Clint Bowyer was absent from the Fox broadcast booth for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race, and it was revealed why by the Fox affiliate in Kansas City.
It was announced shortly before this past Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway, the final race of Fox’s 2022 broadcast schedule, that Clint Bowyer would not be in the booth for this race.
Other than the fact that he was reportedly “handling a personal matter”, no further details were provided. Bowyer is in his second season as an analyst in the Fox booth following his retirement from full-time Cup Series competition post-2020.
Larry McReynolds, an analyst on the Fox team who had joined the broadcast booth alongside lead announcer Mike Joy and Bowyer for the race at Dover Motor Speedway in early May, filled in for Bowyer alongside Joy and Tony Stewart. Stewart had previously been confirmed as the third announcer.
But the reason for Bowyer’s absence was revealed Thursday night by the Fox affiliate in Kansas City.
A couple hours after the inaugural Cup Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on Sunday, June 5, the 43-year-old Emporia, Kansas native was involved in a fatal car crash near Osage Beach, Missouri, one which killed a 47-year-old woman. The woman, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was later identified as Mary Jane Simmons of Camdenton.
A crash report from the Lake Ozark Police Department revealed that Bowyer was driving westbound on U.S. 54 and struck a woman walking on a ramp as he approached Missouri 242. He reportedly hit his brakes as soon as he realized what had happened before calling 911 and assisting first responders at the scene.
Bowyer did not show any signs of impairment, and a test revealed that his blood alcohol content was .000. Simmons was believed to be under the influence of drugs, and a crystalline substance, believed to be methamphetamine, was discovered where her belongings were located after the accident.
Bowyer released the following statement to Fox 4.
"“Anyone that knows me, knows that family is everything to me. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Ms. Simmons. This is a very difficult time for my family and I, please respect our privacy as we move forward.”"
Fox Sports also released a statement of their own.
"“We are deeply saddened by the news of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families.”"
While Bowyer’s vehicle was reported to have sustained damage to the front driver side and to the windshield in front of the driver’s seat, he was not reported to have suffered any injuries.