With a 73-point deficit to the cutoff, Clint Bowyer is in a must-win situation heading into this week’s Phoenix race (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC) in order to advance to the championship finale.
“(Round 3) has been a tough one on us,” Mike Bugarewicz, Bowyer’s crew chief, told NASCAR America’s Marty Snider on Tuesday’s show. “It’s definitely challenging us. But that’s what the (playoffs are) all about. … But we have one more shot to make it through to Homestead and we don’t plan to give up yet.
“The question just comes down to be are we going to be a car that can contend for the win on Sunday outright racing them or are we going to have to get strategic and try to figure out a way to get in position. One way or another, we don’t quit.”
Bowyer faces an uphill battle. Phoenix has not been one of his better track over the course of his career. With an average finish of 18.4 in 26 starts, it ranks third-worst behind Darlington (22.8 in 13 starts) and Atlanta (20.4 in 18 starts). Bowyer has not scored a top five at Phoenix since 2008 when he finished second to Jimmie Johnson.
In fact, he’s had only one top 10 in his last 10 Phoenix races (a sixth this spring).
“At the end of the day, you’re still in contention for the big prize,” Bugarewicz said. “Is it going to be a little harder to get there? Absolutely, but at the end of the day we race for wins every week, so this is no different.”
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