INDIANAPOLIS — Like everyone else in NASCAR at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard, Clint Bowyer has a deep appreciation for the track’s rich history.
But unlike most, he has absolutely no desire to drive in the Indianapolis 500.
“I was pretty much always a stock car guy,” he said Friday. “Modifieds don’t have front fenders on them, but they certainly have rear quarter panels on them. I need fenders. I grew up learning to lean on each other and put on a good show and those things wheel-hop pretty bad.
“I drove a sprint car one time and that was enough for me. That was my open wheel career.”
While Crown Royal 400 drivers Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, AJ Allmendinger and Danica Patrick already have competed in the Indianapolis 500, others have expressed an interest in trading their seat in a stock car for a chance to win the biggest race on the planet, even if it’s only one time.
Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon are just a few of the Sprint Cup Series drivers who have embraced the idea of driving an IndyCar around the Brickyard.
There’s no chance Bowyer would drive anything other than a 3,300-pound stock car at the iconic 2.5-mile oval. At the same time, he understands what the track means to NASCAR.
“I think it’s second; it’s the obvious second,” he said. “It’s the Daytona 500 and then the Brickyard. It has been ever since I’ve been in the sport. You would hear people talk about the Southern 500 and things like that, but for my generation and my era I definitely think it’s those two trophies.”
Montoya, who won the 2000 Indianapolis 500, was fastest during Friday’s practice session at 185.410 mph. Busch was second at 184.347, while Austin Dillon was third, Paul Menard was fourth and Kasey Kahne was fifth.
The Sprint Cup Series will get a final two-hour practice this morning and qualify at 2:10 p.m. this afternoon.
The Nationwide Series race is at 4:30 p.m.
Bowyer will watch the Nationwide Series race to get an idea of what to expect on Sunday. He said he will watch the Indianapolis 500 next May for a completely different reason – to be entertained.
“I think it’s fitting and I think it’s neat to watch these stock cars race on this racetrack,” he said. “It’s important to all of us. The history and tradition behind this racetrack is so special for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you follow racing or not, everybody knows about Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the prestige that it holds. It’s an honor to be able to race here, it really is.”
As long as the cars have fenders.