Clint Bowyer got off to a rough start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and the veteran driver is looking for a better result in Saturday’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway.
A 25th-place finish in last week’s South Point 400 at Richmond Raceway dropped Bowyer to 15th in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoff grid. After winning his first pole in over a decade, Bowyer’s race obviously didn’t go the way he had hoped it would. The end result left him 20 points below the cutline heading into the second race of the opening round.
Bowyer does have optimism heading to the .75-mile short track. He was in the mix for a win in the April Richmond race before making contact with the wall in the closing laps and sliding back to a third place finish. Overall he has two Cup Series wins and five top-fives in 27 starts at Richmond as well as an Xfinity Series victory there in 2007.
"It’s just a perfect racetrack," Bowyer said of Richmond. "It’s always been that way. Ever since I started in the Xfinity Series with Richard (Childress), it’s always fit my driving style. It’s that short track and I’ve always said that I wish we had four or five of these all across the country. They certainly hit the mark when they were making Richmond.
"I have a lot of fun there – prerace and everything else. The fan base there has always been good. It’s a good vibe and a good feel for a racetrack being that it kind of reminds you of pulling into the old fairgrounds at a dirt track. There are houses across the street and this is what short-track racing is all about."
But there is work to be done for Bowyer and company. He does not want to have to race for his Playoff life in the last race of the round when the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course rolls around. But Bowyer does believe he can make a run back into Playoff contention and eventually challenge for the championship if everything falls into place.
"I think we’ve got to go out and live up to our capabilities," he said. "If we do that, we’ll have a shot to go to Homestead. Everyone thinks they can win. I do. I really, truly do. It’s not smoke and mirrors.
"I believe I’ve seen enough out of our race team that I’m confident in our opportunity ahead. If we can go out and get those mistakes behind us, I’ve said over the last month and a half, we’re capable of winning. There is only one thing that makes you confident and that is success, and we’ve had that success to enable me to be confident."