January 31st, 2015 9:27 pm by JEFF BIRCHFIELD

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Clint Bowyer has a suggestion for NASCAR officials who are always looking to make the Sprint Cup Series more exciting.

Put more tracks like Bristol Motor Speedway on the Sprint Cup circuit.

"Bristol's so awesome. We, as drivers, always have fans ask us, 'Where's the one track that you love that we should go to — we've never been to a racetrack.' I'll probably get in trouble for saying this, but I don't care, it's true, it's what I believe — it's Bristol," Bowyer said at the annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour.

So while on the annual tour set up by Charlotte and at the risk of offending those at his home track of Kansas, Bowyer was touting the exploits of racing at Bristol. That's because he believes drivers are much more of a factor at the short tracks like Bristol than at the larger tracks.

"The short tracks are an area where I feel a driver, a team can make a difference," said the driver of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. "So many things happen so fast, so erratic, that can affect the outcome in some shape or form. The mile-and-a-half tracks, if your car is three or four tenths faster when you unload off the truck, you're having a good weekend. It's up to you to screw it up at that point."

Case in point, the eight-time Cup Series winner uses Kevin Harvick and his No. 4 Stewart-Haas team, which led more laps than anyone on the intermediate tracks, as an example.

"They had the fastest car on the mile-and-a-half tracks at the beginning of the year, the fastest in the middle and they had the fastest car at Homestead and went on to win the championship," Bowyer said. "At the end of the day, the team that is the fastest is going to prevail."

It was speed which Bowyer's team was lacking last season as he missed the "Chase for the Sprint Cup" playoffs and finished 19th in the season point standings.

Much of that has to do with the fact that only two of his 15 top-10 finishes last season came on the mile-and-a-half speedways.

Don't get the wrong impression. It still takes a good race car at Bristol like anywhere else. Bowyer just knows how important a driver's input is to getting a car around the .533-mile, high-banked oval. Still, he's still looking still looking for a first win at Bristol, a place where he has five top-five finishes in 18 starts.

"Bristol's been a good racetrack for me — a lot of top fives there, a lot of success, run up front a lot, we've just never been able to break through with a win," he said. "You've got to get your stuff better. At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to anywhere."

Still, the 35-year-old driver said the series would be a lot better with more of the action-packed tracks. It would in his opinion, give an entirely new meaning to the term "cookie-cutter" tracks.

"I wish this sport had five Bristols all across the country," he said. "I wish half of our mile-and-a-halfs were Bristol-sized racetracks. There's no equal to a short track like Bristol - that half-mile, beating and banging, action at all times on the racetrack from the drop of the green flag to the checkered flag, there's no better product that we can showcase for our fans than a track like Bristol."