DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – Clint Bowyer said on Saturday afternoon from the World Center of Racing that while he was frustrated in his recent bad luck in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. But, he wasn’t all down on it either.
See, Bowyer knew that despite entering this weekend’s Coke Zero Sugar 400 16th in the points standings, that he wasn’t a 16th place driver. He also didn’t have a 16th place car either. So, as quickly as things went down for him, they could go back up just as fast.
Unfortunately, he will have to wait another week for that to happen.
Bowyer, was running in the top three in Sunday’s rain delayed race before being caught up in the Lap 118 “Big One.” The Stewart-Haas Racing driver was actually a big reason to why this crash even happened in the first place.
Bowyer, was manning the inside line and had a great run on Austin Dillon through the tri-oval for the lead. Unfortunately for Bowyer, Dillon is in a similar points predicament as he is. Dillon, also needs to win a race.
So, Dillon moved to block Bowyer and Bowyer couldn’t lift the throttle on his No. 14 Ford. As a result, you get a 17 car melee sparked by contact between the 3 and the 14.
“I guess he didn’t want to me to pass him,” said Bowyer on his view of the crash. “I don’t know. I got under him and he blocked and we got together. I got off of him – moved down and got off of him – and here he comes back down even more and just finally wrecked us all.
“That’s part of racing like this.”
Because of that, Bowyer leaves Daytona with a 34th place finish. Bowyer’s last six finishes are – 24th, 5th, 35th, 11th, 37th and 34th respectively. That’s why his 73 point gap on the playoff bubble fell to 15 heading into this weekend.
Six races ago, Clint Bowyer was coming off of a fifth place finish at his home track in Kansas. It was his sixth top 10 finish in a seven race span in his No. 14 Ford.
Bowyer, said that now that he’s lost 58 points in five races, he’s regretting a move he didn’t make this past spring in Richmond.
“You look at the way we were running in April and May we were knocking on the door,” said Bowyer on Saturday in Daytona. “I look back at Richmond. Man, if I had known then what I know now, I would have moved (Martin) Truex out of the way and won that race by a straightaway like I probably should have done.
“But, in the moment right there, the way we were running, I wasn’t worried about it. If we didn’t win that night, we were going to win the next night.”
Bowyer, was right there contending for the win that night but his tires fell off and instead of going for the win, he faded to a third place result. Again, at the time, a win was coming.
“We were running really, really well, and that win was coming,” continued Bowyer. “But that’s racing man. You can go from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows pretty damn fast, and we did that, we proved that from May to June we went from seventh or eighth in points to 16th or something.
“But we’re not a 16th place team, and I know that.”
Bowyer, said that as long as he knows that, this downward spiral can be changed.
“If you can lose it in a month, you sure as hell can gain it in a month, and I would be a lot more concerned if our organization wasn’t capable of turning that around and, more importantly, my team with Mike (Bugarewicz, crew chief) and the 14 car.”
Bowyer, notes that he’s had some “crazy stuff” happen to him in this six race string that can quickly turn around the other way, but they do have to do a better job and clean up their acts. If they can do so, they’ll be just fine.
“There’s not a concern about being able to get back to where we need to be.”
The good thing about Sunday’s race though is that Bowyer scored 10 stage points. He finished seventh in Stage 1 and fifth in Stage 2. Those are his first stage points since that May 11 race in Kansas.
Only four more drivers scored as many points as him in the two stages on Sunday, half of them have wins this season and the other was Dillon who entered this weekend behind Bowyer.