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Bowyer Hopes His Interim Season Is Turning

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 5 2016
18 July 2015--Clint Bowyer during practice for the 5-Hour 301 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.(HHP Photo/Alan Marler)

Clint Bowyer is off to a forgettable start in 2016 but hopes Kansas could help turn things around. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Those who tap into in-race radio communication know that Clint Bowyer has not been wonderfully delighted about driving for his Harry Scott-owned Sprint Cup team this year.

Nothing personal, Bowyer said Thursday. Just Bowyer being Bowyer.

sprint-logo-08“I think everybody knows me,” Bowyer said during an interview at Kansas Speedway – site of this weekend’s Cup race – on Thursday. “Whether I’m frustrated or happy or whatever that ventilation whether it’s a celebratory ventilation or a pissed off moment happens the wick is pretty short it burns out about five minutes and the next thing out of my mouth is ‘alright now what are we going to do to fix it.’  I don’t ever care about yesterday or what happened in a practice or a race or even yesterday.”

Until 2016, Bowyer had spent his entire Cup career driving for big, well-funded, multi-car teams: From 2005 through 2011, he drove for Richard Childress racing, and then from 2012 through 2015, he was with Michael Waltrip Racing.

When Waltrip announced he was shutting down operations after the 2015 season, Bowyer was left in ride limbo for 2016.

In early fall, Tony Stewart announced that he was retiring from driving in Cup and that Bowyer would take his seat in the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in 2017.

Clint Bowyer and his team have had their struggles this year. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

Clint Bowyer and his team have had their struggles this year. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

Though that news was good for the Emporia, Kan. native, it still left him without a ride this year.

In stepped Scott and his small, relatively under-financed Cup operation. Scott offered and Bowyer and his energy drink sponsor made the move.

Veteran crew chief Steve Addington has been on the pit box for the No. 15 Chevrolet, but success has been well camouflaged.

Through the first seven races of the season, Bowyer, who had won eight races in his career, had a best finish of 18th at Fontana. Four times, he finished out of the top 30.

During races, he would shoot criticism back at this team. At one point, he said it might be best to just park and go home.

Feelings, in racing, are secondary to winning Bowyer knows.

“This sport is all about what you are going to do tomorrow,” he said. “That is what you have to instill in yourself and everybody around you to be able to go out there and get the job done and compete at the level that I know we are capable of competing at for our sponsors and for ourselves.”

Bowyer and team showed some the capability in two of the last three races. They finished eighth at Bristol three weeks ago and seventh at Talladega last weekend.

With racing this weekend at his home Kansas Speedway track, Bowyer issued some words of hope to his fans and sponsors.

“Well, I think two of the last three weekends have been top 10’s,” he said. “I was struggling to get that kind of consistency where I was last year.  It is beginning to start rolling.  It’s important to work hard to continue to improve.  We’ve got some good things coming that I’m excited about.  That is the thing… when you are down, most of the time there is a reason, especially, when you are down as far as we are down.  We had work to do we are starting to get some new wave of cars built and get some things to where we all are satisfied with them and excited about bringing them to the race track and seeing what our hard work has done.

“That is all you can do.  That is all you can ask for out of any team member, any organization or a driver.  Everybody has got to be able to pull on the rope in the same direction and give it their all.  When you finally get to that moment where you do that, you are satisfied.”

Bowyer, who is also racing in the Camping World Truck Series at Kansas, said coming home is good but also kind of stressful.

“It’s always busy,” when Bowyer returns to Kansas for a race. “It’s always home.  There is family and friends, people calling, wanting to see you, you want to see them, you need to make time for them.  Running this Truck race is something I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve wanted to shake things up.  Everybody knows I’m a racer.  I’ve always been willing and ready and excited for a challenge in any kind of race car through the years. The Truck Series has always been a lot of fun for me.  The vehicles are a blast to drive.”

Few can blame Bowyer for not enjoying racing as much as in the past. But racing on a limited budget is a fact of his life right now.

He said he would continue to push for success with Scott – and he will also continue to express his feelings.

Bowyer, who finished second in points in 2012 and third in 2006, was asked what he would have to do to feel as though he was successful this year.

“I felt like being able to compete in and around that top 15 to top 20 range consistently is going to put Harry (Scott) in a position that he can be appealing to sponsors, to drivers and things like that,” Bowyer said. “It’s pretty hard to set goals to winning races and things like that because, let’s face it; you’ve got to crawl before you can walk in life.  I feel like he realizes that.  You’ve got to create some goals to where you can get to where you want to be.

“That isn’t just a year’s time no matter what the situation is.  A lot of time if it is, it’s hard to maintain that and keep that when you see teams come in and spend gobs of money and have the success they can’t hold on to it.  His approach to all this of easing into it and earning his way is the right way.  We’ve got work to do to get it to where I feel like it needs to be by the end of the year.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, May 5 2016
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