Bowyer Blows Back Home

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Clint Bowyer remembers when Kansas Speedway was just a dream.

Now the Kansas native is dreaming about winning at his home track as well as a NEXTEL Cup championship.

Bowyer finally put himself into the NEXTEL Cup career win column two weeks ago at New Hampshire, a victory that helped his confidence as a member of this year's Chase for the NEXTEL Cup field.

"Absolutely," Bowyer said. "We went into this thing with people asking do you really feel like you deserve to be in the Chase. My answer to that question was heck yeah. It wasn't like we were 12th going into the thing. We were ninth. We beat three teams out of the Chase and yet people were still saying that the 13th guy belonged in it. And I'm like, tell the 12th place guy that, I guess. He had a long ways to go to catch me."

"I felt like we deserved it and I feel like winning that first race of the Chase really proved not only to ourselves, but to everybody else that we belonged here. It's been such a confidence-booster and momentum builder going into the rest of the year."

The win and being in the Chase has made this year's homecoming visit to Kansas Speedway much different for Bowyer.

"Yeah, and it's really been since this Chase," he said. "It's a big thing for myself and our race team. By making that Chase, you're in the spotlight. The exposure is on you. Certainly winning the first race of the Chase, there has been a lot of TV exposure and you do notice a big difference."

Bowyer has changed since his days of running the short tracks around the Kansas City area, almost as much as the area itself has undergone a facelift since the speedway was built in 2001.

"It's so awesome to be able to come back here," Bowyer said. "And it's like every year we come back, I come here two or three times a year, but every time we come back something else is being built out here. I remember when it was just all houses and you didn't even notice turning off of I-70 onto I-435, and now - hell, if you don't notice this place now, you're blind."

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