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Consider that Clint Bowyer has the 30th-best Average Running Position (21.8) and 18th-best Driver Rating (79.5) at the 2.66-mile track.
Yet Bowyer, a solid fourth in Chase standings 25 points behind leader Keselowski, is going for his third consecutive victory in the Talladega Chase race.
Bowyer won as a Chase “outsider” a year ago and a qualifier in 2010. Sandwiched between the two victories was a second-place finish with Bowyer nailed to the rear bumper of Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet.
He’ll make his second start at the track as the driver of Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 15 Toyota, having finished sixth in Talladega’s May race. Bowyer has a top-10 finish in five consecutive ’Dega races and has completed every lap in all but one of his most recent nine starts. The record for consecutive top 10s at Talladega is eight, by Dale Earnhardt Jr. from 2001-04.
“Things are so tight right now and the competition is so close it’s literally a point or two here and a point or two there that’s shaking up the Chase right now,” Bowyer said. “[Talladega] can shake things up in a big way.
“It can propel you to the lead or bury you.”
Like Keselowski, Bowyer looks forward to Talladega.
“I enjoy it but I also know what can happen here,” he said.