Finding the right balance of weighting wins and points in the Sprint Cup Series has been hard at times. While ultimately, wins do matter when it comes to Chase qualification, points are pretty important too. Through 15 races, 10 drivers have a race win. That means six drivers are currently going to qualify for the Chase based off their points position.
Could more drivers win? Sure. At the current rate, it's possible that more than 16 drivers could have wins. But given the pattern of repeat winners in the Cup Series – the last four races have been won by drivers already with a win – it's unlikely to happen.
Clint Bowyer knows the importance of points. He also knows the importance of wins. He wants a win to get into the Chase, but wins certainly aren't everything.
“I wasn’t one of the ones that was saying, ‘It’s all about winning, it’s all about winning,’" Bowyer said Friday at Kentucky. "Common sense tells you to look at the past history and the math shows you that points are always going to prevail. He who has the most points is always going to win the championship. You’ve always been able to race your way into the Chase and I think it still will today, but right now we need a win. We’re at the point in our program with our 5-Hour Energy Toyota that we’re desperately in need of a win and we need to throw it all out there and go for it and try to get ourselves a win somewhere. We were definitely in the hunt and after one in Sonoma. We had a lot of confidence going in out there and we had a fast race car and by all means we were chasing a win big time.”
Right now, Bowyer is in the Chase. He's one of the six winless drivers who would make the Chase at this point, but he's not in comfortably. He's fifth of those six and 23 points ahead of Kasey Kahne and 25 points ahead of Tony Stewart. If he was in the top 10 in points, a win may not be as big of a priority. But Bowyer is 14th.
Both Stewart and Kahne are powered by Hendrick equipment, engines that Bowyer also acknowledged have been far superior to the rest of the Sprint Cup Series field. For non-Hendrick cars to currently catch up, it's all about finding the right balance.
(And no, there aren't 37 Hendrick-powered cars, Bowyer was having some fun. There are 11, and five of them are ahead of him in the standings.)
“Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick split me going down the front straightaway at Michigan and cleared me and raced each other – had a heck of a race getting into (turn) one afterwards. I guess that’s my best way to explain superior. Once I got in the corner I could join the battle again and it was a lot of fun. You have to enjoy that because it always comes full circle and in all fairness to the sport and everything that we do – the engines are something that we all get to enjoy from time to time and right now that Hendrick camp, which there is like 37 of them anymore seem like they are enjoying it quite a bit.”
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