Last Sunday, Clint Bowyer gambled on two tires and track position at the end of the Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Raceway. In a brief run at the end of the race, he held off his teammate Kevin Harvick to win his second race of the season.
Not everyone was not happy about it.
“If you win a rain-shortened race, or you win a fuel mileage race, take your trophy and move on,” Brad Daugherty, one of the owners of JTG-Daugherty Racing, said Tuesday night on Sirius / XM radio. “I don’t want to hear anything else about it. I don’t want to hear on radio, TV; I don’t want to see somebody write something about it a year from later, talking about ‘oh yeah, Clint Bowyer had a great run at Michigan; they won the race.’ No!”
Daugherty suggests that strategy-aided wins should not be valued the same as races that go the full distance.
“I’m not looking at these guys who win these races – rain-delayed races – the same as I am as a guy who goes out, lays the coal to it, figures out how to get to that checkered flag at the end of the full period.”
Daugherty’s opinions were not echoed by NASCAR America analysts Jeff Burton and Dale Jarrett.
“You look at what Clint Bowyer and his group did on Sunday; they made a great pit strategy call and Clint Bowyer drove his butt off to keep the fastest racecar driver and the fastest car behind him, until it came the rain,” Burton said. “You want to tell me he didn’t deserve that? That’s wrong.”
“There are some exceptions where somebody runs terrible and just by chance – pit strategies and he’s a 20th-place car and he wins – I get that,” Burton continued. “But the majority of times, the by far, majority of times in a rain-shortened race, a really good car wins that race.”
Notably, one of JTG-Daugherty’s current drivers Chris Buescher won a rain- and fog-shortened race at Pocono in August 2016 while driving for Front Row Motorsports. He took the win by employing that strategy after running well back in the pack before weather intervened.
‘Brad Daugherty’s a friend of mine, but Brad, I 100% disagree with you here,” Dale Jarrett said.
‘If you win a race by fuel mileage because you’ve done things and gone about things differently – you weren’t the fastest car – that doesn’t make any difference. I’m sorry, you’ve won the race on a different strategy.”
For more, watch the video above.