Mother’s Day weekend couldn’t have been more convenient for Jana Bowyer, whose middle son, Clint, made his 300th career Sprint Cup start Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.
NASCAR moved this weekend’s Sprint Cup race from its customary site of Darlington, S.C., to Kansas Speedway, just 97 miles up the road from the Bowyers’ home in Emporia, Kan., much to the delight of Jana, who was joined at the race by her mother, Leah Tomson, who turned 82 last week, as well as other friends and family members.
“It’s the best role ever,” Jana said of being a NASCAR mom. “Being a mom is a great role, but I enjoy all aspects of it … the travel, watching Clint and his success. Being a part of it is really fun. I enjoy every minute of it.”
Jana Bowyer has been in Clint’s pit box from the days when he was winning championships on the dirt track at nearby Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.
“I was the organizer, making sure everybody was where they were supposed to be and at what time,” she said. “Keeping track of the race schedule, and when he was supposed to be on the track … finding out what heat he was in. And to support him through the good times and the bad times.
“There were some nights we’d have a blown motor, or something like that, and we were figuring out how we were going to scrape money together to buy a new motor for the next week. … But there’s never any bad times at the races. It was a real family affair. Clint’s brothers were usually there, and that made it fun. That’s what we looked forward to every week, to have fun, watch him learn and grow, and move up in the ranks. … In the street-stock days, it was fun back then, watching him start out not being the best guy there and learning and eventually winning.”
Now that Clint is a bona fide star and recently married man, Jana sometimes keeps her distance at the track.
“Dad and I still get to go to a lot of the races, but I don’t always see Clint every weekend at the track,” she said. “He knows we’re there. We want to be there to support him on his best days, and we want to be there support him on his worst days. We get a lot of joy in that.
“But he has a lot of appearances. … That’s his job. That’s work time for him. … His dad sees him because he goes to the garage. Sometimes we have time and go to dinner and really enjoy that. Sometimes, you get one-on-one time flying to the race with him. But he has to be focused on racing. We have friends who come, we do the entertaining, and hospitality, and Clint can come and go with his schedule.
“It’s his work weekend. We don’t want to be interference, but he knows we’re there if he needs us.”