The good news? Clint Bowyer just signed a one-year extension to drive the No. 14 Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing.
And he’s racing at his home track, Kansas Speedway in the Round of 12 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
On the flip side, Bowyer enters Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) in 11th place in the Playoff standings, 24 points below the current cut line for the Round of 8.
Accordingly, Bowyer likely must win on Sunday to stay eligible for the series championship. It was a bad turn of luck that put him in dire peril of elimination.
For two stages, last weekend’s race at Talladega was going well. In fact, Bowyer picked up his first stage victory of the season in the second 55-lap stage. But on Lap 153 of 188, Bowyer spun in Turn 3 with a flat tire, and his car came to rest on the apron, unable to move.
By the time Bowyer’s car was liberated by a push from a safety truck, he was two laps down, leading to a 23rd-place finish and as a result a large deficit in the points. At Kansas, however, there’s still hope.
“We have a lot of positive mojo going on,” Bowyer said. “That sucked last week. The thing that bummed me out the most was that I finally felt like we had some things going our way. All summer long, it’s been one crummy thing after another of just a letdown. A strong run only to be let down with something crazy happening. I thought we had that shook off, but I will be damned if I wasn’t stuck on the apron. I didn’t see that coming.
Bowyer rolls off 21st Sunday.
“Out of 1,000 things that I could have wrote down of possibilities of what could happen and keep us out of this thing at the Talladega wild card race, being struck in the apron—not in the grass but on the apron—would not be one of them. Then going two laps down because nobody could push me was another thing that wouldn’t be on the list. Yes, I am a little bitter about last weekend, but there’s nothing but pulling into Kansas Speedway and worrying about what is in front of us.”