INDIANAPOLIS – Clint Bowyer is starting to heat up. He’s peaking at the right time. See, Bowyer has said all year that despite their struggles, they’re a single digit car. The speed in his No. 14 Ford is top 10 caliber. The problem is, the finishes haven’t been.
Bowyer, sat 73 points above the cutoff line leaving the Kansas Speedway in early May. He’d lose over 70 points after as he would have just one top five finish between Memorial Day and this weekend.
Furthermore, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver had nine finishes of 11th or worse, six of those outside the top 20 in an 11 race span.
The playoff chances looked dashed. He was barely hanging on.
Bowyer, came into this weekend’s race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway just eight points to the good. It would be a fight among him and three others for the final two spots into the postseason.
Now, he doesn’t have to worry anymore.
Bowyer, finished fifth in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 and now knows that he will be among the 16 drivers fighting for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.
The top five though didn’t come easy. He was battling strategy calls all day and nearly wrecked into a spinning Alex Bowman on Lap 136.
“Oh gosh, just the whole day kept throwing swings at me,” Bowyer said. “About the time I thought we had a good handle on all of this, all of the sudden here comes the 88 (Alex Bowman). It was just one of those days. It was going to be chaotic. I said that before the race. The 6 car (Ryan Newman) was able to capitalize on us. It all worked out in the second phase. From there, the race came to us. We were fast. We were a top five car. We were just trying to survive. Once it played out the way it did, you just needed to survive this thing.”
Bowyer likens his refound life to 2011. That year, he was among the last drivers in and had a phenomenal playoffs. This year, he heads to the playoffs on the heels of a seventh place run in Bristol, sixth place finish in last Sunday’s Southern 500 and now a fifth place finish in the Brickyard.