Engine Woes Sideline Bowyer, BB&T Team at Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Early engine woes left Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team with a 40th-place finish in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The less-than-desired ...
Engine Woes Sideline Bowyer, BB&T Team at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Early engine woes left Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet team with a 40th-place finish in Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The less-than-desired result drops Bowyer seven spots, to 12th, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship point standings, placing him 173 markers behind current point leader and Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick.
The Shane Wilson-led team kicked off the weekend by posting the 16th-fastest time in Friday's opening practice session, and Bowyer qualified 26th later that afternoon. Bowyer & Co. battled a tight-handling Impala in Saturday's duel practice sessions, posting the 26th- and 32nd-fastest lap times, respectively. However, the BB&T team made a host of adjustments toward the end of final practice and, when the Emporia, Kan., native returned to the track for his final run of the afternoon, his Chevrolet began running consistent lap times. The No. 33 RCR team left the .533-mile oval that afternoon confident that they could put together a competitive setup for Sunday's 500-lap event.
Cloudy skies and cool temperatures greeted the estimated 138,000 race fans on hand as the green flag dropped at the "World's Fastest Half Mile." Although heavy traffic slowed Bowyer's progress in the opening laps, he managed to pick up three positions by lap 20.
Bowyer continued his forward progress, racing his way into 20th as the event's first yellow flag waved on lap 42. The leaders hit pit road the following lap and the No. 33 over-the-wall crew's quick pit service netted the BB&T driver one spot for the lap-46 restart.
Over the next ten circuits, Bowyer flexed his muscle and began passing cars with ease. The two-time NSCS race winner engaged in a spirited battle for the 14th position on lap 56, when the No. 33 Chevy's engine expired.
Bowyer immediately brought the burgundy- and gold-colored Impala to the garage and, upon further inspection, the damage to the engine was deemed terminal, resulting in a 40th-place finish.
Jimmie Johnson earned his 50th career NSCS victory, beating Tony Stewart to the checkered flag by .894 seconds. Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five finishers. Bowyer's RCR teammates Jeff Burton and Harvick finished 10th and 11th, respectively.
Short track racing continues next weekend as NASCAR's senior circuit heads to the paper clip-shaped .526-mile oval in Martinsville, Va.
CLINT BOWYER: "It has been a tough weekend from the get-go. We were just a little bit off, but I am really proud of the No. 33 BB&T team this weekend. They dug deep, never gave up and got our Chevy dialed in at the end of final practice. We were marching toward the front and passing cars, but then the motor blew up. Hats off to all the guys back at the Earnhardt-Childress Racing engine shop. They have been working hard at finding extra horsepower for us. We pride ourselves on not having DNFs (Did Not Finishes), but things like this happen. We are asking a lot out of these engines. It is amazing the gains they've made with our engine package this season. I feel sorry for BB&T, Cheerios and everybody involved. I thought we were going to have a good day."