Clint Bowyer Born: May 30, 1979 (Emporia, Kansas)
Graduated: Emporia High School, 1997
Born in Emporia, Clint Bowyer got his racing start not on four wheels, but on two. His love for racing began as a kid watching an employee for his father’s towing company race motocross. Bowyer began racing motocross across Kansas and the Midwest while racking up more than 200 wins and multiple championships.
Bowyer fell in love with four wheels after helping his boss at a Goodyear tire shop, converting an old Chevelle into racing condition. Bowyer recalls his first race at Thunderhill Speedway in Mayetta, Kansas, being a “hell of a fight.” Bowyer was hooked.
After racing dirt tracks for years, Bowyer accepted the chance to race asphalt for the first time in 2002. One year later in 2003, after an ARCA Menards Series race at Nashville Superspeedway, he caught the eye of legendary team owner Richard Childress. A week after that, Bowyer became a part of Richard Childress Racing.
Bowyer began as a part-time NASCAR Nationwide Series driver in 2004, appearing in seventeen races before becoming a full-time Nationwide Series driver and part-time Sprint Cup Series driver in 2005 and 2006, where he won three races.
Bowyer would capture his first Sprint Cup Victory in 2007 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The next year, Bowyer won the Nationwide Series Championship while simultaneously running both series. He also won his second Sprint Cup Race at Richmond International Speedway.
Bowyer raced for Richard Childress Racing until the 2012 season when he signed with Michael Waltrip Racing and secured a new sponsorship with 5-Hour Energy. The 2012 season would prove to be Bowyer’s most successful and memorable.
Bowyer finished 2012 with three wins, compiling ten top-five finishes, and twenty-three top-ten finishes. He landed second in the Championship standings, just 39 points behind champion Brad Keselowski. Bowyer considers that season the prime of his career.
Bowyer scored two wins over the next eight seasons before retiring from professional racing at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Bowyer finished his NASCAR career with ten wins, 82 top-five finishes, and 226 top-ten finishes.
After his career behind the wheel concluded, Bowyer began a new role in the broadcast booth. He joined Fox Sports in 2021 as a full-time analyst for Cup Series coverage, allowing him to stay connected to racing fans and continue promoting the sport.
During his racing career in 2008, Bowyer started his own Late-Model Racing team called Clint Bowyer Racing. He formed the team due to his love for dirt racing and how he felt he never got to fulfill his late-model dirt racing dreams due to the quick elevation of his asphalt and eventual NASCAR career. Bowyer also started the team to help connect to the grassroot fanbase of dirt racing.
During his racing career and through his retirement, Bowyer has continued to give back to the Emporia community that shaped him. Along with the Emporia Community Foundation, Bowyer founded the 79 Fund, providing grants that “evaluate and analyze the charitable needs of the Emporia Community with emphasis on long-term improvements to the quality of lives of the children in Emporia.” He also donated the Clint Bowyer Community Building to his hometown, which is located at the Lyon County Fairgrounds.
Despite the large amount of work that goes into serving the community, it’s meaningful for Bowyer and his generosity continues to help his hometown grow and prosper.
Biography by: Nathan Swaffer
Photos Courtesy of the Wichita Eagle and Clint Bowyer.