Bowyer ready to move forward and focus on Chase
CHICAGO (AP) — Clint Bowyer is putting the controversy surrounding his spin at Richmond behind him and turning his focus toward the first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Bowyer said Thursday he’s got nothing left to discuss about the penalties NASCAR levied against Michael Waltrip Racing for its attempts to alter the outcome at Richmond to get Martin Truex Jr. into the 12-driver Chase field.
“The one thing I can tell you is I am tired of talking about it — I’ve had a rough couple of days, no question about that,” Bowyer said. “I’ve got that behind me and I’m focused on getting that helmet on and getting the most out of my race car this weekend. I had a rough few days. It was probably rougher than I’ve ever had. But I spoke my peace. I did national interviews all day long (Tuesday). I could have just as easily ducked away from all of them.”
Bowyer spun with seven laps to go in Saturday night’s race at Richmond to bring out a caution that triggered a NASCAR investigation into MWR. NASCAR determined it could not prove Bowyer spun intentionally, but did find MWR manipulated the outcome of the race in a bid to get Martin Truex Jr. into the Chase.
Among the many penalties levied against MWR was Ryan Newman replacing Truex in the Chase. Bowyer’s title chances were not hurt because the 50-point penalties levied against the MWR drivers were done before the Chase seedings.
Bowyer goes into Sunday’s Chase opener at Chicago ranked eighth in the field and 15 points behind leader Matt Kenseth. Bowyer said MWR deserved to be penalized for its actions at Richmond and the subject should now be closed.
“MWR stepped over that line. We got penalized,” he said.
Jeff Gordon, who lost a spot in the Chase because of the MWR shenanigans, did not believe Bowyer was properly penalized and his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. agreed.
“I think (MWR) actually got off easy as far as the penalties and fines ... especially Clint. He’s relatively unaffected,” said Earnhardt, who was behind Bowyer when he spun and said NASCAR could use the computer telemetry from Bowyer’s car to determine if the driver did spin intentionally.
“We don’t have to get the pitchforks out and go after Clint Bowyer. I’m just saying that if you wanted to know what happened, it would be pretty easy to figure it out without needing Clint to admit what he did,” he said.
Former teammate Kevin Harvick said Bowyer will be just fine once he gets back on the track Friday.
“There’s just too much attention on the team, on him for it not to have some sort of impact,” Harvick said. “The best way to get around it and put it all to bed is to go out on the racetrack and perform. That always seems to hush everything up.”