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Clint Bowyer dishes on white whales, lost wallets, lightning strikes and bustin’ a move

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A white whale is both a real-life ocean mammal and more recently has become an increasingly popular metaphor to describe a goal someone chases or seeks to obtain.

It’s now also a great punchline from Clint Bowyer.

During Wednesday’s Daytona 500 media day at Daytona International Speedway, Bowyer was asked about his 0-for-14 record in the Great American Race.

For the record, his best finish in the 500 has been fourth in both the 2009 and 2010 events. So when an inquisitive reporter asked Bowyer about his winless streak, the question posed was “Is the Daytona 500 your white whale?”

The farm boy from Emporia, Kansas seemed a little stumped by the question.

But his reply was priceless.

“Man, I just got here and that is the second question and you come with that? You couldn’t wait a little bit to punch me in the face?” Bowyer said. “I don’t know the white whale thing. We didn’t have whales in Kansas. They didn’t offer that terminology in Kansas.

“That was a long ways from our reality. Maybe a horseshoe or something like that. You have to redneck it up a little bit for me.”

Bowyer is one of the best cut-ups on the Cup circuit – he’s learned some great lessons from his boss, Tony Stewart – but he also is a realist. Bowyer turns 41 in less than four months and understands he probably has only a few more years left in his racing career.

He also knows his chance to win NASCAR’s biggest race continues to fade with each passing year.

“It is time, you know,” Bowyer said of his winning the 500. “Yes, you think about it. I didn’t think about it early in my career.

“Early on you just want to win it so bad but then the years click by and you think about how that opportunity only comes once a year and I want to win that race. That is the one that you want to win. The thing is, the prestige is still there and the skill set that it takes to win has changed.

“You talk about the years, think about the way it was when I first started and what you had to overcome with handling and slipping and sliding around and a gutsy move. Now it is survival. You have to find that hole that is a safe hole to survive and make it to the end. You have to get there. It literally is the hardest thing to do, to get to the end of that race with all four fenders on it so you have an opportunity.”

Answering questions about white whales or his chances of winning the 500 is only the latest in a string of unusual experiences that Bowyer has recently gone through.

On Monday’s day off from racing at Daytona, Bowyer, Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski and their families visited Disney World in nearby Orlando. The group found someone’s wallet near a bench on Main Street.

Through a little investigative work, Bowyer & Co. reunited the wallet with its rightful owner.

Clint picks up the story from there, essentially repaying a good deed from when he also recently lost his wallet:

“I had that happen to me not long ago. We were at a sporting event over the winter and long story short, we were in an Uber that wasn’t ours. That guy got out and it was traffic jam city and I paid. The reason I knew where my wallet was is because I paid with it but I set it on my lap and we jumped out, a bunch of us in a hurry. I knew where my wallet was, I just didn’t know how to find it.

“Two days later that guy (Uber driver) found me on social media and forever I will return that favor. Not only was it still there with all the money in it and everything. He asked how I wanted him to get it to me and I told him, ‘I think there is about $500 in it, you can take it all and ship to me or I will come get it and you can have half.’ He goes, ‘I will ship it to ya.’ That was the best thing that happened to me in a long time.”

Bowyer was happy to make the wallet owner’s day by returning it.

“Can you imagine being at Disney World with your kids and this is something people save for years for and here we are, we find this wallet that has his license in it, (his wife’s) license in it, both of their credit cards,” Bowyer said. “I just knew we had to find this guy because he was super screwed. Literally the power of social media. I think it was 10 minutes. I will give you 12 minutes max and the guy was right in front of us. We found him.”

To round out the triumvirate of oddities that Bowyer has experienced lately, his pool was struck by lightning recently.

“That was the craziest thing ever,” Bowyer said. “We were home and it was flooding a lot and the lake behind our house was rising really fast. We were looking out the window and BOOM! It shook the house.

“It wasn’t like a thunder shake, it was like something hit the house. There was a really bright flash in the back windows, literally right where we were looking. The TV and lights went out and then came back on. That was a good sign from what I know about lightning strikes.

“I called my brother and said, ‘Man, I don’t know if this thing is on fire or what but we just got hit, I know we did. I am telling you that something around this house, close got hit.’ I got to looking and looked out the back and there is a slide that we have for the kids to slide in the pool and the water thing that sprays was shooting like a geyser up out of that. I was like, ‘Oh damn, it hit the slide.’ I looked over by the pool equipment and there was smoke coming up and I saw the shrapnel over there and I found it man. Since then, my caretaker just called and said that the heat and air is out too. I think we have bigger problems. Lightning sucks.”

The driver of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang was also asked about a new TV commercial that debuted today and featured a “dancing” Bowyer (much of it from a stand-in).

“Well, this kid showed up didn’t even resemble me and I was like, ‘You are going to make him look like me or me look like him and do this rave thing you speak of?’” Bowyer said. “But they nailed it. Kevin (Harvick) and I were talking about it walking in here. That is the power of Hollywood. You land out there and that is what they can do. They can make a dancer out of even me. Little old me.

“I had to try several (dance moves). I had to attempt them because I had to lead into that but hell no, I can’t move that fast. I am 40 for crying out loud.”

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Former NASCAR Chairman Brian France defends leadership style in interview

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Former NASCAR Chairman Brian France defended his leadership style when running the stock-car series and said in an interview with Sports Business Journal that he was working on leaving the sport before he was ousted after his DWI arrest in August 2018.

