Bowyer Clinches Chase Spot
By: Jeff Wackerlin - @JWackerlin Twitter and Instagram | MRN.com on August 25, 2013 | 10:05 A.M. EST
"We went out there and gave it everything we had and just came up short." (Photo: Getty Images)
BRISTOL, Tenn. - Clint Bowyer clinched a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup when he coasted to the finish line in Saturday night's IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
It was an eventful night for Bowyer that saw him battle back from damage on his No. 15 Toyota when he was turned on the track while leading by the lapped car of Travis Kvapil. The contact sent Bowyer spinning in the path of Bobby Labonte where the two collided. After the team made the necessary repairs, Bowyer was able to race his way back up into the top five in the closing laps only to run out of fuel on the final circuit, relegating him to a 14th-place finish.
“Man, our car was so fast," Bowyer said. "I felt like we had a shot at winning and then I got spun out there by a lapper of all things. When I got hit up there, it hit that left-front tire and the car never turned the center as good the rest of the night. Extremely proud of the guys - they got it fixed back up. We went out there and gave it everything we had and just came up short."
Bowyer, who led 50 laps before the incident, saw his final pit stop come on lap 336.
"I don't know what happened there at the end," Bowyer said. "I don't know if we didn’t get it full of fuel or what. We should have made it and it didn't, but oh well."
Although he was able to clinch his fifth career appearance in NASCAR's 10-race playoffs, Bowyer was disappointed in the way his night went.
“It means a lot, but just really disappointed tonight because we had a really good car," Bowyer said. "Absolutely nothing really went our way all night.”
Bowyer joins Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth - at least a Wild Card - as the only drivers that are locked in the Chase. Bowyer, who trails Jimmie Johnson by 18 points in the standings, now has two more attempts to get his first win of the season and score valuable bonus points.