On the Chase: NASCAR Star Clint Bowyer In the Championship Hunt After Charlotte Triumph

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Many are learning their lesson the hard way: Don’t sleep on Clint Bowyer.

Oakley’s NASCAR Star, shocking the field with a couple of victories already this season, made another power play with his impressive triumph at Charlotte this past weekend. The win places himself and the Michael Waltrip Racing Team in position to solidly challenge for the coveted Sprint Cup.

‘‘It’s fun to walk to Victory Lane, that’s the best walk you could ever have,’’ Clint said, rocking his Oakley eyewear, racing fire suit, boots, gloves and base layer.

But as always, claiming the rights to cruise down that lane was no easy task. Reminiscent of a past victory, he sputtered across the finish line as his gas ran dry.

“What a wild race. I want to do a burnout!” he said. “Am I ever going to get to do a burnout?”

Burnout or not, the race was impressive.

Despite Brad Keselowski leading a race-high 140 laps, Clint’s bold decision to stretch his tank paid off – big time – as he topped Sprint Cup contenders Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.

The result: Clint rocketed up to the fourth position in the Chase standings…a mere 28 points behind leader Keselowski.

What’s more, the down home driver is riding a wave of momentum going into his home track at Kansas next week.

‘That’s probably the biggest thing, to come off this win, going into your hometown. It’s just so important to be able to roll in on a positive note.’’

And as most athletes know, mindset means a great deal, if not almost everything (aside from sheer mechanics).

“Who would have thought in a million years after making this switch and coming over to a new family and everything that was new that we would be in Victory Lane three times,” Clint said, reflecting on the year thus far after switching teams. “And still — how many races, five races left? Yeah, I’ve been paying a lot of attention. Five races left and we’re still in contention for a championship.”