Clint Bowyer Wins First Race Since 2012 at Martinsville

AP Photo

MARTINSVILLE, VA – RIS – Clint Bowyer had not won in 190 races.  After a disastrous run with the now defunct Michael Waltrip Racing, and an even worse season with a backmarker team, Bowyer was pegged to replace the retiring Tony Stewart at Stewart Haas Racing.  Although he had some good finishes in 2017, the losses kept rolling up.  That all ended Sunday in the STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway.

In the final laps, his memory brought him back to racing at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas where he had success.

“It’s just like Lakeside” an excited Bowyer said. “My brother was on the back straightaway, just like he was at Lakeside. It was just surreal.

“He was cheering me on and telling me what I needed to do. It was like, ‘This is Lakeside.’ This is how we grew up racing. Martinsville is a short track. It’s always had that old school feel, from what I grew up doing. You drive up here, two-lane roads, my wife and I were jamming to 90s Country …. It’s how I grew up.”

Bowyer’s victory on the .526 mile and shortest track in the Cup series was his first in 190 races, dating to October 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Bowyer, of Emporia, KS, never doubted he’d return to Victory Lane, and to be joined by his three-and-a-half-year-old son Cash made it even more special.

“Here’s the thing,” said Bowyer, 38. “All of a sudden this year, our cars our running well, and it all started coming together. That confidence thing was back that I had so many years ago. It’s only a matter of time that we’re going to win one of these races.

“In 2012, we won three of them ... fast forward to 2018, and I’m with an organization that has won four of the first six races,” added Bowyer, a teammate of three-time winner Kevin Harvick. “We’re rolling.”

Bowyer led a race-high 215 of 500 laps and beat Kyle Busch by 1.146 seconds to the checkered flag. He also became the first cup driver to win races in all three manufacturer’s cars, Chevrolet (five for Richard Childress Racing), Toyota (three for Michael Waltrip in a Toyota) and Ford.

The victory ensures Bowyer will be part of the 16-driver playoffs in the fall, which includes Martinsville on Oct. 28, a week after the fall race at Kansas Speedway.

“That’s a big thing, being able to punch our ticket to the playoffs and have a chance for the championship,” said Bowyer, the 2012 Cup runner up. “That burden is off our chest. “We can go out and win some more races and have more fun before the playoffs start.”

The race was dominated by just a few drivers.  Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Bowyer led 460 of the 500 laps.

Bowyer, a enthusiastic Kansas Jayhawk basketball fan, pointed to the success of the team

“It’s a great time to be from Kansas,” he said.

Unfortunately, he can’t make the Final Four NCAA championship this year.

“I can’t go to the Final Four this year, but you can bet I’ll be watching then win that championship and be damn proud of them.”


Unofficial Race Results for the 69th Annual STP 500 - Monday, March 26, 2018Martinsville Speedway - Martinsville, VA - .526 Mile Paved

