Clint Bowyer laments Chase that ends in last-place finish among contenders

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LAS VEGAS – Yes, Clint Bowyer made the Chase, but that’s not how he looks at it.

“It is such an honor and really is a big thing to make this,’’ Bowyer said. “That being said, I’m dead last. I’ve never been that. Ever. If I made the Chase we’ve always run well. That was the biggest frustration of this year, I knew if we made the Chase that was going to be our celebration.’’

It was because Michael Waltrip Racing announced in August that it would cease operations after this season. The team was unable to find the financial backing to continue after co-owner Rob Kauffman announced he would leave to join Chip Ganassi Racing for 2016.

MWR later announced that it would begin laying off its staff of 217 people in early November and planned to complete the process by April 15, 2016.

“As soon as we made that announcement, it was going to start falling apart and it did,’’ said Bowyer, who finished 16th in the points and had an average finish of 24.2 in the Chase, including three finishes of 40th or worse. “There wasn’t anything you could do about it. You just had to show up at the track and get in and try to do the best you could. It really did suck to have to race like that, to have to race like that the last several weeks.’’

Bowyer heads to HScott Motorsports next season. He’ll run there a year before moving to Stewart-Haas Racing and replace Tony Stewart, who is retiring after the 2016 season. Bowyer would not say Thursday what car number he’ll have next year or who his crew chief will be at HScott Motorsports.

“There’s a lot of stuff that is going to come together pretty darn quick,’’ Bowyer said. “We were really had a lot of things going, a lot of conversations and a lot of meetings before Homestead. When you get home from Homestead … family is in town for Thanksgiving and just didn’t get a lot done there. As soon as we get home from there, all that stuff will (get done).’’