Clint Bowyer, the 26 year old savvy racer from Emporia, Kansas, started racing in motocross at the young age of five. He was a good on two wheels but soon discovered that he was even better on four wheels after his grandfather brought him to a dirt track in Humboldt, Kansas. His father, Chris Bowyer, wasn’t very happy with his second son’s decision at first because the family had already invested a lot of time and money into motorcycles and the young Clint Bowyer had shown a lot of potential. His older brother, Andy Bowyer, was racing motocross nationally. Eventually, Chris Bowyer supported his young son because of his enthusiasm. His mother lays claim that they weren’t in it to make him a NASCAR star but rather they did it because they enjoyed it as a family. After awhile, the whole family turned to four wheels and Chris even set up a shop in his storage lot near his towing company in Emporia. Even until this day, his parents and their dog follow the Cup circuit in a motor home to show their support to Bowyer and it has paid off.
Because Bowyer’s father had many drivers for customers, he would hang around race shops to try and pick their brains. By the time he was 15, he was driving short-bed Chevy pickup that he had put together with the spare parts from his father’s storage lot. He was also working at a Goodyear shop in middle school to pick up the tools of the trade. From there, he was taught what made a person successful with their cars.
Bowyer is a fierce competitor and the markings of a winner was clear from the get go. He won and liked it. When he’s on the race track, he’s in it to win the trophy. Since racing at the age of five, Bowyer has gone on to achieve over 200 wins and countless championships throughout the years. He broke into the street stocks scene in 1996 at age 17 during the Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas. He counts that as one of his most memorable races because an angry competitor had chased a flagman into a bathroom for 45 minutes and threatened to crush the winner, only to then realize that the winner was 17 years old. Dick Ross, who was tuning up Bowyer’s engine that night, realized that Bowyer was made out of special material when Bowyer managed to guide home a 50,000-pound fire truck, a 6-foot towing chain during a 10 mile stretch of two lane highway in central Kansas without getting a scratch on the vehicle.
4 years later, Bowyer went back to the Thunderhill Speedway and won the 2000 Modified championship and finished second in the Modified points at Lakeside Speedway. He continued to get 18 more wins, 32 top fives in 40 starts en route to the 2001 Modified Championships at Lakeside Speedway and Heartland Park. After that he was made the 2002 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Midwest Champion after another Modified Championship at Lakeside Speedway and a Late Model crown at 1-70 Speedway in Odessa. Bowyer has gone on to win a great many more championships when he began running for the NASCAR Busch Series in 2004.
His parents are still in awe at how much their son has achieved and they are still amazed when fans congratulate them. Although Bowyer now resides in North Carolina, he still enjoys going back home where people still remember him as Clint and not the NASCAR star. And like any Kansas native, he believes that the best barbecues can’t beat Kansas City’s barbecue.