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Bowyer scalded in hometown visit to Kansas

April 22, 2012, Dave Rodman, NASCAR.com



Bowyer scalded in hometown visit to Kansas

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Clint Bowyer didn't see it coming, and could hardly believe it happened when the engine in his Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota faltered, then blew on his 126th lap of the STP 400 Sunday at his hometown Kansas Speedway.

Bowyer finished 36th. It was his worst finish by 15 spots in eight career starts at Kansas. Furthermore, it was his worst finish in eight starts this season, and only his second worse than 17th.

"I don't know what broke, I just wish it hadn't of happened here -- anywhere but here."

--CLINT BOWYER

Bowyer, who came into the event -- his eighth race with MWR -- 10th in the standings and he qualified eighth, as all three MWR drivers started in the top 10.

In the race, MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr. dominated, leading a race-high 173 of 267 laps and finishing second to winner Denny Hamlin. Mark Martin ran around the top 10 most of the day until his car's engine broke with 12 laps left.

Prior to Kansas, all three MWR cars had been running at the finish of every race this season.

Bowyer did advance into the top five early and after the first set of green-flag pit stops, was in eighth, at Lap 49. But four laps later, Bowyer tried to hit pit road and spun his car off Turn 4 into the pit lane, bringing out the first caution, at Lap 53.

* Video: Bowyer spins heading toward pit road

Bowyer immediately went to the garage and, after some work, he returned to the race track. But his car was crippled and it lasted only until Lap 126, when smoke erupted from its exhaust pipes.

When he emerged Bowyer, a native of Emporia, Kan., was obviously disconsolate but tried to be philosophical.

"It just wasn't our day -- just one of those days in motorsports," Bowyer said. "The guys do such a good job back at the shop to give me a car that's capable of winning and in the engine shop. This is just the nature of the beast. I don't know what broke, I just wish it hadn't of happened here -- anywhere but here."

It's early in the season, with 17 races left before the cutoff for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, at Richmond in September. Bowyer was lucky, due to his team's strength in the first seven races and only fell to 11th in the standings, where he would be a wild-card Chase qualifier if that status was determined after this race.

That was little consolation.

"It was just a major bummer," Bowyer said. "I'm really upset -- I just wish it wouldn't have happened here. Unfortunately this happens from time to time. You know, we were running up front, I think we were a couple adjustments away from at least being part of the game here.

"Unfortunately it just wasn't our day. We'll regroup and go back after it in Richmond [next weekend]."