With two career wins, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer has been rock solid at the Magic Mile. On Thursday, Bowyer etched his name, and car, into another piece of New Hampshire history, scaling a rock wall with fans, pulling a 7,500-pound engraved granite block out of a quarry and taking Governor Maggie Hassan for a burnout as they celebrated what Hassan officially proclaimed as "Rockin' with Clint Day" across the Granite State.
"This was an awesome day," said Bowyer, who currently sits second in the Sprint Cup point standings and is locked into the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship playoff - the second of those races being the SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 22. "It's always great to come up here. I love the people, I love the fan base. It's not every day you get to do burnouts, especially with the governor."
Bowyer began his day with a stop at the McAuliffe Discovery Center on the campus of the New Hampshire Technical Institute. Staff from McAuliffe, students from NHTI and fans lined up around an open parking lot that was designated for Bowyer's burnouts. In the passenger seat sat Gov. Hassan, who sported a personally-designed helmet presented to her by Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of the speedway.
"I think maybe my children will think I'm worth of something because I now have my own racing helmet," said Hassan. "We are so grateful that (Clint) is here, and there is a really great partnership between the state and speedway, so it's my pleasure to be a part of this today."
Sitting shotgun in the New Hampshire Motor Speedway Toyota Camry show car, Hassan was tossed and turned while Bowyer laid rubber donuts across the lot. After they finished, the two signed their names in spray paint within one of the tire-drawn circles.
From there, Bowyer drove across town to Swenson Granite Works, the oldest active granite quarry in the state. Since 1883, Swenson has provided granite for numerous projects, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Pentagon and New Hampshire Motor Speedway's Granite Stripe start/finish line. Bowyer was the first Sprint Cup driver to kiss the granite at the Magic Mile, winning the 2010 SYLVANIA 300.
Now Bowyer has a souvenir from the quarry. The driver of the No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota Camry used a 250-foot crane to haul up a 7,500-pound block of granite that featured a highly-detailed engraving of his car, as well as his name and both years (2007 and 2010) he won Cup races at the Magic Mile.
"That's a big rock," said Bowyer, who is hoping to donate the granite block (which will be auctioned off by Speedway Children's Charities) to his hometown of Emporia, Kan. "I donated a community building to my hometown a while back, so as soon as I saw that I thought it would be perfect to put out front of the community building. Somehow we'll figure out how to get it to Kansas."
The rock-themed afternoon wasn't finished, however, as Bowyer made his final stop of the day at Evolution Rock+Fitness, which features climbing walls in excess of 16,000 square feet. Fans attending the event competed in time trials during the day in anticipation of Bowyer's visit. The fastest up the wall earned a spot in a one-on-one race against Bowyer.
The winner was Nick Remington of Concord, who parlayed his qualifying win with a photo-finish victory over Bowyer.
"He's a competitor, even here climbing these walls," said Remington, who received a New Hampshire-shaped granite trophy for his victory. "This was just a lot of fun and something I'll never forget."
"It's been a rocky day," said Bowyer, making light of his loss. "This is the story of my life the last couple weeks. I almost won, but I ran out of talent and gas at the end. But no, this was a cool event and something really cool to be a part of."
Bowyer capped off his afternoon by answering questions from fans and emcee Greg Kretschmar of the "Greg and the Morning Buzz" radio show.
To see if Bowyer can chase down the competition for his first Sprint Cup Championship, details and ticket information on how to purchase tickets to the SYLVANIA 300 NASCAR weekend in September are available at our Ticket Office, speedway website at www.nhms.com, or Ticket Hotline at (603) 783-4931.