It was just two years ago in 2008 when Clint Bowyer came out of nowhere to win the race. He hasn’t been in victory lane since but Saturday night represented a good chance for him to do so. He had a solid top 10 qualifying run and started 10th.
The track conditions were going to be very different from what they practiced in on Friday. It was going to critical for Bowyer and his team to be able to keep up with the track conditions and be there in the end.
Early on Bowyer was moving forward in the race. On the restart for the first caution he took it three wide, and came out fifth after restarting eighth.
After his early jump he ran in fifth for the next run until the caution waved after the round of green flag stops.
Bowyer hit pit road and only took two tires to come out in second. With only nine cars on the lead lap when they pitted, took two tires but that move did not pay off.
Bowyer was able to get back on cycle and keep his track position on the next caution. He did not have a good long run car.
He did not have the car to run up front and really needed cautions to work on the car. Unfortunately for Bowyer we saw two long green flag runs that gave them limited chances to make changes to the car.
Bowyer was running in the top 10 for most of the night but he could never get ahead of the changing track conditions.
That’s not to say that he didn’t have a strong car. In fact at one point all three of the Richard Childress cars were running in the top five. Bowyer’s car had the biggest fall off on the long runs.
After the final green flag stop caution waved for Elliott Sadler. They stayed out but it was the very next caution for Sam Hornish, Jr. that saw Bowyer on pit road for fresh tires. Bowyer was unable to take advantage of those tires and actually was racing Jimmie Johnson coming to the line when the two made contact.
Both bounced off each other and spun through the infield. Bowyer ended up finishing 12th after the contact.
Bowyer is still in the top 12 in the standings, but he did drop one position with his finish to 12th.
Check out Jen Preston's Lugnut Report on Matt Kenseth here.