14th, finished second.
● The No. 14 “Built Ford Proud” Mustang moved to eighth by the caution on lap 360.
● Over the next 70 laps, tight handling issues plus cars with fresher tires shuffled Bowyer back to 15th.
● Bowyer pitted for adjustments and restarted the race in 14th with 61 laps remaining.
● Things got worse as Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman made contact sending Newman into Bowyer causing significant left-side damage to the No. 14.
● Bowyer restarted the race in 13th with 37 laps remaining. Immediately after the restart Bowyer deftly avoided a seven-car accident in front of him.
● Bowyer restarted ninth with 30 laps to go and used fresh tires to drive to fifth before the next caution flew with 10 to go.
● The race restarted with just five laps remaining and it didn’t take long for the leaders Joey Logano and Chase Elliott to start beating and banging.
● Bowyer never lifted as the pair collided and slid into the wall to claim second place.
● There weren’t enough laps to chase down Keselowski for the victory.
● Bowyer earned his second top-five and third top-10 of the season, and his eighth top-five and 16th top-10 in 29 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.
● This is Bowyer’s fifth straight top-10 at Bristol and his seventh top-10 in the last nine races at Bristol.
● Since joining SHR in 2017, Bowyer has only finished outside the top-10 once at Bristol.
● Keselowski won the Food City presents the Supermarket Heroes 500 to score his 32nd career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his third at Bristol. His margin of victory over second-place Bowyer was .471 of a second.
● This was Ford’s series-best fifth win of the season and its 691st all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.
● This was Ford’s 38th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Bristol. The last Ford driver to win at Bristol was Kurt Busch in August 2018 while a member of SHR.
● There were 17 caution periods for a total of 102 laps.
● Only 22 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 24-point advantage over second-place Joey Logano.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 ‘Built Ford Proud’ Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“Wow what a finish. That got wild. The boys hung in there and just kept digging. The old girl said “Built Ford Proud” when she probably should have said “Built Ford Tough” because she had all four corners knocked off it. We actually struggled pretty bad with our setup. I don’t know, it was floating the nose really bad up off the corner all day long. I could gain and make some ground up in the center of the corner in, and in the middle, but if I had to pass somebody and turn underneath of them I didn’t have the real estate. The outside was no man’s land for me. I couldn’t get my front end to turn at all.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Folds of Honor 500 on Sunday, June 7 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.