Clint Bowyer

Frank) And we’re back. So, we are gonna do a story on the cowboy boots too. We’ll have to do that. You know, Kansas has a lot of famous people and they do a lot of neat things and that’s why they’re famous, I guess. (Deb) (Laughs). (Frank) But anyway, we’ve done musicians, and we’ve done actors and so, we also need to talk about all the people that are in racing. Did you know that actually drag racing started in Kansas? (Deb) No, I did not know that. (Frank) Yes it did. After the war, World War II, and now I’m gonna have to think of what the city is, but it was in south central Kansas, guys started getting together with their souped up cars and they would drag race. And that actually then turned into the National Drag Race Association. (Deb) That’s awesome. (Frank) NHRA. (Deb) You know I come from NASCAR country because of course, moonshining and NASCAR went hand in hand and probably still does. So, I grew up racing NASCAR and all those guys, Richard Petty, you know The King, who was out here. You know Richard and…Richard Petty was out here and his son were out here, they stopped at Dodge City a few months ago, when they were doing some kind of just cross country tour so yea, we’ve got…. (Frank) Yea, NHRA really did get it’s start… (Deb) Wow. (Frank) When I was in high school there was an eighth mile track over across the river in North Topeka. And it was the old Brickyard Road. (Deb) Oh sure. (Frank) The Brickyard bridge went down in the ’51 Flood well there was an eighth mile drag strip there. And so we’d go there and in Lawrence there was a quarter mile drag strip over there. So, anyway, where we’re going with this is we’re going to do a story about NASCAR and Kansas’ own Clint Bowyer. Let’s take a look. Emporia native Clint Bowyer has excited racing fans since he was five years old, first in motocross, then in Nascar. He is in transition, as his relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing comes to an end, but his racing career is far from over. In 1996, at the age of 17, he left a successful showing in the motocross world and began racing street stocks at Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas in the modified championship there in 2000. Bowyer racked up 18 wins and 32 top-five finishes on his way to capturing the 2001 modified championships at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas and Heartland Park in Topeka. In 2002, he began racing in the Nascar Weekly Racing Series posting 9 poles, 12 wins and 32 top-five finishes en route to a second place finish in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series national point standings. He was also crowned the 2002 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Midwest Champion after another modified championship at Lakeside Speedway and a late model championship at the famed I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri, his first attempt at racing on asphalt. In 2003, Bowyer raced a full season in the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division Midwest Series, scoring one top-ten finish in 11 starts. He also would make his first ARCA starts in 2003, and caught the eye of legendary car owner Richard Childress after leading 47 laps and finishing second in his debut at Nashville Superspeedway driving for Scott Traylor out of Kansas City. After the second place finish, Richard Childress called Bowyer by phone and offered him a job. Bowyer thought he was joking and hung up on him. Childress called back soon afterward and with a not-too-happy tone he still offered Bowyer the job. Bowyer realized it was for real and accepted. He remained with Childress for eight years. Throughout his racing successes, Bowyer has maintained close ties to Kansas and his hometown of Emporia. In 2008, Bowyer attended and hosted the first annual Clint Bowyer Charity Golf Event. It raised $160,000 for the Emporia Community Foundation to “make Emporia a better place.” He also raised the money for a new community center, dedicated in 2012. The new Bowyer Community Building is located at the Lyon County Fairgrounds, on Highway 50. Fans of Duck Dynasty were treated to Bowyer’s limousine drag race against Willie Robertson a couple of years ago. Bowyer won. Unfortunately, there are no Nascar cup points for beating a Robertson.