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Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Clint Bowyer ready to contend with new owner

By David Stein

FORT WORTH, Texas -- After a disappointing 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Clint Bowyer is looking to start over.

Heading into the Feb. 26 Daytona 500, "New" is a word Bowyer and the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will hear a lot this season.

Bowyer said he doesn't necessarily like changes, but after seven seasons with Richard Childress Racing, he's not afraid of his change to Michael Waltrip Racing.

"I know these cars are a lot the same," Bowyer said Tuesday night at the Gear Up for the Green Flag event at Texas Motor Speedway. "For the most part, it all comes down to the people working together and getting the most out of each other. That's what makes up the difference."

Bowyer said this offseason was the busiest of his career, and most of it was spent getting used to veteran crew chief Brian Pattie.

"The communication is better, way farther ahead than I thought it would be at this time," Bowyer said. "For a new team like that, getting that 'gelling' of everybody is so crucial."

Bowyer won't be the only one making a big switch to Michael Waltrip Racing. Veteran Mark Martin will drive at least 25 races this season in the No. 55 car.

"Mark is a great asset that I'm going to learn a lot from, even at this stage in my career," Bowyer said.

For the second consecutive year, Bowyer and the Sprint Cup drivers will race under the lights of Texas Motor Speedway. The Samsung Mobile 500 was traditionally a Sunday afternoon race but switched to Saturday night last season.

"Night races are always better," Bowyer said. "I don't know why. We all grew up racing under the lights. It just adds that extra element of excitement."

This year's Samsung Mobile 500 is Saturday, April 14 at 7 p.m.