Sadly, for Clint Bowyer the only laps he led Sunday were prior to the green flag. He was racing in what was probably his last race at Kansas Speedway only an hour away from his hometown of Emporia and as a tribute NASCAR allowed him to pace the field prior to the race in front of the limited number of fans present.
Bowyer announced last week he will be stepping away from driving duties and heading to the TV booth as an analyst for Fox Sports. Unless something dramatic happens, Sunday was his last time racing at Kansas.
He started 12th and struggled in Stage 1 finishing 14th. In Stage 2, after some much-needed adjustments he ran a bit better, starting the stage ninth and finishing Stage 2 in tenth.
Bowyer raced in eighth on the restart after the stage before contact with Matt DiBenedetto dropped him to 14th. After the race’s final stops under caution late in the going, Bowyer restarted the race in 13th with 42 to go. More contact on the restart left Bowyer with damage. And with 28 laps to go he pitted under green for right side tires as well as to repair the earlier damage.
He finished 27th one lap down.
“I’m disappointed because it looked like we were going to have a top-10 today,” Bowyer said. “It was all about the restarts out there. We just got some damage and had to pit. It’s pretty frustrating because I wanted to leave here with a really good finish. I appreciate what the track (on the pace laps) and NASCAR did before the race. It was good to see the fans and be home today.”