I wrote a blog last week over on Stock Car Spin, where I pointed out that I felt the 2012 Sprint Cup Chase was a Two Horse Race between Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin. The article was written after Clint Bowyer had won the Bank Of America 500 last Saturday at Charlotte, but maybe I need to re-think the situation.
After a solid 6th place finish Sunday, in Kansas at the Hollywood Casino 400, the 33 year old driver of the #15 5 Hour Energy Toyota, who is from just down the road at Emporia, Kansas, just doesn’t seem to want to go away. In his last 10 races, he has one win, 3 top 5′s and 8 top 10′s. That sounds to me like a driver who wants to win a championship this season. In fact, to go along with his two trips to Victory Lane this season, his first win came at the Sonoma Road Course in June, he has 8 top 5′s and 20 top 10′s. This is a veteran driver and crew chief that is on a run for a Sprint Cup Title.
I’m a huge Michael Waltrip Racing fan, and was dissapointed when they didn’t make a run at Matt Kenseth when he became available. When Matt announced that he had a deal in place for 2013, I knew it had to be with Joe Gibbs Racing, and a seat in the Home Depot ride, but I was hopeful. I pointed out in a blog back in September, Michael Waltrip Racing and Toyota at A Crossroad, that I felt MWR was just a marquee driver away from a serious title run.
I think I might have underestimated both Clint Bowyer’s talent, and the affect that the little guy on the team that occasionally drives the #55 Napa machine might be having on this race team. With Martin Truex Jr. bringing his Toyota home in second place at Kansas Speedway, he has a chance, albeit a slim one at the Sprint Cup Title. There I go again, ordering more crow!
Bowyer didn’t change positions, but he did pick up ground on all of the chase drivers who are ahead of him in the points standings. He is now just 25 points behind leader Brad Keselowski, and only 5 points behind third place Denny Hamlin. That Lowes Chevrolet is kinda like dog manure on your shoe. You just can’t get away from him. On a day where he had some problem, and it looked as though he would loose some ground, his Championship pedigree reared it head, and he and his team fought their way back to a ninth place finish, and are still only 7 points out of the lead.
I would like to see a young new face lift that Trophy at seasons end, and it just as well be Clint Bowyer doing it. With Thanksgiving Day coming the Thursday after the 2012 Nascar season ends at Homestead, I may be ordering Crow for my dinner.
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