Hot Laps - Bristol Edition

Clint Bowyer sits in the 12th and final Chase transfer position as the Sprint Cup Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway for Saturday's IRWIN Tools 500.

It's not the most comfortable spot according to the Richard Childress Racing driver.

But it's better than it could be if Bowyer were standing outside the Chase cut-off with only three races left to go.

"I'd rather be 35 in the good than 10 to the bad where we were last week," Bowyer said. "It is a missed opportunity. Mark (Martin) had a little bit of trouble, and we needed to be able to capitalize on that.

"That's kind of been the story all along. We’ve run well all race long and when the race shakes out, we haven't been able to put ourselves in the right position."

Trying to ensure he's part of this year's championship picture is turning up the heat on Bowyer as much as the summer weather, but the veteran driver understands it's part of the game.

"I'm not going to die in three weeks, but it's a pretty big deal," Bowyer said. "I ain't myself, I can tell you that. It's a big deal to our sponsors. They expect you to do it. I expect to do it. It is a lot of pressure, but you've got to deal with it the same as anybody else. When I was 10 points out last week, it was a lot more pressure than when I'm 35 to the good."

Although Bowyer is in a better position than he was a year ago at this time and the Richard Childress Racing team is vastly improved, he believes there's room to up his performance. And as the saying goes there's no time like the present which means Saturday night's 500-lap grind around the high-banked, half-mile Bristol track.

"We can still turn things around, get our momentum back, regain our composure once we get in this Chase and have fun with it," Bowyer said. "Right now, the situation we're in, there's no way you can say you’re not looking over your shoulder, you're not protecting what you've got. If we can get in the Chase, we're the last guy to get in, there's only one way to go."

Running well in addition to having a little luck go his way are the keys in Bowyer's mind that will add up to a berth in the Chase line-up.

"We've run better than the guys around us," Bowyer said. "We just have. On the flip side of it, we haven’t done a good job of finishing these races. We've got to be able to do that. We've got to be able to keep some of this bad luck behind us.

"If we can do that for three more races, we will be in this thing."

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