By admin | September 9, 2011
By Richard Allen
Both owner Richard Childress and driver Clint Bowyer sound as if they have given up hope for the Kansas native to return to his #33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolets next season. The driver has won four Sprint Cup races as well as a Nationwide Series championship while working for the organization but his contract runs out at the end of the year and negotiations between the team and potential sponsors have failed to produce the desired results.
“You know, we’ve tried and we’ve really worked really hard to put the deal together to keep Clint,” Childress said in a radio interview. “It’s not 100% off the table but it’s getting tougher and tougher as the day goes by. Clint’s got a couple of really good opportunities there facing him. We just, for us it just didn’t seem that we could get everything worked out. Clint’s still a good friend. I want the best for him. I feel like that we’ve done a lot together and I hope that if we can’t put him in a car next year that he gets in a ride that he’s really good and happy with.”
Needless to say, Bowyer is now in search of a ride for the 2012 season and beyond.
One organization that has emerged as a potential landing place for Bowyer is Richard Petty Motorsports. Recently, team owner Andrew Murstein made it public that his team was indeed in pursuit of the free agent driver and had offered him a contract to pilot a third Ford team for them. RPM currently fields cars for Marcos Ambrose and A.J. Allmendinger.
A possible issue for Bowyer, should he end up at RPM, could have to do with his high profile dirt late model operation. Clint Bowyer Racing operates a two car team that competes on the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series as well as in major races run by other sanctioning bodies with drivers Dale McDowell and Jared Landers.
Bowyer’s dirt late models receive their engines from Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines. ECR is a joint operation that furnishes power plants for the Sprint Cup teams of Richard Childress Racing and Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing.
While Childress went on the interview mentioned above to say that he would help Bowyer in whatever way possible, it could create an awkward situation for all involved if Bowyer were to drive a Ford from RPM in Sprint Cup but yet field dirt cars with Chevrolet engines from ECR.
As it turns out, RPM receives its Sprint Cup engines from Ford supplier Roush Yates Engines. RYE, like ECR, builds dirt racing as well as NASCAR motors. Among others, late models legends Scott Bloomquist and Steve Francis make use of the power provided by Roush Yates.
Likely, Bowyer is focused very much on completing this Sprint Cup season and on securing his next season in NASCAR. Any decisions on what to do with his dirt racing operation will no doubt have to come later. But, the possibilities are intriguing. His cars may continue with ECR engines. Or, Roush Yates Engines may wish to make a deal with the new Ford driver(should that indeed happen) and gain the services of the veteran McDowell and the up and coming Landers. And of course, there are any number of other engine packages that could come into play that may involve neither of those already mentioned.
The bottom line is that Clint Bowyer’s almost certain departure from Richard Childress Racing brings up a number of questions, many of which do not even relate to NASCAR or Sprint Cup racing.
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