FORT WORTH, Texas — The media bullpen session following Friday’s qualifying and the one following Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway can be summed up as a tale of two Clints.
On Friday, Bowyer was blocked on pit road and was unable to get onto the track to attempt putting down a lap fast enough to move him into the second round. Bowyer was left seething.
He couldn’t believe that the convoluted rules that makeup the group qualifying sessions had continued to cause chaos on pit road. He was even in bigger disbelief that it had effected him personally.
Fast forward to 6pm on Sunday and Bowyer was nearly skipping after recording a runner-up finish.
“We definitely unclogged ourselves from qualifying,” Bowyer said. “All in all, our car handled good. It wasn’t lightning fast all day long, but as they started slip sliding around and struggling we’d kind of prevail on those long runs. That was our M.O.”
For the second consecutive race, Bowyer overcame huge obstacles for a good finish. At Martinsville, he was busted for speeding on pit road. This weekend, Bowyer had to overcome an alternator that was on the fritz. However, the Kansas native utilized great long run speed to pull of an incredible finish.
“All in all, I’m really happy to finish where we were. What a wild race,” Bowyer explained. “Just about the time you think you’re gonna have some stage points the caution would come out and then you thought you were back in and it happened again. Then you’re like, ‘Well, damn. What kind of haymakers are gonna be thrown at the end,’ and it just didn’t. Anytime you finish second it’s like, ‘What could I have done?’ When he came out of the pits that far ahead of us I was like, ‘We’re in big trouble,’ but second is not bad for the way our weekend started.”
After finishing outside the top-10 in four of the first races of the season, Bowyer is now on a two-race hot streak and has moved to 11th in the championship standings in the process.
Now, he and his No. 14 team will look to grab a checkered flag in Bristol.