It didn’t come with Hollywood bravado but confidence. Mired in what could become his worst Sprint Cup season, Clint Bowyer said this is not the end.
“You’ll see me back,’’ he said Thursday at Kansas Speedway.
Bowyer enters this weekend 27th in points for HScott Motorsports after scoring two top-10 finishes in the last three weeks.
Challenges were expected this year for Bowyer before he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing next year to replace Tony Stewart, but this has been a taxing season.
“I know I’m going to a championship-caliber team for three years after this one,’’ said Bowyer, who is in his 11th full-time Cup season.
For now, he’s at HScott Motorsports, a lower-budget team that has struggled in the Cup series. Bowyer is here because his team, Michael Waltrip Racing, shut down after last season. Bowyer had few options to race this year, thus the move to HScott Motorsports.
Alluding to HScott Motorsports’ struggles, Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently stated that he’s been “pleasantly surprised” with what former HScott Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier has done since joining JR Motorsports this year: “Let’s be honest, it’s hard to get a measure of what he had running on the Cup side over the last couple of years, where that program is, where the car is, where the communication is, where he is.’’
Bowyer has been frustrated at times this season with his car’s performance. He was asked Thursday if he needed to mend fences with his team over his outbursts.
“Everybody knows me,’’ he said. “Whether I’m frustrated or happy or whatever, that ventilation, whether it’s a celebratory ventilation or a pissed-off moment, the wick is pretty short and it burns out in about five minutes and the next thing out of my mouth is, ‘Alright, what are we going to do to fix it?’
“I don’t care about yesterday or what happened in a practice or a race. This sport is all about what you’re going to do tomorrow. That’s what you have to instill in yourself and everybody around you to go out and get the job done and compete at the level that I know we’re capable of competing at for our sponsors and ourselves.’’
While Bowyer has seen progress with this team, he knows more work remains.
“It’s important to work hard, to continue to improve,’’ said Bowyer, who also is competing in this weekend’s Camping World Truck race at Kansas Speedway. “When you’re down, most of the time there’s a reason, especially when you’re down as far as we’re down.’’
Bowyer is hopeful that some new cars will improve his finish. He’s not placed better than 22nd on a 1.5-mile track this season, scoring that result in March at Las Vegas. Bowyer has placed 30th or worse in five of the first 10 races.
He was asked what he would consider a decent year when this season ends.
“I felt like being able to compete in and around that top-15 to top-20 land consistently is going to put (owner Harry Scott) in a position where he’ll be appealing to sponsors and drivers and things like that. It’s pretty hard to set goals to winning races and things like that because, let’s face it, you’ve got to crawl before you can walk in life and he realizes that.’’