The Sprint Cup Series is officially at Richmond International Raceway for the first time since last September. In that race, Carl Edwards took the lead and won on a three-lap race to the finish.
OK, so Edwards' win isn't the story from the race. It's what precipitated it, and that was Clint Bowyer's spin on lap 394. Bowyer spun to help then-teammate Martin Truex Jr. get into the Chase. And then after the spin, Bowyer and teammate Brian Vickers sandbagged to ensure Truex's Chase chances.
As you know, things quickly went downhill for Michael Waltrip Racing after the race ended. Truex was out of the Chase, a long-time sponsor was soon gone and the team was down to two full-time cars for the 2014 season.
Bowyer was asked about his return to Richmond Friday morning. And he chose to focus on his past positives at the 0.75-mile track.
“This is one of my best race tracks," Bowyer said. "Looking back over the years you always have a track that fits your driving style and you’re confidence level is more for some reason and this has always been the case for me. We’ve run well in the Nationwide Series here, always run well in the Cup Series and I’m always excited to get here ... I’m looking forward to having another good run here and shaking that off from last year. It was a bad deal and I get it. Like I said, this is one of my favorite race tracks. People all across the country ask you where your favorite tracks are and this is first or second on my list.”
Bowyer was uncharacteristally struggling at Richmond last season, which is why he was, uh, expendable to spin his car while scratching his poison oak. In addition to two wins at the track, Bowyer has seven more top 10 finishes. His finishing spot of 25th last September was his lowest finish ever at the track.
He also apologized for getting into the back of Kurt Busch in the late stages of the race at Darlington. After climbing from his crashed car, Busch gave Bowyer a stare-down as Bowyer drove by under caution.
"You get down to the end of those things and they are green-white-checkered and there’s two tires, four tires – (Jeff) Gordon was on two and was protecting it pretty hard getting in and I kind of checked up and next thing you know I’m the guy that’s three-wide and I was like, ‘Oh no.’ Then I got a good run off the hill and obviously he (Busch) was out of room and trying to gather things up and doing the best he could for himself and we just got in the back of him. Not much room over there. There’s only enough room to go about a car width and a half off of two and we were trying to do it three and four-wide and it just doesn’t work out. Obviously felt bad and hated that for him. Glad he was okay – that’s a hard hit. You wreck over there off of two, you hit hard. Just a racing deal at the end of those things – green-white-checkered with everyone on different strategies, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
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