Clint Bowyer seems to have found a niche of sorts. Bowyer won the short track race at Martinsville early in the season, then led 45 laps at Richmond.
He led zero laps in the spring Bristol race, and Saturday at Bristol was hoping to make up for that and perhaps find a little redemption for his 8th place finish here in the spring.
After starting 16th, Bowyer finished third in Stage 1; but fell to sixth as the end of Stage 2. He would take the lead on lap 356 after pit stops. Suddenly Bowyer’s name was in those of the contenders.
Bowyer would go on to lead 120 laps, one shy of the most laps led by Ryan Blaney.
The final restart after the last caution of the night proved to be the undoing for Bowyer. Kurt Busch grabbed the lead as Bowyer spun his tires. In the ensuing chaos that usually are the final laps at Bristol, Bowyer could only manage to hold on for a 6th place finish.
“I just clearly didn’t do a good job on the restarts,” Bowyer said. “When I had the lead I thought I got a good jump and about the time I shifted Kurt hit me in the door and it just lit the tires up. He didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just a product of it. I don’t know.”
“Then when I was on the bottom I spun the tires real bad and they all got around me. It’s disappointing. You get a car that good and you get that close you hate to not come home with it, but, all in all, for as terrible as we started the weekend and as bad as our yesterday was, to lead laps or even be in the top 10 I was pretty surprised to be honest with you. In the grand scheme of things it was a pretty good run for us, but you hate to give them up like that.”