NASCAR Cup
NASCAR Cup
08 Feb
-
09 Feb
Event finished
08 Feb
-
17 Feb
Event finished
21 Feb
-
23 Feb
Event finished
28 Feb
-
01 Mar
Event finished
06 Mar
-
08 Mar
Event finished
R
Martinsville
07 May
-
09 May
Next event in
48 days
R
All-Star
15 May
-
16 May
Next event in
56 days
R
Charlotte
22 May
-
24 May
Next event in
63 days
R
29 May
-
31 May
Next event in
70 days
R
Michigan
05 Jun
-
07 Jun
Next event in
77 days
R
12 Jun
-
14 Jun
Next event in
84 days
R
Chicagoland
19 Jun
-
21 Jun
Next event in
91 days
R
26 Jun
-
28 Jun
Next event in
98 days
R
Indianapolis
03 Jul
-
05 Jul
Next event in
105 days
R
Kentucky
09 Jul
-
11 Jul
Next event in
111 days
R
17 Jul
-
19 Jul
Next event in
119 days
R
Michigan II
07 Aug
-
09 Aug
Next event in
140 days
R
Watkins Glen
14 Aug
-
16 Aug
Next event in
147 days
R
Dover II
21 Aug
-
23 Aug
Next event in
154 days
R
Daytona II
27 Aug
-
29 Aug
Next event in
160 days
R
Darlington
04 Sep
-
06 Sep
Next event in
168 days
R
Richmond II
10 Sep
-
12 Sep
Next event in
174 days
R
Bristol II
17 Sep
-
19 Sep
Next event in
181 days
R
Las Vegas II
25 Sep
-
27 Sep
Next event in
189 days
R
Talladega II
02 Oct
-
04 Oct
Next event in
196 days
R
Charlotte II
09 Oct
-
11 Oct
Next event in
203 days
R
Kansas II
16 Oct
-
18 Oct
Next event in
210 days
R
Texas II
23 Oct
-
25 Oct
Next event in
217 days
R
Martinsville II
30 Oct
-
01 Nov
Next event in
224 days
R
Phoenix II
06 Nov
-
08 Nov
Next event in
231 days

Bowyer looks for redemption at Kansas after Talladega frustration

shares
comments
Bowyer looks for redemption at Kansas after Talladega frustration
By:
Oct 21, 2017, 12:43 AM

No, Clint Bowyer’s 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series season hasn’t unfolded according to plan.

Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Ryan Blaney, Wood Brothers Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and Mike Bugarewicz
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing Toyota
Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Joining Stewart-Haas Racing and taking over for team co-owner Tony Stewart in the No. 14 car should have been the opportunity of a lifetime.

That’s the thing about Stewart-Haas; there’s no quit

Clint Bowyer

But Bowyer — unlike his SHR teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch — has yet to win in the first 31 races of the season. He failed to qualify for the playoffs and hasn’t posted a top-five finish since Watkins Glen on August 6.

Talladega disappointment

Certainly, it was understandable when frustration got the best of Bowyer at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend. After all, Bowyer had a wicked-fast car. He qualified seventh, finished fifth in the first stage and third in the second stage. Although Talladega ranks at the top of death-defying tracks for Bowyer, he’s also won there twice.

“When you get down to the end of those things, there’s a point, you can feel it as a fan,” Bowyer said. “You can feel it in the car. There’s a point in those races where you have to be in position, you got to be in the hunt.

“The one common denominator is I knew and I felt strongly that a Ford was going to win that race. In the back of my mind, there’s a handful of tracks that I feel we can be competitive, win at and beat these Toyotas right now. That was one of them. Just a lot of things going on and confusion was one of them, that’s for damn sure.”

Bowyer was prophetic. Brad Keselowski’s Ford won. Following a less than stellar pit stop in the final stage, Bowyer fell to the rear of the field. He was collected in a wreck involving Cole Whitt and AJ Allmendinger and finished 35th.

Drama within the No. 14 team

“How did we end up in the back,” Bowyer asked his crew chief Mike Bugarewicz over the radio.

Bugarewicz replied, “We’ve tore up a lot of other (stuff) throughout the year, too, bud.”

“I ain’t taking this (crap),” Bowyer said.

“Well, these guys don’t want to hear it either,” Bugarewicz replied.

Bowyer wasn’t finished. He parked his car in the pit box, had words with Bugarewicz and walked out without knowing whether his was drivable — or not.

On Friday at Kansas Speedway, Bowyer insisted his car was not viable.

“That’s why we came to the pits and took a look at it,” Bowyer said. “Somebody drove around the track at the beginning of the race and oiled the track down and I think NASCAR made them wait until the race was over four hours later, or whenever the hell he got done with it. I was in Kansas unloading my family. That sucked.

“Unfortunately, the rules that you’re in, it sucks. It didn’t seem like anybody could continue at Talladega last week. It’s just a frustrating race. It’s extremely nerve wracking. To be dead honest with you, when I’m at home there are only two tracks that I’m scared of. There is only track in the back of my mind that I could lose my life and those are the only two. When things get out of control you have to remember that. Were still out there risking our lives. There’s a lot at stake.”

Home again

With Bowyer returning to his home track — Kansas Speedway — this weekend, he’d hoped to put Talladega in his rearview mirror. On Tuesday and Wednesday, his SHR teammate Kurt Busch filled in at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the tire test on the Roval while Bowyer fulfilled a sponsor commitment in New Mexico. He’s taking Busch’s place for the Homestead-Miami test next week. Bowyer made a point of shifting the focus from the No. 14 crew's issues to the SHR team effort for Kevin Harvick’s title run.

“That’s the thing about Stewart-Haas; there’s no quit,” Bowyer said. “It’s a collaborative effort with everybody and all the race teams until we don’t have a car in the hunt that effort is not going to stop.”

Bowyer certainly didn’t “quit” on Friday. After posting the eighth-quick single-lap speed in practice, he advanced to the final round of time trials and qualified 10th.

Still, after running 18th in the standings, leading 22 laps, scoring five top fives and 12 top 10s, might it be time to consider a new crew chief for Bowyer? With Danica Patrick parting ways with SHR at the end of the year, Billy Scott will be available. Scott was Bowyer's crew chief at the end of 2015 prior to Michael Waltrip Racing imploding.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s not time...it’s time to start thinking about that. At the end of the day, it’s about depth in our organization and building and organization. We just talked about teammates and things.

"Who knows? There could be a lot of different things that happen in the off-season for Stewart-Haas. You don’t know that. I don’t know that or anybody else. Time will tell and paint a lot clearer picture.”

Next article
Truex snags Kansas pole over Harvick

Previous article

Truex snags Kansas pole over Harvick

Next article

If Johnson is feeling the playoff pressure, it doesn't show

If Johnson is feeling the playoff pressure, it doesn't show
Load comments

About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Kansas II
Location Kansas Speedway
Drivers Clint Bowyer
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Author Lee Spencer