News & Media


Bowyer candid about Chase, coy about future

September 09, 2011, Joe Menzer, NASCAR.com

RICHMOND, Va. -- Calls himself a realist, gives up on idea of contending for title this season

Clint Bowyer's current car owner, Richard Childress, went on a radio show Thursday and indicated Bowyer is all but out the door at Richard Childress Racing at the end of this season.

But Bowyer insisted he's still working on the contract that will determine where he drives next season and beyond.

"I've kind of given up on that. I'm a realist. I work off of reality and try not to lie to myself."

--CLINT BOWYER

"We're still waiting on my helicopter. My best friend wants a miniature pony, so we're waiting on that as well."

--CLINT BOWYER

"We're still waiting on my helicopter. My best friend wants a miniature pony, so we're waiting on that as well. Good God," said Bowyer, smiling and shaking his head.

As candid as Childress was during his interview on Sirius XM NASCAR radio, Bowyer was alternately candid and coy during a spirited session with the media at Richmond International Raceway.

"You know, we've tried and we've really worked really hard to put the deal together to keep Clint," Childress said during the radio interview. "It's not 100 percent off the table, but it's getting tougher and tougher as the days go by.

"Clint's got a couple of really good opportunities there facing him. We just, for us, it just didn't seem that we could get everything worked out. Clint's still a good friend. I feel like we've done a lot together and I hope that if we can't put him in a car next year that he gets in a ride that he's really good and happy with."

Asked directly about the comments made by Childress shortly thereafter at RIR, Bowyer first was asked if the comments of his car owner seemed accurate to him.

"I think that's fair," Bowyer said. "We're just working on everything. That's the biggest thing, trying to get everything done as far as the future. I told you guys that until this Tuesday I was focused 100 percent on making the Chase and making the Chase only.

"Obviously this has been a short week [because of the rain-delayed race in Atlanta] and there hasn't been much time to do anything. ... It's hard to get your life turned back around in two days when you have to get back on the road again. I haven't been at the shop. I haven't been much of anywhere. I've just been trying to get things turned around for another week."

Bowyer already has at least one other offer from another organization to drive for next season and beyond. Andrew Murstein, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, publicly acknowledged that RPM has made such an offer to Bowyer.

Bowyer also has drawn interest from Roush Fenway Racing, with Jack Roush speaking highly of him. But Bowyer insisted Thursday that nothing is done yet with anyone.

"There are opportunities and stuff we're just trying to weigh out," Bowyer said. "Again, you have to have all the stars line up. You can't just have one piece of the puzzle or a couple pieces of the puzzle. You've got to have all the pieces of the puzzle put together in today's world. And until you do that, you're wasting your time talking to any media about it -- because you don't have anything to deliver to them."

* Sound Off: Bowyer talks about his contract negotiations

Bowyer sits 14th in the Sprint Cup standings heading into this Saturday night's race at RIR, the last before the 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup field is set. Even though he is not mathematically eliminated, he candidly admitted his chances aren't good for getting in at this point.

"I think the Chase is pretty much over," said Bowyer when asked to assess his No. 33 Chevrolet's chances of sneaking in. "Obviously this is a good track for us, a track we can win at. But even if we win -- good God, it takes a mathematician to see how all the stars would have to line up. I'm not really worried about that.

Wild card standings

Atlanta
WC. Pos.Pts. Pos.DriverWinsPts.
12. 12. Hamlin 1 709
-- 20. Menard 1 657

"It would be big to get the year turned around and finally get a win for our race team. And this is a race track where we can get it done. We've got a good car and we're ready to go to work."

But as far as getting into the Chase? Bowyer clearly isn't buying it.

When fellow driver Kasey Kahne, 17th in points and winless like Bowyer this season, walked into the media center Thursday, Bowyer asked how he was doing. Kahne responded in the affirmative.

"He's got a deal. Hell yeah, he's good," Bowyer said.

Then Bowyer turned to a reporter and asked, "Are you a [Chase] long shot at best as well?"

"I didn't know I had a shot," Kahne replied.

"This is a hell of a publicity stunt," added Bowyer, laughing heartily.

For the record, Bowyer would have to win and have Brad Keselowski climb into the top 10 in the season points standings, or Bowyer would have to win and finish ahead of Denny Hamlin, who is now 12th, in the standings. None of which is likely to happen -- especially since RIR is one of Hamlin's favorite tracks and Keselowski has struggled there.

Bowyer won the spring race at Richmond in 2008 and has a respectable average finish of 9.5 at RIR during his career, but harbors no illusions about getting into the Chase even if he wins this Saturday. He also indicated that his apparent failing to qualify for the Chase has had major implications in his contract negotiations with RCR.

"Oh yeah, it's major. That's why [making the Chase] was so important," Bowyer said. "But right now, I've kind of given up on that. I'm a realist. I work off of reality and try not to lie to myself. I'm going out here to win the race and, man, if we can do that, it's a win all on its own -- and if something crazy happened and you happened to make the Chase on top of that, it would just be an extra, added bonus."