Late last week we mentioned that Alabama’s 2011 BcS title team would be honored at this weekend’s NASCAR race inTalladega.
In addition to a Tide-themed paint scheme adorning Clint Bowyer‘s Toyota, the driver of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing entry honored Bear Bryant with a stunningly awesome and way-too-cool helmet design.
Despite the Alabama coaching legend riding shotgun a short distance from his old collegiate stomping grounds, Bowyer was unable to secure the sixth win of his Cup career in a race that featured multiple late-lap wrecks. The Kansas native and self-proclaimed huge Jayhawks fan did, though, finish sixth — his second-best finish of the 2012 season — in the first of two races this season at the track an hour or so from Tuscaloosa.
Thanks in large part to Bryant’s presence, no doubt, Bowyer moved up two spots from 12th to 10th in points on the season as well.
“Yeah, it was actually my idea about the helmet. I always have icons on the back of my helmets. I’ve had them on my helmet all year long,” Bowyer said prior to the race. “Trying to think of something to do with Alabama, it was only fitting to have Bear Bryant on the back of it. So it’s a pretty cool helmet that Nick Pastura painted for me. I just want to get down there and hopefully have the same success we’ve had over the past couple of years. Talladega is good to me, had a lot of fun there, and I can’t think of anything bigger than to win in Talladega, Ala. with the Alabama car.”
This was the third time in the past three years that the BcS champion from the state of Alabama the previous year was honored at the spring Talladega race, and Bowyer’s was the highest finish of the trio. In 2010, David Reutimann drove the original Tide-themed car to a 14th-place finish, while Michael Waltrip was one lap down and in 28th place at the end of the 2011 race in the Auburn-themed car.
It’s unclear if this will be yet another title officially claimed by Alabama.