Clint Bowyer comes up short of defending his Martinsville win

MARTINSVILLE, VA - MARCH 24: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford, pits during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 24, 2019 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Clint Bowyer had one of the fastest cars in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, but he didn’t get a chance to prove how strong the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford could be.

The defending race winner came off pit road fourth after stops under caution on Lap 314, but he was flagged for speeding in Sector 10 and had to restart from the rear of the field on Lap 320. Bowyer quickly worked his way forward and was ninth off pit road on Lap 374 during the sixth caution.

Another speeding infraction in the same sector, however, sent him to the rear once more. Bowyer charged forward again and was seventh when Brad Keselowski took the checkered flag after 500 laps.

“I guess we need to get our stuff together on being on the same page with that pit road speed,” Bowyer said after the race. It’s such an important thing and such a big part of this style of racing, where track position is everything. We push it to the limit, but it’s so hard to practice pit road speed.

“You’ve got trucks on pit road when you’re trying to practice that. I’m not making any excuses, it’s just when you’re trying to pinch every little thing out of it, it was hard this week to practice pit road speed because of all the stuff on pit road…

“It is what it is—we just have to quit beating ourselves.”

Greg Engle