Nutritious pit stop: NASCAR driver pays visit to plant

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

COVINGTON -- Workers at Covington's General Mills plant had a special visitor Thursday.

NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, the No. 33 driver of the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, visited the plant -- his team's first visit to any General Mills plant.

"Cheerios ... is the flagship of General Mills," said plant manager Mark Bible. "We have to have the best quality every time."

Bowyer has been driving the Cheerios car for the past two years through Richard Childress Racing.

"It was an opportunity to move on to bigger and better things," said Bowyer, who started his auto racing career driving for Jack Daniels.

The 30-year-old started racing in motorcross when he was 5 years old after his dad gave him a motorcycle for Christmas, and collected more than 200 wins and championships over eight years.

In 1996, when Bowyer was working for Goodyear Tire Company, he started racing cars like his boss.

"I was getting burnt out on motorcross, and it looked like fun," he said.

After having some early success, he continued racing. Over the past several years, he's won several championships at various tracks and earned other racing honors.

"One thing led to another," he said.

Bowyer will compete in the Kobalt Tools 500, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, at 1 p.m.

Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He feels confident he could win the race.

"We've come a long way in the off season," he said. "We are where we need to be."

After Bowyer and his team members toured the plant -- where they talked to and took pictures with employees along the way -- they met with other employees and their families near his car to pose for pictures and sign autographs. They also helped load boxes of Cheerios.