Clint Bowyer ends longest winless drought of Cup Series career
By Matt Courson
March 26, 2018
MARTINSVILLE, Va.—Clint Bowyer ended a 190 race-winless streak Monday in the snow-delayed STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. His last victory came 1,991 days ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October of 2012.
“To come here, this is a place where I’ve gotten so close, I wanted to win this grandfather clock so bad,” Bowyer said.
“...Finally to get the 14 in victory lane is just a weight off the shoulders. It's been a long time. You start to question if you can get it done or not. To have it come at this place meant a lot.”
Kyle Busch finished second, his fourth consecutive top-three finish of 2017.
“We just tried to maintain and keep ourselves in the right position, in the right spots all day long on them long runs and save our stuff as much as we could to see if we couldn't mount a charge late in the going,” Busch said.
“For us, saving our stuff, the 14 was able to save his stuff, and he was a little bit better than we were. He was able to kind of edge out there through the early laps of firing off each and every time, first 10, 15, and kind of get that gap, and then he'd kind of just hold that.
“He was probably saving just as much as I was trying to save to make sure he had something to go at the end.”
Ryan Blaney finished third, followed by Martin Truex and Kevin Harvick in fourth and fifth respectively.
In the process, Bowyer lead more laps in the race than he had in the last four years combined. It was the first time he had led a single lap since the second Pocono race last summer.
Since 2015, Clint Bowyer had been up in front of the field for only 36 circuits. Bowyer blew that statistic out of the water Sunday after leading 215 of the scheduled 500 laps around the .526-mile speedway.
He also led more laps Monday than in seven of his full-time seasons.
After starting ninth, Bowyer took the lead from Ryan Blaney on lap 285. But during the Stage 2 caution, the pit crew did not get the vehicle completely full.
Bowyer was about to pit for more fuel, but the lone caution flag for an incident was displayed for the Jamie McMurray incident in Turn 2 on lap 383. This caution ultimately kept the No. 14 on the lead lap.
Bowyer kept the field behind him and finished 1.146-seconds ahead of second place Kyle Busch.
The No. 14 has led the most laps among the competition six times in 439 starts. Stewart-Haas Racing has now won four of the first six races in 2018.
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