Clint Bowyer fought back after an accident to score a top five finish at Bristol.
Knowing Michael Waltrip Racing will cease to exist at season’s end is probably reason enough not to expect the organization will get one of its two Sprint Cup teams in the Chase.
Clint Bowyer, however, is determined not to let that happen.
While MWR employees remain uncertain about their future in 2017, Bowyer and his No. 15 Toyota team are fighting tooth and nail to go out successful.
Collision with teammate
Despite a run-in during the race with MWR teammate David Ragan that left both cars damaged, Bowyer rallied for a fifth-place finish in Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (Crash Video).
It’s only the second top-five finish of the season for Bowyer. He remains 15th in the series standings and with two races remaining before the 16-driver championship Chase field is set, Bowyer is currently clinging to the last position.
“Man, let’s face it, the last month these guys have answered the call. They are really digging down deep and finding that extra something that you have to find for a championship-caliber team to compete,” Bowyer said after the race.
“I’m proud of all their efforts. The wreck tore my car up and I couldn’t take off on restarts and it was dragging the splitter for quite a bit.”
Bowyer believes his team can make the Chase and despite everything that’s happened this season, he won’t be satisfied with just “showing up.”
“To be able to be a part of this Chase, you don’t want to just be a part of it and be the first one out,” he said. “You want to hit this thing with stride, with momentum, with confidence.
“We had some tough luck last week (at Michigan) but again we were a top-five car. These are the cars that we need to keep unloading and we need to keep digging.
“It’s fun to see these guys around me step up to the plate when you need them.”
MWR team co-owner Rob Kauffman said the performance by both teams showed the Chase was still within reach for the organization.
“You never give up until it’s over,” he said.
Asked if he was reveling in the moment considering the tough week for the organization as a whole, Kuaffman said, “You never really revel unless you have Gatorade and confetti on the cars.
“Top-fives are nice but we’re here to win.”