Bowyer is long overdue

by Monte Dutton

RICHMOND, Va. — The prevailing view is that the Aaron’s 499, run at Talladega Superspeedway and won by Kevin Harvick, was a NASCAR classic.

It all depends on the perspective, or so said Harvick’s Richard Childress Racing teammate Clint Bowyer, who finished seventh in that race.

“It was boring as far as my situation went,” said Bowyer. “I rode around in the back and snuck in and got a decent finish out of it. That’s the only way I can get a good finish there.

“I hate doing it. It’s boring and no good for your sponsor and everything else. But… I needed to get a good finish.”

Now, one week later, Harvick is the Sprint Cup point leader, Jeff Burton is ninth and Bowyer 12th, meaning that all three are in position to make the Chase. That, of course, is still 16 races away.

Only a Cup regular since 2006, Bowyer has already made the Chase twice, finishing third in 2007 and fifth in 2008. All three RCR drivers made the Chase in 2008. None did so in 2009.

Bowyer, who will turn 31 this month, has collected three top-10 finishes in the past five races, finishing 12th by Monte Dutton in the most recent at Richmond International Raceway. He drives the No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet.

Twice a Sprint Cup winner, Bowyer has gone 72 races — exactly two seasons — since his Richmond victory on May 3, 2008.

“Not winning… you never get over it,” he said. “We are racers and grew up racing and winning races. I hate losing. It has been a long time since we won a Cup race, and we’re long overdue. I feel like it’s our turn, and we need to get it done.”

Bowyer’s two victories occurred at Richmond and New Hampshire.

“I think the RCR short-track program has always been good,” he said. “This track [Richmond], I don’t know why, it just kind of fell into my driving style. I love this place. You have got to get up on the wheel and make it happen at a track like this.

“I think this is a perfect size race track. It’s just fast enough that you get that sensation of speed that we all like, and it’s just short enough that we can beat and bang on each other, and root and gouge for a win. That’s what puts on a good show at tracks like Richmond.”

Monte Dutton has covered motorsports for The Gaston (NC) Gazette since 1993. He was named writer of the year by the National Motorsports Press Association in 2008. His blog NASCAR This Week ( features all of his reporting on racing, roots music and life on the road. E-mail Monte at ‘ 2010 King Features Syndicate

Clint Bowyer, seen at right with motorcross legend and current Truck Series competitor Ricky Carmichael, is looking to snap his winless streak after 72 races. (John Clark/NASCAR This Week photo)