Second straight single-digit finish ushers Clint Bowyer into Playoff

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 07: Clint Bowyer (14) Stewart Haas Racing Ford Mustang GT during the practice session for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard on September 7, 2019, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Clint Bowyer secured his place in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with a sixth-place finish last week at Darlington and a fifth-place run in Sunday’s Big machine Vodka 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Bowyer’s run to the postseason, however, wasn’t without a close call.

On Lap 135 of 160 in Sunday’s race, Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet spun across traffic on the backstretch. Bowyer, who had pitted under caution on Lap 130 was mired in traffic and in harm’s way.

As Bowman’s car slid toward the inside wall, Bowyer took evasive action and narrowly missed Bowman’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. After that, Bowyer took care of business, working his way forward and securing the top-five result.

When the race ended, Bowyer was 15 points to the good as far as the Playoffs were concerned, but the close call certainly got his attention.

“Oh, gosh, just the whole day kept throwing swings at me,” Bowyer said. “About the time I thought we had a good handle on this, all of a sudden here comes the 88 (Bowman). It was one of those days. It was going to be chaotic—I said that before the race.

“The 6 car (Ryan Newman) was able to capitalize on us (in Stage 1). It all worked out in the second (stage). From there, the race came to us. We were fast. We were a top-five car. We were just trying to survive.

“Once it played out the way it did, you just needed to survive this thing. You knew it was going to be a war of attrition.”