Now that Clint Bowyer, potentially the biggest free agent a couple of
months ago, signed with Michael Waltrip Racing, what does the future hold for
What started out as an incredible phone call, Bowyer has spent his whole career in the Sprint Cup Series driving for Richard Childress. From a rather small town in Kansas, Bowyer’s Cup career includes five wins and a double digit number of top-10 finishes in each full-time season.
It is safe to say Clint Bowyer is taking a leap of faith to Michael Waltrip Racing. Since MWR went full-time in the Cup Series in 2007, only two wins have been scored for the team, and the highest any driver has scored in points is 16th (2009 David Reutimann).
A few years ago, Clint Bowyer called Michael Waltrip "The Worst Driver in NASCAR Period." This occurred at the 2008 fall Bristol race when a major accident occurred, collecting a few Chase eligible drivers. Bowyer said those words over his team radio. Who would have known the two would be working closely together a few years later? With a signed a contract to drive for Michael Waltrip Racing through 2014, Bowyer will pilot a Toyota for the first time at the Cup level with sponsorship from 5-Hour Energy.
With a driver who has won a limited amount of races at RCR and an owner who has had moderate success, the grouping of Clint Bowyer with Michael Waltrip is definitely cloudy. These two individuals share the same passion for winning like their competitors.
However, Michael Waltrip Racing has yet to be established as a “powerhouse” team. Although a deal could not be worked out at Richard Childress Racing to keep him, Bowyer might have made a costly mistake.
Bowyer has been a top-10 driver with RCR. We’ve seen flashes of success from the MWR cars of Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann, but consistent struggles have seen the team run towards the middle of the pack, especially this year.
Next year, it might a struggle, but Clint could very well find victory lane. With a strong restrictor-plate program, Bowyer’s best chance at a win might be at Talladega, possibly scoring a third win there next season.
With a shift to a new team in 2012, Bowyer might have trouble adapting, but we could possibly see the chemistry start to work. It could take a while to see Clint Bowyer return to 2007 form, but with a team with the same desire to succeed, what could go wrong?
Clint Bowyer started his Sprint Cup Series in 2005 running a #33 Sylvania Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing at Phoenix. He finished 22nd, one lap down.
Bowyer later signed a full-time Cup contract with RCR to run the #07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet, replacing the outgoing Dave Blaney. His rookie season included 11 top-10 finishes, as he would score 17th in the standings.
Clint Bowyer, still piloting the #07 Jack Daniels Monte Carlo SS and the new #07 Jack Daniels Impala SS, would racked up his first Sprint Cup Series win at New Hampshire en route to 3rd in points.
Clint Bowyer’s 2008 season saw him score a win at Richmond International Raceway. He would make the Chase and finish 5th in points as well as wining the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship.
In 2009, Bowyer switched from the 07 to the 33 Cheerios Chevrolet, as Richard Childress Racing expanded to a four car operation. Bowyer would miss the Chase, finishing 15th in points.
In 2010, Bowyer won two Chase races, New Hampshire and Talladega, en route to a 10th place points finish.
In 2011, with four races remaining, Bowyer backed up his win at Talladega and currently sits 13th in points.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writers.
Clint Bowyer at Bristol Motorspeedway in a Nationwide Series race. Photo by Bristol Motor Speedway.