Clint Bowyer engineered a spectacular drive In Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, starting 19th and climbing to third at the finish.
But the winner of two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races this season wanted more. Bowyer had tasted victory at Sonoma Raceway in 2012, and he had a craving to quaff the California wine that goes to the winner once again.
Only two problems: 1) Race winner Martin Truex Jr.’s pit strategy, which afforded a comfortable winning margin with a single stop to Bowyer’s two in the final stage, and 2) Bowyer’s teammate Kevin Harvick, who wasn’t willing to surrender the second spot.
“I’m happy to be in this (Stewart-Haas Racing) equipment and have this opportunity, but I’m also frustrated, because we were one of the three that were the class of the field and had a legitimate shot at racing for a win,” Bowyer said. “They (Truex’s team) just took a little different strategy than we did and that’s what it took. You had to separate yourself some way.
“It was a lot of fun out there. I had my struggles just like they did. It seemed like the 4 (Harvick) had a little better turn than I did, and the 78 (Truex) was better. On long runs I was coming to him, especially that real long run we had. Then we started pitting, and I didn’t know what to expect. All in all, it was a solid day and I’m proud of the guys for going out there and getting the job done. We just came up a little short.”