The interview with Sports Business Journal marked France’s first public comments since his arrest.

France became NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in September 2003, assuming the position from his father, Bill France Jr.

Brian France held that position until Aug. 6, 2018, when he took a leave of absence after his arrest for driving while intoxicated in Sag Harbor, New York. He was replaced by Jim France and did not return to NASCAR.

Brian France pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated in June 2019. As part of the agreement, he was required to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo alcohol counseling. If he completes those and does not run afoul of the law, his misdemeanor charge will be reduced to a non-criminal infraction in June 2020.

France told Sports Business Journal that he was actively talking to and identifying potential replacements before his arrest but did not go into detail.

France, who oversaw the TV deal with NBC and Fox that goes through 2024 and created the Chase/playoff format, defended his absence from the track during his reign. France did not attend every race and that became an issue in the garage, raising questions about how involved he was with the sport.

“I understand that kind of criticism, but there is no other sports league that gets any criticism like that,” France told Sports Business Journal of the time he spent at the track. “I’ve always found that a bit interesting that no one else asks another commissioner how many football games or practices he made.”

Jim France is at the track nearly every weekend. Brian France told Sports Business Journal that while his uncle attends more races to match his objective, “(it) didn’t match up with mine, so I had to take the criticism on my way to managing the commercial side.”

France, who endorsed Donald Trump for president at a Feb. 29, 2016 rally at Valdosta State University in Georgia, accompanied President Trump on Air Force One to Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, according to the pool media report.

Monday’s Daytona 500: Restart time, weather and more

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Let’s try this again.

After rain postponed Sunday’s race, Cup drivers will get back on track Monday at Daytona International Speedway to complete the Daytona 500. And the forecast looks very good for Monday’s race.

The race was halted after 20 of 180 laps with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leading.

Here are today’s details:

(All times are Eastern)

RESTART: Command to fire engines at 4:02 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:12 p.m. 

DISTANCE: 180 of the scheduled 200 laps remain to be run on the 2.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 65. Stage 2 ends on Lap 130.

TV/RADIO: Fox’s broadcast begins at 4 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast begins at 4 p.m. and also can be heard on mrn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 73 degrees and a 3% chance of rain when the race resumes.

RUNNING ORDER:

  1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Aric Almirola
  4. Ryan Newman
  5. Kevin Harvick
  6. Brad Keselowski
  7. William Byron
  8. Jimmie Johnson
  9. Ty Dillon
  10. Timmy Hill
  11. David Ragan
  12. Chris Buescher
  13. Matt DiBenedetto
  14. Chase Elliott
  15. Ross Chastain
  16. Alex Bowman
  17. Kyle Larson
  18. Kurt Busch
  19. Austin Dillon
  20. Cole Custer
  21. Michael McDowell
  22. Tyler Reddick
  23. Ryan Blaney
  24. Bubba Wallace
  25. Reed Sorenson
  26. BJ McLeod
  27. Corey LaJoie
  28. Brendan Gaughan
  29. Ryan Preece
  30. Justin Haley
  31. Martin Truex Jr.
  32. Kyle Busch
  33. Erik Jones
  34. Christopher Bell
  35. Denny Hamlin
  36. Clint Bowyer
  37. John Hunter Nemechek
  38. Quin Houff
  39. Joey Gase
  40. Brennan Poole

Daytona 500 postponed to Monday

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The Daytona 500 has been postponed until Monday, NASCAR announced Sunday evening.

The race is scheduled to take the green flag at 4:05 p.m. ET Monday. The garage will open at 1:30 p.m. The race will air on Fox.

The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies with a high of 72 degrees and an 11% chance of rain when the race is scheduled to resume.

The race was scheduled to take the green flag Sunday at 3:18 p.m. ET but that was pushed back because of President Donald Trump’s participation in ceremonies before the race. He gave the command to start engines and his motorcade led the field on a pace lap. An extra pace lap was done to honor Jimmie Johnson, who is making his final Daytona 500 start.

As the field was set to take the green flag at 3:29 p.m. ET, rain in Turns 1 and 2 prevented the start. Rain fell throughout the track and led to a 51-minute delay.

When the race resumed, the field completed 20 laps before rain led to a caution at 4:36 p.m. ET. The field again was brought to pit road and the race was stopped. NASCAR told teams they could uncover cars on pit road at 6:18 p.m. ET but almost immediately there were reports of rain drops around the track. Drivers were called to their cars but never got in them. It began to pour around 6:44 p.m. ET. The race was called at 6:50 p.m. ET

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led the opening 20 laps. He is followed by Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick.

Sixth through 10th is Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Jimmie Johnson, Ty Dillon and Timmy Hill.

This is the second time the Daytona 500 has been postponed by rain. It happened in 2012.

Daytona 500 once again under rain delay

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Rain has once again put a damper on the 62nd Daytona 500.

The race got through the first 20 laps of the scheduled 200-lap event before the yellow flag came out, sending cars back to the pits.

Pole Sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and his Chevrolet has led all laps since the green flag fell. Fords make up the next five spots (Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski), while the highest Toyota’s driver — Martin Truex Jr. — is back in 31st place.

It was the second time rain has impacted the event. After seven pace laps, the start of the race was delayed for 51 minutes due to rain. Engines were re-fired at 4:14 p.m. ET

The race is airing on Fox.

We will keep you updated on the status of the race and when it resumes.