With quiet determination, Clint Bowyer took the track at Martinsville Speedway in the Goodys Fast Pain Relief 500. He was gunning for the masters of Martinsville, the Hendrick Motorsports gang, led by Jimmie, Jeff, Dale Jr. and Mark.
Because qualifying was cancelled due to rain, the field was set on points. That meant that the quietly confident Clint would start in the third position, just behind pole sitter and nemesis Jeff Gordon.
For most of the race, Bowyer was in the thick of it, mixing it up with race leaders Denny Hamlin and the Hendrick gang. With a little Martinsville beating and banging, Bowyer continued his quiet creep towards the front of the field.
But then calamity struck and the confident Bowyer stumbled. He had a difficult pit stop, putting him back in the twelfth position and in the middle of the fray.
But Bowyer battled back, again holding fast in the top five fight for the rest of the race. Bowyer brought his number 33 BB&T Chevrolet to the checkered flag, coming in with a satisfying fifth place finish.
Yet even with consistent finishes like this, Bowyer gets very little attention or fanfare. In fact, he and his team pretty much seem to fly under everyone's radar.
And that's just the way this team likes it according to Bowyer's crew chief Shane Wilson. They like to be the underdog, using the stealth factor to surprise and ambush their competitors in the process.
Even more amazing than the top five finish is the fact that this is a brand new race team. With all the machinations of the off season, Bowyer switched his car number, his primary sponsor and his entire race team.
But all of these changes have not deterred determined Bowyer one iota. He has maintained his determination to win and his focus on the points race.
Indeed with his top five finish this week, Bowyer even managed to steal his way into the second place in points, just 89 points behind points leader Jeff Gordon.
Bowyer will continue his quiet march toward the points lead when he swaggers into the next battle at Texas Motor Speedway. But until then, many thanks to Clint Bowyer who did indeed make our day at the races an exciting one today.