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July 20, 2020

Clint Bowyer on SHR ride for 2021, beyond: ‘I want to be there. I want to retire there’

The always expressive Clint Bowyer expressed his desire to return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2021 and potentially beyond, saying that he hopes to finish his NASCAR Cup Series career with the organization.

Bowyer is in his fourth season driving SHR’s No. 14 Ford, where he became the successor to team co-owner Tony Stewart upon his retirement from the Cup Series after the 2015 season. Bowyer re-signed with the team last October, but his status for next season remains undetermined.

“No, I haven’t really talked to them much about it,” Bowyer said of negotiations. “I mean, I’ve been talking to partners and things like that and just trying to do everything I can do to make sure that all the things line up for next year for them. That’s what I can do. I’ve got to do a better job inside the race car. We’ve got to do a better job of getting this 14 car back up front where it belongs. Doesn’t matter what you do outside the car if you’re not taking care of business in the car, you shouldn’t be in any of them.

“Stewart-Haas is a wonderful organization. I want to be there. I want to retire there, and I love the opportunity, the people behind it. I believe in, all the pieces of the puzzle are there. The manufacturer in Ford, I mean we’re sitting here representing Ford today, and you couldn’t ask for a better manufacturer that’s invested in this sport the way they are. Again, it’s a perfect fit for me.”

Bowyer has made the NASCAR playoffs the last two years and currently sits 15th in the provisional playoff standings, 36 points above the postseason cut with eight regular-season races remaining. “Are we where we want to be? Hell, no. No, absolutely not,” Bowyer said about trying to better his footing in an effort to clinch a playoff berth for the third straight season.

RELATED: Playoff Watch | 2020 Cup Series schedule

The 41-year-old driver said he identified the series’ June 22 race at Talladega as a turning point. A 25th-place at the Alabama track knocked him to 13th in the overall Cup Series standings, placing him in the second tier (positions 13th-24th) in the grouped draw for starting positions. He sits 15 points behind 12th-place Matt DiBenedetto in his quest to get back into that top group.

Bowyer says it’s building bonds with crew chief Johnny Klausmeier and the overall performance goals — starting in his home state at Kansas Speedway on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) — that have his attention, not his 2021 status. “Yeah, you’re looking at points,” Bowyer says. “You’re always looking at points.”

Bowyer has also branched out in his 15th Cup Series season, becoming a more frequent contributor to FOX Sports programming. He was a regular during the network’s broadcasts of iRacing events after the COVID-19 outbreak and has appeared on air as an analyst for other NASCAR national series events.

Bowyer said his involvement has helped him gain an appreciation for the inner workings of stock-car racing’s media partners. Though his progression to a role as a full-time commentator may seem like a natural fit, Bowyer says it’s premature to make any forecasts on when and if that might occur, especially as his competitive fires still burn.

“Dude, I’m a race car driver, man,” Bowyer said. “I love doing the broadcasts and things like that, but I think that time will come, and I don’t know when that’ll be. No, I want to race and I want to be in a race car. I love competing. I love being pissed off at the end of a race. I love being happy at the end of a race. I love that adrenaline of lining up next to that guy and wondering how in the hell you’re going to come off of Turn 2 ahead of him. That’s a feeling that can’t be replaced.

“That being said, I feel like I really have appreciated the relationship with FOX this year. It’s not up to me whether that happens or not. It’s a ton of fun, I can tell you that. I mean, it’s relatively easy for me. Everyone always asks, ‘how do you get up and do that?’ I mean, I don’t know. ‘Let me get this straight? You want me to go up there and bench-race with a bunch of my buddies and talk racing about a race like I’ve done since I was 4 years old at the dinner table? That’s what you want me to go do? I got that. I can handle that.’ It’s a ton of fun.”