With two wins this season and a contender nearly every week, Clint Bowyer has been one of the hot drivers among the four car Stewart-Haas Racing stable in 2018.
Sunday, he looked to be on his way to adding a third win, this one at Chicagoland Speedway.
After starting fifth, Bowyer asserted himself early taking the lead on lap 19. He would go onto lead a total of 21 laps and suddenly Bowyer seemed to be the car to beat.
It all came undone during green flag pit stops on lap 39. Bowyer pitted from the lead and was penalized for speeding.
“Yeah, we were too fast,” Bowyer said after the race. “The guys work very hard on making sure that they are pushing the envelope, which you have to do in this world and against this competition. You have to push everything. Certainly pit road is a big part of that.”
“You are splitting hairs out there on the race track down to the tenths of a second and you can gain seconds on pit road,” he added. “Obviously our pit road speed was just a little too fast. We practiced it yesterday and the guys even made some adjustments but that tight section down there was just too fast.”
But wait there’s more.
On the subsequent pass through penalty Bowyer was penalized for speeding again. This earned him another trip to pit road, this time for a stop and go.
“The first time you second guess yourself,” Bowyer said. “You come down the second time and you are cautious and speed again so now you know you’ve got a problem. Then it was just confusion on my part. I wasn’t listening and made a mistake and cost us a third time down. We got good at pitting today, unfortunately. The capabilities there to run with these three guys. Our race team is young and making some mistakes but we have time to gain on those and build on those. You hate to give away those stage points. I think we could have won both those stages and maybe been in contention for a win. I am proud of everybody. WIX Filters was on the car this weekend and everybody at Ford and the IT Savvy folks are here. We have a lot of good mojo on this 14 car, we just have to put it all together to get another win.”
Bowyer would fall 2 laps down to 35th. He didn’t give up however, instead he battled back all day long and came home where he started, in fifth. A finish that says a great deal about the powerhouse team Stewart-Haas Racing has become, and the driver who pulled the rally off Sunday.
“Well, add a fast car and a bit of a pissed off attitude and it is amazing what you can do,” Bowyer said smiling.