Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer gets ‘unclogged’, feels enlightened after runner-up finish

1 Comment

Clint Bowyer might have lost his patience with NASCAR after another group qualifying fiasco, but the Stewart-Haas Racing driver didn’t lose his sense of humor.

Rebounding from starting 25th and failing to advance from the first round of another controversial qualifying session, Bowyer finished a season-best second Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway and then took a playful shot at race officials

“Unclogged,” Bowyer told reporters with a laugh when asked how he felt after his second top five of the season and first since Feb. 24 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.We definitely unclogged ourselves from qualifying.”

It was a not-so-subtle reference to his displeasure with NASCAR after feeling he was blocked by Ryan Newman during qualifying. A directive was issued last week warning drivers against “clogging” the middle lane in the pits. Newman wasn’t penalized.

“I read the rulebook again, which you have to be about a lawyer to read anymore, and you’re not supposed to clog the middle, and I couldn’t tell if that was an acceptable amount of clog, or not enough clogging or what kind of clogging level that was,” he said Friday to FS1 after earning his second-worst starting spot of the year. “Because at a certain point of cloggingness of the middle lane, you will get disallowed of your time is how I read that.”

By Sunday, Bowyer had shook it off, and his No. 14 Ford capably navigated traffic over 500 miles on the 1.5-mile oval.

Though he didn’t earn any stage points, Bowyer and crew chief Mike Bugarewicz played strategy well and finished 2.743 seconds behind winner Denny Hamlin.

“(The car) wasn’t lightning fast all day long, but as they started slip sliding around and struggling we’d kind of prevail on those long runs,” Bowyer said. “All in all, I’m really happy to finish where we were.  What a wild race.  Just about the time you think you’re going to have some stage points the caution would come out and then you thought you were back in, and it happened again.  Then you’re like, ‘Well, damn.  What kind of haymakers are going to be thrown at the end?’, and it just didn’t.

“Anytime you finish second it’s like, ‘What could I have done?’  When (Hamlin) came out of the pits that far ahead of us I was like, ‘We’re in big trouble,’ but second is not bad for the way our weekend started.”

It actually was a major improvement for a driver who has felt burned multiple times by group qualifying the past few years as NASCAR has sorted out how to make the system work with drafting and the 2019 rules package.

“We had to unclog ourselves,” Bowyer told FS1 with a smile. “Once we unclogged ourselves, we were really good.”

Penalties issued to Stewart-Haas, RCR and Kyle Busch Motorsports

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR issued three penalties Tuesday from this past weekend’s racing action at both New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway.

In the Cup Series, Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief of the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion driven by Clint Bowyer, was fined $10,000 for a safety violation: a loose lug nut discovered during post-race inspection at New Hampshire following the ISM Connect 300.

In the Xfinity Series, Randall Burnett, crew chief of the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet driven by Ben Kennedy at Kentucky, was issued an L1 penalty for post-race rear body inspection height violation that was outside allowed tolerances.

Burnett was fined $10,000 and suspended from this weekend’s Xfinity race at Dover. In addition, Kennedy was assessed the loss of 10 driver points, while the team was assessed the loss of 10 owner points.

Kennedy’s 11th-place finish was also encumbered.

Finally, in the Camping World Truck Series, Kevin Manion, crew chief of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra driven by Todd Gilliland, was fined $5,000 and suspended from this weekend’s Truck race in Las Vegas.

Manion was assessed an L1 penalty for failure to ensure the rear brake cooling assembly was sealed from the air inlet to the exhaust.

Gilliland’s third-place finish was encumbered and he was also assessed the loss of 10 driver points, while KBM suffered the loss of 10 owner points.

Stenhouse leads train of 6 Fords in final Daytona NASCAR Cup practice

Leave a comment

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. led a Ford onslaught during Saturday’s final NASCAR Cup practice for Sunday’s 59th Daytona 500.

Stenhouse Jr. was the fastest of six Ford drivers that paced the 28-driver field with a top speed of 198.452 mph, nearly two mph faster than second-fastest Joey Logano (196.751 mph).

Logano’s Team Penske teammate, Brad Keselowski, was third-fastest (196.747), followed by three Stewart-Haas Racing teammates: Kevin Harvick (196.726), Kurt Busch (196.700) and Clint Bowyer (196.674).

