Clint Bowyer will move to TV booth in 2021

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS - OCTOBER 18: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 DEKALB Ford, stands in the garage area during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 18, 2019 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Clint Bowyer will move to the Fox Sports booth starting in 2021.  The Stewart-Haas Racing driver revealed the news on social media Thursday night.

Bowyer has driven the No. 14 SHR Ford since 2017. He has 10 career wins in the NASCAR Cup series, two with Stewart-Haas Racing. Both of those victories came in his second season – 2018 at Martinsville Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. Bowyer has been winless since then.

The Emporia Kansas native has raced in the Cup series fulltime since 2006. His best performance was 2012, when he finished runner-up in the final standings and scored a career-best three wins. He drove the No. 15 Toyota for the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing at the time.

Earlier Thursday Bowyer met with the media, but when asked if he had hard anything about the No. 14 or had been talking to other teams, he was a bit aloof.

“I talked to my wife the other night,” he joked. “It’s obviously time to begin those talks and Casey (his personal manager) has been working on that stuff, but, honestly, look at the time.  The timing is a crunch right now for me.  I mean, it’s all about trying to get the most out of every single weekend to get through the playoffs, so, honestly, you asked me if I’ve been talking, no, I ain’t been talking.

“You’re trying to do the things you can do and, for me, the things that I’m good at is obviously doing the best I can do in that race car, but working with partners and trying to keep them on board.  Times are not only tough for us with racing and everything else, they’re tough for companies, a lot of companies out there, so trying to keep them involved — figuring out where that is, how that stacks up, how you can help them help you and those are the conversations that I’m good at the kind of relations that I try to have on a daily basis with your partners and everything else regardless of your future, whether you go or whether you stay.”

Bowyer spent an increased amount of time in the Fox Sports booth prior to Thursday’s announcement as a regular analyst during NASCAR Xfinity Series races. He was also on camera during the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series season that filled the COVID-19 schedule void.

Bowyer will replace Darrell Waltrip as the third analyst on the booth. Waltrip retired last season.

By taking his name out of contention for next year, NASCAR’s “Silly Season” carries on.  Earlier Thursday, Bowyer said that “Silly Season” is much different now than when he came in the sport 14 years ago.

“It’s totally different,” Bowyer said.  “I just said it, it’s unfortunate.  It’s unfortunate for a lot of people involved.  That’s the way it is.  Unfortunately, it’s gonna happen every year.  That’s where I think we’re evolving to is the long-term deals you’re just not able to get done anymore.

“I’ll never forget, when I went to RCR I went in and my first Cup sponsor there was a stack, it was literally a stack of those sponsors begging to get into the sport that you really chose which one worked best for your organization or your lifestyle, which one possibly could last longer — have longer legs.  That’s what made up your mind.  Yeah, it was a long-term, three-year deal.  You didn’t want anything longer than that for selfish reasons.

“Now, it’s completely opposite.  Now, no partner needs to be a long-term deal because that’s just the environment that we’re in.  It’s the demand.  We owe it all to ourselves to work hard and you guys are such a big part of that.  You do such a great job of covering our sport and making us superstars.  It doesn’t happen without you guys and your hard work of selling our story of NASCAR and the characters within.  Characters, we drivers have to do their part.

“When I came into this sport there were a lot of characters.  There were a lot of superstars and they did a good job of when we came in of handing us the reins to a gold mine and all of us drivers have to do a good job of working hard to make sure that we hand over those reins to these kids coming through — that they have a great opportunity for them and their families just like we did.”

Stewart-Haas Racing has not said who will take over its No. 14 entry for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, but among the drivers in play are Chase Briscoe who currently drives for the team in the Xfinity Series and Kyle Larson, who would need to be reinstated by NASCAR after he was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing for uttering a racial slur earlier this year.

Greg Engle