Clint Bowyer is an American stock car racing driver who competes in NASCAR since 2004. He recorded more than 680 starts in all three national series, scoring 21 victories.
He won ten times in the Cup Series, finishing best in the championship as the runner-up in 2012. He won eight times in the Nationwide Series, winning the title in 2008. He also added three Truck Series wins to his account.
Bowyer becomes cars racing driver after success in motocross
Born in May 1979 in Emporia, Kansas, Clint Bowyer started his career in motorcycling. When he was five years old, he appeared in some motocross events. Over the years, competing in the 50cc class, Clint scored more than 200 wins and many championship titles.
As a teenager, he switched to four wheels and again was very successful, winning many local races, driving street stock cars. In 2000, Bowyer won the Modified championship title in Mayetta while in the following year he took two Modified championship titles.
He was ready for further progress and in 2002 Bowyer entered NASCAR Weekly Racing Series. The results were excellent (12 wins, 32 Top 5 finishes) and Clint became the Midwest champion while at the National level he has finished as a runner-up. The same year he raced on asphalt for the first time at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri, and managed to take the title in his first attempt.
Call from Richard Childress
Driving for the first time in the ARCA Series in 2003, his driving caught the eye of Richard Childress, one of the most important and most successful car owners in NASCAR. After Bowyer has finished second at Nashville Superspeedway, Richard Childress offered him a contract. At first, Bowyer thought that somebody is making jokes with him, but after the second call, he has accepted an offer.
Start of the NASCAR career
After he unexpectedly got a chance to drive in NASCAR Busch Series in 2004, Bowyer tried to do his best and did well. His best result was third place in Nashville while overall he took 29th place. He also raced in two Camping World Truck Series that year and finished second in one race.
The season of 2005 was his first in Nationwide Series, now known as the Xfinity Series. Bowyer almost won the title, losing the battle with Martin Truex Jr by only 68 points. Clint won two races that year and also debuted in Sprint Cup, finishing 22nd at Phoenix, in the only race he has competed in his rookie season.
First NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win Clint scored in New Hampshire
In 2006, Bowyer was driving in both Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series. In his rookie Sprint season, the best result was third place at California Speedway while in the Xfinity Series took third place overall, after one race win. In the Truck series again entered only two races but managed to secure a maiden win in the race at Texas Motor Speedway.
In 2007 Bowyer concentrated mainly on the Sprint Cup and results were much better. He scored his first win at New Hampshire, had many Top 10 finishes to take third place in the final standings. After the victory at New Hampshire, he became only the 15th driver to win a race in all of three NASCAR Series. That year he also entered some Xfinity events and scored two wins to finish 12th in the standings.
Nationwide Series champion in 2008
For the 2008 campaign, a driver of Richard Childress Racing competed in two series for full time. In Sprint Cup, he won the race at Richmond and took fifth place at the end of the season while in Xfinity he became a champion. He has won only one race that year, at Bristol, but was in good form through the most of the year and, in the end, he was 21 points ahead of Carl Edwards.
After the pretty good season, Bowyer decided to switch his focus in 2009 primarily on Sprint Cup Series. Driving a Chevrolet Impala he finished 15th overall what was quite below the expectations. He finished 4th at Daytona 500, what is the result he has repeated in 2010 and still stands as his best at the famous track. The same year he entered 12 Xfinity races and scored two wins, at Daytona and Dover.
Move to Michael Waltrip Racing
The following year he slightly improved in Sprint Cup as he was 10th at the end of the season. His form especially was good during the second half of the year when he won two races, at New Hampshire and Talladega. The season of 2011 wasn’t as good as the previous one. Bowyer again managed to win at Talladega, but at the end had much less amount of points than in 2010, so he finished 13th overall. Victory at Talladega was his last with Richard Childress racing because he moved to Richard Waltrip Racing.
Interestingly, before signing for the new team Bowyer had to make a public apology to the team owner. In 2008, Bowyer said that Waltrip is the worst driver in NASCAR after he caused an accident during the race at Bristol.
The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series runner-up
The season of 2012 was probably the best in Bowyer’s career. He scored three race wins (Sonoma, Richmond, and Charlotte) had many podium finishes but that wasn’t enough for the title. He was the series runner-up, 399 points behind a champion Brad Keselowski and only a point ahead of Jimmie Johnson. That year was also marked by a fierce rivalry with Jeff Gordon and the two had many heated situations on and off the track.
Bowyer’s second season with Michael Waltrip Racing again was very good, even after he wasn’t a title contender. Bowyer failed to win a race but had a couple of podiums to finish 7th in the championship. Unfortunately, the season of 2013 was marked by a controversial move made by Bowyer. He was accused of intentional spin during the race at Richmond, to help his teammate Martin Truex Jr to qualify for the Chase. Officials decided there was no intentional spin, but later NASCAR decided to dock 50 points from the team and Bowyer and to additionally fine the team with $300.000.
Downfall and move to HScott Motorsport
In 2014 Bowyer dropped down in the rankings a lot. Even the start of the season is not given a foretaste of the happy end. Bowyer had a huge crash at Daytona, later wrecked Kurt Busch at Dover and had more small accidents in the rest of the season which he has finished at 19th position. Happy moment of the year was the wedding with Lorra and the birth of their son in October.
Replacing Tony Stewart in the #14 Ford
Nothing better was the following year. He scored only 12 Top 10 finishes in 2015 and was 16th in the standings. In the middle of the season, it was announced that Bowyer will leave the team at the end of the campaign and was confirmed he will drive for HScott Motorsport in 2016 before making his transition to Stewart-Haas Racing the following season, as a replacement for retiring Tony Stewart.
In the #14 Ford, Bowyer scored no wins, recording twelve top 10 results, including three races in the second place.
Waiting for a victory for more than five years
Bowyer waited almost five and a half years for his next Cup Series win, since October 2012. Finally, in March 2018, he won STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. One more Cup Series victory followed in June at Michigan International Speedway.