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, St1, St2, Playoff Pts, Times Led, Laps Led, Pts, Laps, Status
1) 9, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Haas Automation Demo Day Ford, 5, 2, 5, 2, 215, 55, 500, Running
2) 2, Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M's Caramel Toyota, 4, 3, , 3, 24, 50, 500, Running
3) 5, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Libman Ford, 3, 1, 1, 2, 145, 52, 500, Running
4) 1, Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops Toyota, , , , 1, 4, 33, 500, Running
5) 8, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Jimmy John's Ford, 6, 6, , , , 42, 500, Running
6) 3, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 9, 9, , , , 35, 500, Running
7) 16, Alex Bowman, No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, , , , , , 30, 500, Running
8) 25, AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet, 7, 8, , , , 36, 500, Running
9) 21, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, , , , , , 28, 500, Running
10) 4, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Reese/DrawTite Ford, 2, 4, , 1, 1, 43, 500, Running
11) 11, Kurt Busch, No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford, 8, 7, , , , 33, 500, Running
12) 6, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota, 1, 5, 1, 3, 111, 41, 500, Running
13) 15, Paul Menard, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, , , , , , 24, 500, Running
14) 10, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Mobil 1 Ford, , , , 23, , 23, 500, Running
15) 18, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's for Pros Chevrolet, 10, 10, , , , 24, 499, Running
16) 7, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Credit One Bank/DC Solar Chevrolet, , , , , , 21, 499, Running
17) 13, Erik Jones, No. 20 Circle K Toyota, , , , , , 20, 497, Running
18) 23, Daniel Suarez, No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, , , , , , 19, 497, Running
19) 14, Ryan Newman, No. 31 eBay Motors Chevrolet, , , , , , 18, 497, Running
20) 20, William Byron #, No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet, , , , , , 17, 497, Running
21) 24, Michael McDowell, No. 34 A&W All American Food Ford, , , , , , 16, 497, Running
22) 32, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, , , , , , 15, 496, Running
23) 22, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Bush's Beans Chevrolet, , , , , , 14, 496, Running
24) 29, Kasey Kahne, No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet, , , , , , 13, 496, Running
25) 28, David Ragan, No. 38 MDS Transport Ford, , , , , , 12, 495, Running
26) 26, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 First Data Chevrolet, , , , , , 11, 495, Running
27) 35, Cole Whitt, No. 72 TriStar Motorsports Chevrolet, , , , , , 10, 493, Running
28) 37, DJ Kennington, No. 96* Gordon Brothers Toyota, , , , , , 9, 493, Running
29) 33, Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 ChampionMachinery.com Chevrolet, , , , , , 0, 493, Running
30) 12, Austin Dillon, No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, , , , , , 7, 493, Running
31) 38, JJ Yeley(i), No. 55* Adirondack Tree Surgeons Chevrolet, , , , , , 0, 493, Running
32) 31, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 32 Can-Am/Wholey Ford, , , , , , 5, 488, Running
33) 27, Trevor Bayne, No. 6 AdvoCare Ford, , , , , , 4, 486, Running
34) 19, Darrell Wallace Jr#, No. 43 STP Chevrolet, , , , , , 3, 486, Running
35) 30, Harrison Rhodes, No. 51 Custom Aircraft Cabinets Chevrolet, , , , , , 2, 482, Running
36) 34, Gray Gaulding, No. 23 Earthwater Toyota, , , , , , 1, 481, Running
37) 17, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Fastenal Ford, , , , , , 1, 481, Running
38) 36, Landon Cassill, No. 00 USFRA.org/StarCom Fiber Chevrolet, , , , , , 1, 211, Rear Gear
(i) Ineligible for points in this series, (#) Rookie, (*) non-charter team

Clint Bowyer won the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, his ninth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. 
Prior to the start of the race, the following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 17 (backup car), No. 23 (failed inspection three times) and No. 34 (unapproved adjustments).
Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 13 Mins, 14 Secs.
Average Speed: 81.663 MPH
Margin of Victory: 1.146 Secs
Caution Flags: 4 for 33 laps: 
Laps: 52-56 (Competition caution [55]); 
132-142 (Stage 1 conclusion [1]); 262-271 (Stage 2 conclusion [9]);
385-391 (No. 1 and 3 Incident in Turn 2 [9]). 
Lead Changes: 11 among 6 drivers:
M. Truex Jr. 1-4;
Kyle Busch 5-26;
D. Hamlin 27-51;
Kyle Busch 52;
D. Hamlin 53-135;
B. Keselowski 136;
R. Blaney 137-142;
D. Hamlin 143-145;
R. Blaney 146-284;
C. Bowyer 285-385;
Kyle Busch 386;
C. Bowyer 387-500.

Ron Fleshman

RIS NASCAR Editor.  Has been with RIS since the middle 90's. Writes on each of the three main series of NASCAR.

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Volume 2018, Issue 3, Posted 10:28 PM, 03.26.2018