Clint Bowyer returns to Kansas with ride capable of winning
The last few years, Clint Bowyer showed up at Kansas Speedway twice each season and dutifully handled every interview request, sponsorship event and promotional opportunity pushed his way.
He grew up in Wichita. It’s his home track.
He felt a sense of obligation, even when he was running at the back of the pack.
The demands on Bowyer’s time have only increased this week at Kansas, now that he’s back at the front. His fruitless one-year stopover with tiny HScott Motorsports has segued into his new fulltime ride with Stewart-Haas Racing, and he characterized the change in teams this way: “When I walked out of one building and got into the other one, it was a fun time. Trust me.’’
“It was overnight,’’ Bowyer said. “I woke up one morning as a Stewart-Haas employee.’’
The last couple years were akin to a nightmare.
He was uncompetitive during the final days of Michael Waltrip Racing, then signed on to drive for Harry Scott last season. He wound up leading just three laps, finished in the top 10 three times and never made the top five. His average finish of 23.6 was by far the worst of his career.
“Yeah, last year sucked,’’ Bowyer said. “It wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun for anybody, especially me. The good news is the bus picked us up and we jumped on the fun bus clear back in Daytona.’’
The dividends of driving for one of the sport’s established multicar teams paid off there, when Bowyer started sixth and had a strong car before crashing out. He’s completed every lap since then and led 10 last week at Talladega, the first time he’s had Tony Stewart’s old No. 14 in front.
Along the way, Bowyer put together a four-race stretch where he finished third at California, seventh at Martinsville, just outside the top 10 at Texas and second at Bristol.
That leaves Bowyer ninth in points heading into Saturday night’s race.