Even with a strong run, Clint Bowyer loses ground

Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, leads Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 4, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

FORT WORTH, Tex. — It may seem patently obvious, but you can’t gain ground with a sixth-place finish when the two drivers you’re chasing are finishing first and second.

That’s the source of Clint Bowyer’s frustration. With a strong car and a promising fuel-mileage strategy, Bowyer was a potential race winner in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, but, ultimately, he was no match for Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup leader Jimmie Johnson and second-place Brad Keselowski, who crossed the finish line 1-2.

In his first season with Michael Waltrip Racing, Bowyer held onto third in the standings with two events left in the Chase, but dropped 10 more points to Johnson and fell to 36 back. Barring catastrophes to both drivers ahead of him, Bowyer, who finished sixth Sunday, will have to wait until 2013 for another shot at his first championship.

“It’s just unbelievable,” Bowyer said. “You keep having these top-10 runs, flirting with the top five week in and week out, and, unless you’re winning these races every week, you just can’t gain points. Even if we were winning right now, it ain’t enough to run them down for a championship.”

Bowyer had more than a faint glimmer of hope Sunday, as he watched Johnson and Keselowski battle side by side at the front of the field, precariously close to losing control of their cars.

“I thought they were going to wreck each other, but they didn’t,” Bowyer said wistfully. “It would have been awesome! I really did think they were going to wreck each other.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.