NASCAR nationwide series champ Clint Bowyer enjoys playing the hayseed in New York. But he’s a hayseed who arrives by private jet, and a NASCAR publicist meets him at Teterboro. “This is my fourth time in New York, but it’s always been with NASCAR,” Bowyer says. “Back home in Kansas, my best friend’s parents had a cattle ranch. Usually when I’m in New York, I feel like a cow in that cattle ring, getting prodded around in a lot of different directions.” They climb into a chauffeured Cadillac Escalade—an “Esca-lod,” says Bowyer, relishing the French—and crawl toward Manhattan. “The traffic here is worse than Daytona,” Bowyer says. “Check out that guy: He just made two lane changes and didn’t get anywhere. In a $100,000 Mercedes. I think we could spin him out. If you tap him in the right rear, it’d shoot him over into the other lane.” Eventually, he reaches midtown and a state of giddy tourism. “Look, there’s the Empire State Building,” he nearly shouts. “Is that all offices, or are there houses in there?” This is quickly followed by “Look at that dog! Where does a dog go to the restroom in this city? Do they do it on the concrete?” And then: “Is that building really a high school? Do you think they have a 4H?” The 4H bit is a joke, but the wonder is genuine. NASCAR holds a banquet at the Waldorf-Astoria every December, and Bowyer will spend a few days in New York for meetings. “A lot of the cities I go to have racetracks,” he says. “So you’ll have 150,000 to 200,000 fans there, and they know who you are. It’s different coming to New York, but every day someone will still recognize you. They might not know your name, but they’ll be like, ‘Hey, you’re that NASCAR guy.’ ”
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