Rush Truck Centers is heading for the Daytona 500.
The company announced Wednesday its colors and logo (along with Mobil 1) will adorn the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 car driven by Clint Bowyer at this Sunday’s Daytona 500 as part of the company’s longtime sponsorship of the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team.
“Our Daytona paint scheme has a story behind it,” says Bowyer, who after finishing second or third five times last year is eager to return to victory lane in 2018. “A great business relationship has grown between ExxonMobil and Rush Truck Centers’ 100-plus dealerships. You’ll see co-branded cars and they are both seeing big wins that came from the mutual SHR sponsorships. That’s how this business works, now. You have to do as well off the track as you do on the track.”
Goals for the No. 14 car this year are straightforward. Anything less than a victory or a berth in the playoffs will be a failing grade in the eight-time race winner’s mind.
“Every year is a make-or-break year in this business. It doesn’t matter if it is your first year or your third year or beginning your 13th year,” says Bowyer, who finished second in the 2012 championship and third in the 2007 title chase. “There is always that pressure and it is always on. Nobody puts that on us, we put it on ourselves. We are competitors.”
SHR says Bowyer owned a 15.5 average finish last year; 11th-best among full-time drivers. The team and crew chief Mike “Buga” Bugarewicz believe they need to run even more consistently and reach victory lane in 2018.
“Buga and I expect to win races and make the playoffs,” Bowyer says. “We had the same goal last year and we’ll have the same goal this year. There’s no doubt in my mind we can make the playoffs and we need to get back to victory lane. It’s been too long and it’s time go there again.”
SHR teammate Kurt Busch won last year’s Daytona 500, and Bowyer would like to make it consecutive victories in the ‘Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing.’
“Can you imagine what it would be like if I won the Daytona 500?” he says. “I think NASCAR would have a tough time finding me for those New York interviews on Monday and Tuesday. You know those yachts in the harbor in Daytona? I wouldn’t care whose it was, I’d take one of them to the Caribbean.”