It is no secret that the last two years of Clint Bowyer’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career have been anything but spectacular. In fact, one could argue that 2015 and 2016, were the worst seasons statistically for Bowyer since his rookie season in 2006.
His average finishes in that two-year span were 18.8 and 23.6, respectively, resulting in points standings finishes of 16th in 2015 and 27th in 2016. Bowyer would lose his ride with Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of 2015 and signed a one-year contract with the now defunct, Harry Scott Motorsports for the 2016 season.
Bowyer would lose his ride with Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of 2015 and signed a one-year contract with the now defunct Harry Scott Motorsports for the 2016 season.
Admittedly, the equipment that the Kansas native has driven in over the last two seasons was hardly competitive. The deal with HSM would allow Bowyer to stay in the MENCS until the seat of the No. 14 Ford with Stewart-Haas Racing opened up with the eventual retirement of Tony Stewart.
Bowyer, who hasn’t won a MENCS race since 2012, is in perhaps the best position to rejuvenate his career with his new team and new opportunity.
On Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, Bowyer recorded his first top-five finish since 2015 with a third-place showing in the Auto Club 400. Bowyer summed up what it meant to run well stating, “We’ve been beat up pretty bad lately over the last year and a half or so. It felt good just to be a part of the camera shot again.”
Bowyer has shown flashes of success in several events this year but hasn’t been able to put together a complete race like he did on Sunday. Bowyer said, “It’s incredible, it’s so much fun again to be up there in competitive cars and to be battling it out again”.
In his post-race media availability, Bowyer said he was “appreciative of everything” and thanked Gene Haas and Tony Stewart for giving him the opportunity to drive for them and with the caliber of teammates that he has. “Just to have the organization behind me, everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing, my teammates. To have teammates like this at this point in your career and everything that I have been through, you know how fortunate you are when you get this opportunity.”
Bowyer’s excitement, emotion, and genuine comments following Sunday’s race show that he is once again confident in his own ability with the early success on the track. It will be interesting to see what strides this driver and team can make over the course of the full 2017 season.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Huff (apertureone.net)