RICHMOND, Va. – Clint Bowyer says he’s put plans for next season on hold to focus on making the Chase for the Sprint Cup this weekend.
Bowyer enters Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race on NBCSN in the final transfer spot. He has a 29-point lead on Aric Almirola, the first driver outside the top 16.
Bowyer seeks to make the Chase while also looking for a ride for next season. Michael Waltrip Racing will close its shop and has announced plans to lay off all 217 employees by April 2016.
Recent reports have stated that Bowyer could join HScott Motorsports next season. Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier drive for the team this season. HScott Motorsports confirmed to NBC Sports last week that it will be a two-car team next year and that Annett will be in one of the cars. The team did not state who would be in the second car.
As for what Bowyer will be doing in 2016? He’s not saying much.
“It’s humbling the people that have reached out and been interested in me,’’ Bowyer said Friday at Richmond International Raceway. “Truth be told, man, look at what we’re in the middle of. Timing is good that it is ahead and not the end of the year you’re finding this out. Nonetheless, it’s pretty crunching times right here. I told them I don’t want to use the word back burner, but let’s take a time out for a couple of weeks and take care of business.’’
Bowyer said he spent this week at the farm, while his wife was in New York City with friends, leaving him alone with their son for a couple of days.
“My grandma showed up a quite a bit, I ain’t going to lie to you,’’ Bowyer said, laughing. “She made sure I was under control.’’
Bowyer enters this weekend after a 17th-place finish in last weekend’s Southern 500, losing six points to Almirola.
“You look at our last month and a half it has been really solid,’’ he said. “We sucked all weekend (at Darlington). The good news is we only go to that track once. It was a low-downforce deal. It really doesn’t hold any kind of weight as it pertains to this year. It’s kind of easy to put that behind you.’’
The low-downforce package will not be used again the rest of this season.
After NASCAR’S regular season ends, 16 drivers will advance to the Chase. Drivers will be eliminated after each round until a champion is crowned. Sign up at nbcsports.com/gridchallenge for a chance to win $16 million.