Bowyer Gaining Steam in Chase with Fourth-Place Finish at Bristol BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Hamburger Helper team accomplished their weekend goal of scoring a top-five finish and gaining as many points as possible in Saturday...
Bowyer Gaining Steam in Chase with Fourth-Place Finish at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer and the No. 33 Hamburger Helper team accomplished their weekend goal of scoring a top-five finish and gaining as many points as possible in Saturday night's IRWIN Tools Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
With two races remaining before the 12-man Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set, Bowyer remains 12th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings and holds a 100-point advantage over 13th.
The Shane Wilson-led team began the weekend by posting the 17th- and 12th-fastest speeds, respectively, in Friday's dual practice sessions. Later that evening, Bowyer qualified 24th. The Richard Childress Racing team left the 'World's Fastest Half Mile' confident in the strength of their No. 33 Chevrolet for Saturday night's race.
The green flag waved shortly before 8 p.m. local time in front of an estimate crowd of 155,000 race fans. Bowyer raced between the 25th and 19th positions in the opening 50 laps before the pace was slowed for a lap-57 caution. The Emporia, Kan., native followed the leaders onto pit road and took on right-side tires in an effort to gain track position. He returned to the 0.533-mile short track seventh for the lap-61 restart.
Racing action remained green for the next 61 laps until the event's second yellow flag wave on lap 127. Bowyer hit pit road 11th and, following a lightning-fast, four-tire and fuel pit stop, by the Helping Hands over-the-wall crew, the 31-year-old driver gained two spots. However, NASCAR deemed that the No. 33 Impala was too fast exiting pit road, dropping Bowyer to 26th for the lap-131 restart.
The two-time NSCS race winner never gave up and began charging his way through the field over the next 131 circuits. He was scored 20th on lap 150, 15th on lap 196, 10th on lap 237 and fourth on lap 262. Once Bowyer was fourth, he never raced outside the top five for the remainder of the 500-lap affair.
Bowyer made his final pit stop on lap 401, while under green-flag conditions, for four tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. The field cycled through the running order four laps later and Bowyer was listed in the fifth position. The field was slowed for the final time, on lap 410, for debris on the backstretch. One car ahead of the No. 33 Chevrolet pitted, lining Bowyer up fourth for the lap-414 restart.
The Hamburger Helper driver lost one position once racing resumed, but once his air pressures built up, the car's handling came back to him. He reclaimed fourth place on lap 495, where he remained until the checkered flag waved. It was the No. 33 team's fourth top-five finish of the 2010 season.
Kyle Busch scored the victory and became the first driver in history to win in each of NASCAR's top-three touring series in a single weekend at the same race track. David Reutimann, Jamie McMurray, Bowyer and Kasey Kahne rounded out the top-five finishers. Bowyer's RCR teammate Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton finished 14th and 16th, respectively.
NASCAR's senior circuit will enjoy their final off weekend of the season before heading to Atlanta Motor Speedway in two weeks.
"Tonight, we did exactly what we needed to do. The speeding penalty was my fault and I apologized to the guys. I knew I had to get up on the wheel and make it up for them. The Hamburger Helper Chevrolet was good all weekend long and the No. 33 guys did a great job. We are in a pressure cooker and the guys are responding well. I told them to have fun over these final three races before the Chase starts. We have two races to go, but we're confident. If we run like we did tonight, we'll be in this thing."