Clint Bowyer recovers from spin to stay close in Playoff race

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 17: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Peak Lighting Ford, is involved in an on-track incident during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 17, 2019 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Clint Bowyer simply can’t get off the Playoff bubble.

On Lap 242 of Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bowyer tried to make an aggressive pass of the lapped car of Quin Houff and another car to the outside, but the left rear quarter of Bowyer’s No. 14 Ford clipped the nose of Houff’s Chevrolet, and Bowyer went spinning in Turn 2.

Fortunately, Bowyer’s car escaped significant damage, and the Stewart-Haas driver recovered to finish eighth. But Bowyer fell just outside the Playoff cut line when Daniel Suarez scored nine extra points with a strategic move at the end of Stage 2. Bowyer trails his teammate by two points with two races left to determine the Playoff field.

“You’re making split-decisions,” Bowyer said of the spin. “I was trying to pass those two cars and get some more stage points for us, and I clipped him. It wasn’t nothing he did. I was just trying to shoot the gap, and I had a run on those guys and trying to do all I could do.

“We had a good race. We were too loose. I needed more rear grip all night long. That’s probably the loosest I’ve ever been here. We kind of fought front turn all weekend long and was trying to make up for it with wedge out and track bar up – stuff like that – and it just hurts rear grip.

“I mean, all in all, it was a good weekend for us. It was kind of a rebound weekend and what we needed, but you can’t expect those guys to just lay over for you. We did all we could do. I was hoping to be a top-five car and when you’re a top-five car here you’ve got a chance to win, but were just a beat off of that all night.”

Greg Engle