Bum steer: Bowyer settles for second after Dover rain delay

Clint Bowyer (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Clint Bowyer asked his pit crew for a rain dance.

If his crew members did one, it did not work.

Bowyer was out front of the AAA 400 Drive for Autism when a small patch of rain hit Dover International Speedway and delayed the race with 80 laps left on Sunday. If the track could not dry in time, Bowyer would have taken home his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory of 2018.

Forty-one minutes later, though, the drivers were climbing back into their cars, meaning Bowyer was going to have to hold off teammate Kevin Harvick.

Harvick had the fastest car all day, leading 201 laps. He passed Bowyer on lap No. 338 and held on for the final 63 laps.

Bowyer stayed out front for the first 13 laps after the red flag for weather, but his car was too loose in the cleaner air.

“I was holding my own as loose as I was,” Bowyer said. “I about lost it off of two, I was obviously going for a win and giving it my all. But I knew you just can’t buzz the tires like that at a track like this. It wasn’t two laps after that he was all over me and I was in trouble.”

Still, Bowyer wasn’t too dejected after the race.

He overcame his fair share of adversity. He dropped to the end of the lead lap after the first caution when an air-gun broke during his pit stop.

Bowyer battled back to lead three times for 40 laps.

“We had a really good car all weekend long,” Bowyer said. “Sheer speed-wise Kevin was probably a little bit better. But hey man, we ran second. This is a huge confidence and momentum builder for our 14 team.”

Bowyer was part of a banner-day for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Not only did Harvick win for the fourth time this season, but with Bowyer in second and Kurt Busch in fifth it was the first time Stewart-Haas had three drivers in the top-five.

“It’s days like today that build momentum for the organization,” said team owner Tony Stewart. “It’s another milestone for us. Days like today are what you dream of.”

Harvick and Bowyer were shown during the rain delay joking back and forth before the final restart.

Harvick had been giving Bowyer a hard time all weekend that he was posting the faster lap times since the first practice on Friday. That did enter his mind when the drivers returned to the cars.

“I’m thinking, ‘I talked so much trash to him all weekend and he’s told me the karma train is going to run me over,” Harvick laughed.
Harvick and Bowyer have combined for 16 top-10 finishes so far this season.

“It’s fun racing your teammate,” Harvick said in Victory Lane. “That says a lot about our company and one of my good friends right there.”

“He’s obviously a champion of our sport,” Bowyer said. “You hate to lose but we can beat him at this racetrack. We come back in the fall when all the marbles are on the line and maybe we can.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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