Bowyer, Zaxby's Team Finish 14th at Atlanta HAMPTON, Ga. -- Clint Bowyer and the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet team battled changing track conditions en route to a less-than-desired 14th-place finish in Saturday night's Great Clips 300 at Atlanta ...
Bowyer, Zaxby's Team Finish 14th at Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Clint Bowyer and the No. 21 Zaxby's Chevrolet team battled changing track conditions en route to a less-than-desired 14th-place finish in Saturday night's Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The Richard Childress Racing team remains 21st in the NASCAR Nationwide Series owners' point standings following the 26th event of the NNS season.
Saturday's one-day show began with two practice sessions that morning where Bowyer recorded the 18th- and 12th-fastest speeds, respectively. He followed that up by posting the 16th-fastest time in qualifying later that afternoon.
Racing action began shortly before 8 p.m. local time in front of an estimated crowd of 71,300 race fans. The 2008 NNS champion raced between the 13th and 17th positions in the opening 42 laps and battled a tight in and loose off condition. Debris forced NASCAR to display the event's first yellow flag one lap later, allowing Bowyer to hit pit road for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. He would restart 17th on lap 46.
The chassis adjustments aided the Emporia, Kan., native in the short term as he raced his way into 14th before a lap-61 yellow flag. Bowyer pitted for another small chassis adjustment, four fresh Goodyear Eagles and fuel during the caution period and lined up 18th for the lap-64 restart as several competitors were on varying pit strategies.
An 84-lap, green-flag run ensued and track temperatures began to drop rapidly as the sun faded. The changing track conditions negatively affected the handling of his Zaxby's Impala as Bowyer went a lap down to the leaders on lap 98.
The long green-flag run came to an end following a multi-car accident that occurred on the backstretch on lap 148. Bowyer was scored 16th and remained one lap down when he pitted for the fourth time of the night. Crew Chief Gere Kennon called for air pressure and chassis adjustments during the four tires and fuel pit stop to help aide Bowyer's handling woes.
Racing resumed on lap 152 and Bowyer engaged in a spirited battle with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was also a lap down, in order to get back on the lead lap. Even though Bowyer was unable to get around Stenhouse as the event's final yellow flag waved on lap 169, he found himself in the 'Lucky Dog' position after a visit to pit road on lap 170.
Bowyer restarted 14th on lap 172, but the race remained green for the final 23 laps and resulted in Bowyer finishing 14th.
Jamie McMurray won the 195-lap race and beat Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by .286 seconds. Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth rounded out the rest of the top-five finishers.
Next weekend, NASCAR's junior circuit will visit Richmond International Raceway.
"It was a rough night for the Zaxby's team tonight. Once the sun set, we had a hard time finding the right set up. We came here tonight not racing for points and only to win. We'll regroup and head to Richmond looking to put the No. 21 Chevrolet into Victory Lane."