Top-three finish for Clint Bowyer means he's "having fun again"

Clint Bowyer didn’t mince words when it came to assessing his third-place performance in Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

Top-three finish for Clint Bowyer means he's "having fun again"
Start: Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet leads
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, Daniel Suárez, Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
Clint Bowyer, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford

Asked if he could see a finish like this one coming, he said, “Hell yeah. It better be coming. When you’ve got a team like this that’s organized and as good as they are, it better be.”

While Bowyer had a solid start to the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season – his first replacing Tony Stewart in Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 14 Ford – Sunday was his first top-five of the season.

His most recent top-five in a MENCS race? You have to go all the way back to August 2015 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, when Bowyer still drove for the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing.

He spent last season at HScott Motorsports as he patiently awaited his new ride at SHR. He suffered through his worst season as a full-time Cup driver, finishing with three top-10s and ended up 27th in the series standings.

“It was just a good weekend. I appreciate everybody’s hard work at Stewart-Haas Racing,” he said. “Having these teammates and having this group behind you, the organization and the teamwork, it’s just amazing to be a part of it at this point in my career. 

“It means a lot to me to be in this No. 14. I have a lot of fun with these guys. Buga (crew chief Mike Bugarewicz) and all these guys mean business. It’s a confidence thing right now, a momentum-builder and we’re getting closer.

“I wanted to win that damn thing, but to come home with the wild finish and everything that it was, we’ll take it.”

Bowyer started the season with a disappointing 32nd-place finish at Daytona, but has been consistent in the past three races, finishing 11th, 10th and 13th.

On Sunday, he was also the top performing driver at SHR, as Kevin Harvick (13th) was the only other teammate to finish on the lead lap. Kurt Busch was 24th and Danica Patrick 26th.

“We never showed the speed in practice, but I wasn’t worried about it because I knew the car was really comfortable on the long run and things like that,” Bowyer said. 

“I’m just having fun again. That’s what it’s about.”

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Fontana
Location Auto Club Speedway
Drivers Clint Bowyer
Teams Stewart-Haas Racing
Author Jim Utter
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