News & Media

Crew chief Pattie making things work for Bowyer

June 23, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

SONOMA, Calif. -- Sometimes the best saves are the ones that go all but unnoticed.

That was the case two weeks ago at Pocono, where crew chief Brian Pattie's timely reaction saved a top-10 finish for Clint Bowyer.

Pattie (Getty)

The engine in Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota suffered the same issue that knocked fellow Camry driver Kyle Busch out of the race --- metal flaking that disrupted the oil flow. Quick thinking on Pattie's part, however, prevented Bowyer's engine from expiring.

During a late caution, Pattie added two-and-a-half quarts of oil, and Bowyer survived to finish sixth.

"Sometimes you've got to manufacture finishes, and we brainstormed there when we heard our oil pressure was dropping down," Pattie told the NASCAR Wire Service. "We saw the 18 [Busch] having his trouble.

"I don't know if I made a save -- I think the caution made a save, whatever that caution was at the end where I pitted with 30-some laps to go. It enabled us to put some oil in the motor and survive and get a top 10."

That finish could prove crucial to Bowyer's chances to make the Chase. For one thing, it kept him in the top 10 in the standings -- critical for a driver who hasn't won a race this year. And with a third consecutive top-10 at Michigan, ninth-place Bowyer holds a 25-point edge over Carl Edwards in 11th.

Had Bowyer's engine suffered the same fate as Busch's, that advantage would have evaporated.

At Sonoma, Bowyer has a special "passenger" riding shotgun with him. The name of Brady Bakken, 11, of Boone, N.C., the son of one of sponsor 5-hour Energy's sales brokers, will replace Bowyer's above the passenger door of the No. 15. Bakken was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in January. Bowyer's 5-hour Energy hat will feature a green ribbon -- symbolic of the fight against lymphoma -- with Bakken's name underneath on the opposite side from the sponsor logo.

Check out Bowyer's season highlights: