Long-term perspective

Clint Bowyer (R), driver of the #15 5-Hour Energy Benefiting Avon Foundation for Women Toyota, jokes with Jimmie Johnson (L), driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet, on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 19, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Clint Bowyer understands the big picture when it comes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s forced exit from his No. 88 Chevrolet because of a concussion, but that doesn’t mean Bowyer would leave his own car willingly.

Asked what it would take for him to step away from his ride with five races left in the Chase, Bowyer quipped, “Maybe a bullet — if they could patch that up, I may go on.

“You don’t get this opportunity in life very often. This is a year’s worth of work that goes into these last five races. It would be very hard to think about pulling yourself out.”

In terms of Earnhardt, however, Bowyer might make an exception because of the importance of NASCAR’s most popular driver to the sport as a whole.

“It just depends,” Bowyer said. “There’s so many different scenarios, but at the end of the day, it comes down to safety. There are a lot of people’s lives that depend on him being healthy, and not only for these five races but for many years to come.”

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