The fastest Chevrolet driver was Elliott Sadler, seventh-fast at 196.584 mph. The fastest Toyota driver was Canadian driver D.J. Kennington, who was 25th-fastest at 192.814 mph.

In an interesting twist, no other Toyota drivers took part in the practice session at Daytona International Speedway.

Click here to see how the final practice played out.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Clint Bowyer, wife Lorra, expecting second child

(Photo by Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
1 Comment

The family of Clint Bowyer will grow by one in the near future.

The HScott Motorsports driver announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon that he and his wife of two years, Lorra, are expecting a baby girl.

The Bowyer’s welcomed their son, Cash Aaron, into the world on Oct. 1, 2014.

When the new addition to the family likely arrives, Bowyer will be driving the No. 14 for Stewart-Haas Racing, taking over for the retiring Tony Stewart.

Clint Bowyer on 2016: ‘I want to win. It’s been a long time’

Leave a comment

Clint Bowyer is one of the funniest guys in the Sprint Cup garage. He’s never at a loss for a joke, an impromptu ad-lib or a humorous outlook on life.

But there’s nothing funny about the fact Bowyer hasn’t won a Sprint Cup race since 2012 (when he won three times).

And even though he’s kind of in a way station in 2016 – a one-year deal with HScott Motorsports before he moves to Stewart-Haas Racing to replace the retiring Tony Stewart – the Kansas native has big hopes for his one-off campaign with HSM.

“I want to be able to come in here and help (team owner Harry Scott Jr.) build his company to where he wants it, to where it can stand on its own two feet and be a better place than what it was when I came,” Bowyer said during Tuesday’s Daytona 500 Media Day at Daytona International Speedway. “I think we can do that.”

Bowyer and HSM actually might be better off than some might think. The organization gets engines from Hendrick Motorsports and chassis and support from SHR.

“I think we can lean on these alliances,” Bowyer said. “Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing (are) pretty big powerhouses in this sport.

“But it’s going to be all about using those resources and alliances. If I can do that and get my foot in the door, be an asset to them, I think we can even get more in return.

“(Scott has) got good alliances. He’s got the right pieces. He’s buying the right pieces from the right people. We got to make sure that we put them together correctly and get consistent, first and foremost. Then hopefully, you know, get us a win. I want to win. It’s been a long time.”

Bowyer and HSM are kind of like the Little Engine That Could – or at least they hope to be that way. But there are some stark differences from what Bowyer has been used to through most of his career.

“There’s not the resources, the manpower that I’ve been accustomed to,” Bowyer said. “500 employees at RCR (Richard Childress Racing), 275 I think at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing).

“I think it’s 40 (employees at HSM). It’s definitely a huge difference between where I’ve been and even where I’m going next. But at the end of the day I really enjoy Harry. He’s a good guy.

“(Crew chief Steve Addington), I’ve watched him win a lot of races, have success in this sport over the years. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a year, and we’ve got to make sure we make the most out of it.”

In a sense, Bowyer finds himself in a similar situation to Kurt Busch in 2012, after the latter was released by Team Penske and joined Phoenix Racing, which Harry Scott purchased from James Finch late in the 2013 season.

“(Busch) ran good, he ran better than expectations,” Bowyer said. “He damn near beat me at Sonoma. He almost won a race.”

As a result, Bowyer thinks he can do something similar.

“I think (winning a race is) doable,” Bowyer said. “I think you can sneak in and win a race. If you could do that, that would be monumental for a team like this, in a situation like this.”

And that also means HSM would qualify for the Chase, as well.

“I do believe we could back into the Chase,” Bowyer said. “I think we could be consistent enough with some of my things that I’ve done over the years.

“Consistency has been one of my strong points. If we can get the cars close enough where you’re not having to drive over the capabilities to get the job done.

“You’ve just got to be solid week in and week out. You’ve got to build a platform. These guys have certainly not ran the way they want to run. That’s why Harry chose to do this and put me in it.

“I need to have a good year. … I need to get back up front and running good. I don’t like running bad. I’m in this sport. This isn’t just a job. I can get a job anywhere. I have a (car) dealership if I want to go to work. I don’t want to work. I want to go race and run up front.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski