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Head2Head: Should Bowyer leave RCR after this season?

August 29, 2011, , NASCAR.com

Clint Bowyer is a man without a home -- at least for now. Bowyer is still unsigned for the 2012 season, and while Richard Childress Racing is trying to keep the 32-year-old from Emporia, Kan., in its garage, another team has publicly announced its interest.

Should Clint Bowyer leave RCR at the end of this season?

YES NO

Clint Bowyer has a tough decision facing him, one that could alter his career forever. And while change is sometimes difficult, in the final year of his contract, this is the time to make a move.

Now that Carl Edwards will remain at Roush Fenway, Bowyer becomes the hottest free agent in NASCAR. But that's relative because there aren't a lot of top rides available. It appears the two best options are for Bowyer to either stay at Richard Childress Racing, or make a move to Richard Petty Motorsports. If I'm Bowyer, I'm leaning very heavily to moving in with the King.

RCR might have a slight competitive edge, but that doesn't seem to be helping Bowyer at all. Kevin Harvick is clearly the face of the organization -- and he isn't going anywhere -- while Bowyer, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard all battle to be Harvick's right-hand man.

For a fourth consecutive season, Bowyer is on the Chase bubble, so clearly he's not dominating at RCR. A move to RPM could change all that.

Bowyer would join a team that is improving each year. A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose are on the verge of career-best seasons, and adding Bowyer to the mix should push this RPM team to Chase contender.

Plus, Bowyer would be the top dog at RPM, not always playing second fiddle to Harvick.

Change is scary, but this could turn out to be a great move for Bowyer in the long run.

Bill Kimm, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

While Clint Bowyer certainly hasn't had the season he envisioned or desired, the home he has now is better than the unknowns of what could lie outside of the Richard Childress Racing stable.

Reports are circulating that Childress and Bowyer still have some work to do to extend their contract. Assuming they can reach a good compromise, Bowyer is in much better position to contend for a title with RCR than he would be with Richard Petty Motorsports.

Sure, as long as Kevin Harvick is with RCR, Bowyer will never be the headliner on that team. But Bowyer isn't the kind of guy who thrives on attention anyway. One gets the feeling he'd be just fine with running for the title and somehow missing out on all the hullabaloo.

At RPM, it would be a different story. Here's Bowyer, a guy who hasn't finished better than 10th in the points in the past three seasons and appears to be a very long shot to do so this year, taking over as the face of a franchise that just eight months ago was in danger of full-on liquidation?

RCR has had its problems this year, Harvick excluded. But it's the first year of the team's latest attempt at a four-car stable, and there are some growing pains to be expected. Those pains are nothing like what Bowyer would face as the focal point at RPM. Pick your cliché -- The grass isn't always greener; the devil you know vs. the devil you don't -- but Bowyer would be dead wrong to leave RCR.

Jill Erwin, NASCAR.COM

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

Richard Petty Motorsports made news this past weekend when majority owner Andrew Murstein announced the team has offered Bowyer a contract and is just waiting to hear back from the driver. So, should Bowyer re-sign with RCR or make a change and go with a team like RPM? Bill Kimm and Jill Erwin have their thoughts, read theirs and weigh in with yours in the comments below. And don't forget to vote in the poll at the right.