Thought omnipresent at a race track – in either a television studio or walking pit road – Owensboro, Kentucky native Michael Waltrip doesn’t get behind the wheel of a race car all that often anymore.
He has people to do that for him, these days.
And they’ll represent him at his home track of Kentucky Speedway. So, yes, in a way, this is a home race for Kansas native Clint Bowyer and North Carolina native Brian Vickers – the two cornerstones of Michael Waltrip Racing.
This is a big one for more than local pride, of course. Both drivers are winless, and especially in the case of Vickers, in danger of missing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Bowyer, coming off two consecutive top-10 finishes, has climbed to 14th in points – good enough to be one of the Chase Grid drivers were NASCAR’s playoffs beginning today. They’re not. So a win at Kentucky would go a long way. It’s more than possible; Bowyer finished third last year.
Vickers has yet to crack the top 25 at Kentucky, finishing 31st (DNF) last season and 27th in 2011. He’s hit a rough patch of late, a stretch defined by bad luck. His engine gave out at Dover, leading to a 43rd-place finish, and at Michigan, an early accident caused him to limp home in 42nd.