JOLIET, Ill. – Richard Childress has not given up on re-signing Clint Bowyer but says finding a full-season sponsor for a fourth team has proven difficult.
"We want [Bowyer], he wanted to stay," Childress said Sunday morning at Chicagoland Speedway. "It's a perfect situation. He lives [near the race shop]. The race shop is there. Just everything is perfect for us to stay together except the dollars. It's a whole different environment."
Bowyer, the top free agent still on the market, has had discussions with several teams, the latest Michael Waltrip Racing, which has had "very productive conversations with Clint and a quality sponsor," according to team owner Michael Waltrip.
That sponsor is presumed to be 5-Hour Energy for a reported 15 to 20 races.
Friday, Bowyer told Yahoo! Sports, "Yeah, we're [he and MWR] talking, and, no, we don't have a deal done."
Childress downplayed earlier reports that he and Bowyer are at odds over the finances of an agreement – "We've never disagreed on anything. Both of us know the economic environment we're in and it has to work," he said – and is still hopeful he can re-sign him.
"We're still trying today, but we both agree if an opportunity comes for him, he needs to take it, 'cause he can't sit here and wait for us," Childress said.
One possibility is Austin Dillon, Childress' 21-year-old grandson, who is currently second in the Camping World Truck Series standings. Childress believes Dillon still needs a "solid year in the Nationwide Series" before he'll be ready to go full-time in the Cup Series.
Another possibility would be to run Dillon part-time in the Cup Series in 2012.
"If I'm going to spend the money, I'm going to spend it on the family," Childress said. "But we don't want to rush him or push him. He needs another good solid year in Nationwide racing full-time."
Childress said there is a list of four or five drivers he's looking at to fill that fourth car. He said the list includes Bowyer, but wouldn't speculate on the others.
"You can just look at the list of drivers that don't have rides next year," he said.
Childress said a decision will be made in the next four to six weeks.