It was very apparent heading in to Daytona that there was a air about Clint Boyer and his new attitude and new home at Stewart-Haas. A about a year and a half ago the racing world got news of Tony Stewart’s retirement. At that time we also got news that Clint had signed with Stewart- Haas and would be in the number 14 car starting in 2017.
Clint is no stranger to wining teams. Boyer started his career with Richard Childress racing in 2005. Boyer found victory lane five times in his career with Childress. Then his career path carried him on to Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012. Being a newly formed team Boyer would struggle with disappointing finishes and struggles to find good equipment. Boyer would only find victory lane 3 times with his last win coming in 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
At the start of Speed Weeks this year you could tell Boyer’s energy and excitement was back to the way we all have known Clint to be from his years of being at Childress. It was refreshing to see. His quick whiteness and joking attitude was back.
It became even more evident as cars took the track that he had every reason to be. In practice one for the 500 Boyer posted a lap of 46.693 at a speed of 192.748. That would land him tenth on the speed chart. It would continue in to pole qualifying he would back the lap in practice up with a 46.736 at 192.571 that would qualify him in the 4th spot and put them on the front row of Can-Am Duel number two.
During Happy Hour Boyer would lay down his fastest of all practice speeds at 196.674 and a E.T of 45.761 leaving him 6th on the speed chart. His attitude threw all of his interviews made it seem like he was a giddy kid that was just told he was going to Disneyland. In a pre race interview during media day Clint said “I am excited there’s no sugar coating it there’s no way around it. How I could not be in this opportunity is crazy. This is nothing but opportunity.”
Boyer from the word go was fast all weekend probably the fastest he had been of the truck in quite some time. His team’s and his own attitude make for a very dangerous mix. In the Dual he would end up finishing in P2. Clint had clinched the 6th starting spot for the 59th running of the Daytona 500.
Sunday approached and quickly the engines were fired and we were under pace laps. The excitement for the opportunity and the straight gratefulness was apparent threw the teams radio traffic. Clint had run well during the early stages of the race. In stage two it appeared as tho he was making his move finishing the stage in 7th. In stage three his luck would change for the worse. Getting caught up in a wreck with no fault of his own when Jamie McMurry and Jimmy Johnson got tangled up in front of him leaving him no where to go.
In the post indecent interview you could still see and hear the excitement in his voice and on to Atlanta we go.
Boyer’s excitement is genuine and deserved. He has done his time. ( for lack of a better term.) Boyer and his team have a recipe for the perfect storm to the championship. Strong will, determination, opportunity and over all attitude. Stewart-Haas and Clint Boyer are contender and unfortunately his finish in the 500 is not reflective of that however his excitement was not dimmed by it. I look forward to watching this team this year. What are your thoughts on Clint Boyer and his new home at Stewart-Haas?
All stats, photo, provided by NASCAR media. 2017