When Clint Bowyer ended his one-year sojourn with Harry Scott and the No. 15 team, he probably believed his frustration was over. That year, in 2016 he was certain that the Chevrolet he was piloting hated him. His supposition was supported by 33 races in which he finished outside of the top 10.
By comparison 2017 was much better. Bowyer scored six top-fives and 13 top-10s, but there were a lot of low moments in that season as Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) transitioned to Ford. Things started to click into place in 2018 when Bowyer made the playoffs and scored 16 top-10s. Last year, he upped that number to 18, but frustration was apparent.
After a very successful season the year before, much more was expected of SHR in 2019. All four drivers were expected to run well. Instead, at various points in the season they all struggled – including their leader Kevin Harvick.
Bowyer’s 2019 season was punctuated by disappointment. He failed to finish the Daytona 500 because of crash damage. That race is hard to predict, so Bowyer rapidly put his DNF behind him and finished on the lead lap in his next three starts. He failed to finish at Auto Club in Week 5, was significantly slowed by crash damage at Talladega in Week 10, and failed to finish with crash damage again in Week 15 at Pocono. In his next seven attempts, he would suffer three more DNFs for accidents.
Bowyer’s seventh DNF for the season came four weeks from the end at Martinsville when he damaged his track bar in an accident. Bowyer sustained crash damage in another six races. In terms of DNFs for damage, only Kyle Larson was worse. Regarding total of accident-effected races, Bowyer was second to Bubba Wallace.
What made these results so frustrating is that Bowyer was typically running well before tragedy struck.
Equally annoying for the driver and his fans was an inability to win. Bowyer snapped a long winless streak in 2018 when he scored a victory at Martinsville in the spring and Michigan in the summer. Before that, he was winless in five seasons. The negative rush of emotions had to have come flooding back in 2019.
When he stayed out of trouble Bowyer ran well. Finishing ninth in the points’ standings puts him in rarified company and it made him fantasy relevant on a number of occasions.
Bowyer was a top-five value in the NASCAR.com Fantasy Live game six times and among the top 10 on 19 occasions.
Bowyer was a top-six value in Draft Kings on seven occasions and among the top 10 16 times. The Draft Kings game shows how volatile he could be, however. With their points’ structure impacted by place-differential points, Bowyer actually lost points eight times with an average price tag of $8,838 in those races.
The good news is that Bowyer has a lot more potential than cap managers credit him. If SHR can reverse their fortune as a company and develop greater consistency, he can run well on any type of track. More importantly, Bowyer has been consistent on wild card tracks were dark horses often earn a lot of points.
Bowyer specifically runs well on road courses and counts the Charlotte Roval and Sonoma Raceway as his two best tracks. Watkins Glen ranks 10th in regard to career average finishes, but he has had some solid runs there as well.
Next in line are the short tracks. Richmond is Bowyer’s third-best track with Dover, Bristol, and Martinsville also counting among the top 10. Add Indy and Pocono to that mix and Bowyer can be considered a constant threat on flat tracks.
Bookmarking Bowyer as a driver to start on road courses, short tracks, and flat tracks will allow you to concentrate on the marquee teams on unrestricted, intermediate speedways, while giving fantasy players a go-to guy on these specialty tracks.
Three Best Tracks
Charlotte Roval (3.5 in 2 attempts)
Sonoma (10.1 in 14)
Richmond (12.5 in 28)
Three Worst Tracks
Darlington (21.6 in 14)
Atlanta (19.6 in 19)
Phoenix (18.3 in 29)
Victories: None, Best Finish second in Texas 1
Top-fives: 7 (.194)
Top-10s: 18 (.500)
Top-15s: 23 (.639)
2019 Finishes at or above rank = 22 (61.1%)
2020 Driver Profiles:
12. Alex Bowman
13. William Byron
14. Aric Almirola
15. Kurt Busch
16. Christopher Bell
17. Ryan Newman
18. Matt DiBenedetto
19. Jimmie Johnson
20. Tyler Reddick
21. Chris Buescher
22. Cole Custer
23. Austin Dillon
24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
25. Ryan Preece
26. Ty Dillon
27. Bubba Wallace
28. Michael McDowell
29. Ross Chastain
30. Daniel Suarez