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NASCAR Cup Richmond

Bowyer vents his 2016 frustrations during Richmond practice

With less than five minutes remaining in Happy Hour at Richmond International Raceway, Clint Bowyer was far from pleased with the No. 15 car.

Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet car detail
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
Clint Bowyer, HScott Motorsports Chevrolet

Bowyer, who has struggled to get up to speed since joining HScott Motorsports, suffered another rant on Saturday when smoke started spewing from his car

"Right front smoking, real bad, real bad, real bad,” spotter Brett Griffin reported to the No. 15. 

Bowyer was 37th on the speed chart in single-lap runs during final practice — at a track where he’s won twice and enjoys his second-best career average finish (11.3) behind Sonoma. 

Bowyer rips team 

Yet on Saturday, he was one of just two cars not to post a 10 best consecutive lap run.

“I’ve never been with such a (expletive) unprepared (expletive) team in my life,” Bowyer replied via team radio. “It’s a (expletive) joke. No power steering. (Expletive) put this in the truck and go home.” 

Bowyer is coming off of a season-best eighth place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend. His performance matched the organization’s career-high result posted by former driver Justin Allgaier at BMS in 2015. 

But as Bowyer acknowledged — quite honestly, two weeks ago — this season has been “tough”. 

Bowyer has lived a charmed life in NASCAR. After six seasons with Richard Childress Racing. He was part of the regime that transformed Michael Waltrip Racing to a weekly contender when he moved to the No. 15 car in 2012 — and scored a career-best three victories in one season. 

When MWR folded last year — after Bowyer was named Tony Stewart’s successor in the No. 14 car — seats were scarce for 2016. However, no one, not even Bowyer expected the challenges the affable driver has endured this season, particularly since the HSM has somewhat of a technical alliance with Hendrick Motorsports.

“It’s just they don’t have the tools that these other teams have,” Bowyer told Motorsport.com. “They don’t flat have them.”

Searching for a direction

Bowyer’s issues on Saturday are endemic to others he’s experienced this year. Although this team changed hands from James Finch to Harry Scott midway through 2013, the organization’s performance has not picked up significantly since then. 

“I’m not looking for charity or anything else,” Bowyer said. “I feel like we have to get aligned a lot more than we are with some sort of organization because you just don’t have that engineering that you need. 

“If somebody was to give us a set up — let’s say the leading car was to give you a set up to run that weekend. Well, alright, that’s a good baseline. If it’s loose, tight anything different than perfect and a race-winning car, how do you fix it? How do you work on it? How did you even get to this? You don’t have that simulation.

"You don’t have that week of pulling down, working on the pull-down rig, the stuff it takes to be on your game when those problems or instances present themselves, the way we worked before. Those guys had days, weeks to work on those set-ups ahead of time. 

“I think these smaller teams — and how they’re aligning with bigger organizations is almost the only way to find success until you get your feet underneath you, until you get established and have income coming in and can pay for another engineer and another engineer. Now, you have a team put together and you start operating as the bigger teams do.”

Although Bowyer has always been one of the most popular — and accessible drivers in the garage — it’s not been easy running at the back of the field in seven of eight races this season.

And with qualifying for Sunday Sprint Cup race being set by points due to the rain-out of time trials, Bowyer will roll off 39th on Sunday

“It’s humbling, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me,” Bowyer said. “When you run bad ... You got to be relevant. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re in. When you’re not relevant, no one wants you.”

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