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Bowyer Now Putting His Troubles Behind Him

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, October 1 2010

Clint Bowyer says it's time to smile and move forward again. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Kansas City, Kan. – Resigned to the fact that he will not be able to move up this season, Clint Bowyer is opting to move on.

No more hard feelings against NASCAR because of the penalty which knocked him from contender to hopeless, no more false hope that perhaps an appeal of some type might help him, no more feuding with other teams and drivers who have been saying that Bowyer and Richard Childress Racing got what they deserved.

Back to the business of winning races, he said.

“I think the championship hopes are done for myself,” Bowyer said during a press briefing Friday at Kansas Speedway, site of Sunday’s Price Chopper 400 Sprint Cup race. “The thing that I have to do is be the best teammate I can be.

“We have to bring a championship home (for RCR).  We still have two shots at that, but for myself and our race team, I’ve never finished out of the top-five in the Chase and I want to continue that streak and want to continue that consistency in the Chase and I think that’s an attainable goal.  The biggest thing is to be the best teammate I can be.”

Bowyer was reduced to best-teammate status when he was hit with a 150-point penalty a couple days after winning the Chase-opening race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway two weeks ago and his appeal of that penalty was denied this week.

“That sucks,” Bowyer said of going from near the top to the very bottom within the space of just a couple of hours. “That’s an emotional roller coaster that nobody wants to ride. Trust me. It is what it is. This is a very humbling sport, I can promise you.”

Bowyer admits that the time fuming about his situation spilled over to anger and then turned into a disastrous performance last weekend at Dover when he finished three laps off the pace.

“I made some mistakes on the track last week that were uncharacteristic of myself,” he said. “We made some mistakes as a team that were uncharacteristic and our heads were not 100 percent in the game.”

He said he was shocked not at all about being rejected by the National Stock Car Racing Appeals Panel on Wednesday.

“I’m very disappointed, but not surprised at all,” Bowyer said. “I’ll leave it at that.”

Bowyer has one last chance at having his penalties overturned or lightened as the matter has been appealed to the chief appellate officer, former General Motors executive John Middlebrook.

Asked if he was holding out hope for a break from Middlebrook, Bowyer smirked. “What would you do?”

This week, Bowyer says he has moved on. Instead being steamed about being in last place in the Chase instead of first or second as he arrives in his home state to drive in front of family, friends and fellow Kansans, he is peaceful.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Bowyer, who grew up in Emporia, Kan. about 100 miles to the south of the track and who won a couple of championships at the Lakeside Speedway dirt track five miles to the norht. “Got here back to my old stomping grounds and back to my old friend’s Tim Karrick’s house and worked on my dirt car, putting engines in and things.

“Felt like the old days. Late Model boys were cleaning their cars up and working on the Modifieds and having fun.  Had our annual fan club gathering last night, it was a lot of fun.  That is a neat thing to do if you ever think about it – those are your fans.  Those people – you mean as much to them as they do us and it was a fun deal. It was the annual go-karting and had a lot of fun racing everybody and interacting.

“What’s fun about coming back home, I was in Topeka and Lawrence and all over and Kansas City.  Just enjoy this race track and racing out here in front of the home town family and friends and everybody that gets to come here and enjoy this fun weekend for all of us.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, October 1 2010
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