Clint Bowyer faces an uncertain future at the moment, but is focusing his attention on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and chasing his first ever championship.
Bowyer is in his 15th full-time season at the Cup level and faces an uphill climb in his efforts to win his first title and return to Victory Lane for the first time in 2018.
But it’s not impossible, as his team co-owner Tony Stewart proved in 2011 when he entered the playoffs winless, only to dominate the postseason and secure his third championship.
“I came into the playoffs before (in 2007) and won New Hampshire right off the bat and rode that off into a third place finish and a shot at a title,” Bowyer said after naming William Byron the dark horse for the 2020 playoffs.
“That’s real. Look at Tony Stewart, his last championship. They sucked all year. All of a sudden, boom, here they come running and get on that wave, found the right wave and rode that damn thing off into the sunset down there at Homestead and a championship. It can happen. It can happen with any race team, but you’ve got to, for us, again, going back to how it’s gonna happen for me and that’s minimizing mistakes. We’ve got to clean up the mistakes that we’ve made. If we can do that, I’m telling you we’re capable of going rounds in this thing.”
Bowyer’s best points result came in 2012 when he finished runner-up in the championship to Brad Keselowski while driving for Michael Waltrip Racing.
The threat of COVID-19
But this year’s playoffs won’t just be about winning races and avoiding trouble. COVID-19 looms ever-present and a single positive test could derail a driver’s title hopes.
When asked about what precautions a driver should take, Bowyer quipped: “Gas mask. Same precautions you have. I mean, it’s the same thing . It’s COVID. I mean, it sucks. It’s pretty crazy to me that we’re this far along and we still really don’t know a whole lot more than where we’re at. I mean, it’s crazy times, but, nonetheless, you’ve got to take care of yourself. I’m probably not gonna go to college and hit up a keg stand. I’m probably not going to do that. I would say that would be a good opportunity to find yourself pointless.”
No contract for 2021, yet
Something else Bowyer has to deal with as the season nears its end are his plans for 2021. His teammate Aric Almirola just re-signed with the team, but Bowyer is not yet guaranteed a seat at Stewart-Haas Racing next year.
“They’re working on that on the future and what that looks like,” he said. “If it’s a part of this sport in any way shape or form I’m excited about it. We’ll work on that and really go to that. For right now it’s still about the playoffs. It’s new life. I’ve been so frustrated this summer. I mean, this pandemic sucks. I’m frustrated for our sport. I’m frustrated for our fans.”
The 41-year-old racer was later asked about his future again and reiterated his earlier comments, wanting to focus on the championship fight.
“Man, again, we’re working on all of that with the future. Hey man, I said it to Bob (Pockrass), if it’s being a part of this sport in any way shape or form I’m excited about it. I’m more excited about the playoffs right now. We have an opportunity to win a championship. You see that right there? (Picture of the trophy) I don’t have one of those. If you get me one of those, I’ll have way different opinions on strategies and what I’m gonna do, whether I’m staying or whatever. I want one of those and right now that’s the only thing that matters.”
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