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Bowyer just did what a racer ought to do

By admin | April 1, 2012

By Richard Allen


It’s always funny to me how the judgments of incidents in NASCAR are almost solely based on who was involved rather than what actually happened. That said, I’m sure there will be some interesting comments, both pro and con, on this piece.

So, here goes.

After what was meant to be a green/white/checker restart late in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway, driver Clint Bowyer made a bold move going into the first turn that put him on the inside of a three-wide scramble for the lead with Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson. The end result was that neither of those three drivers emerged from turn two with the lead. Rather, all three had incurred enough damage from the melee that took place to eliminate each from contention for the win.

Gordon, who had led 328 laps up to that point, appeared to be on the verge of collecting his eighth career win at the paper clip shaped half-mile track. Needless to say, he was less than pleased with Bowyer’s move. “That stupid ****er,” the four time Sprint Cup champion blasted into his team radio immediately after the incident. “What a jerk.”

Later, Gordon was a bit more reflective. “I like Clint. Who doesn’t like Clint Bowyer?” he asked. “He is just one of those guys that everybody likes. I love racing with him. It was unlike him to do that. I was pretty mad at the time, but after understanding what happened, I wouldn’t blame it on him.”

Gordon, who had not pitted under the previous caution when most other lead lap cars had, acknowledged that he spun his tires on the restart and provided an opening for Bowyer to make his move. Also, Bowyer had explained in their post race meeting that Ryan Newman had bumped him in the rear going into the turn.

“That’s Martinsville, green/white/checkered,” Gordon added. “There are no guarantees at this place. Anytime they stack them up like that you know it is going to get ugly in the first couple of corners.”

Bowyer explained his move in post race interviews. “It pretty much sucked,” he said. “They(either Gordon or Johnson) should have won the race and we should have finished fourth there, but that’s just the nature of the beast. When a car’s got (fresh) tires and other cars don’t…

“He(Gordon) spun the tires pretty hard,” Bowyer continued. “If I didn’t go down there, the 39(Newman) had already hit me in the rear and he was going to.”

The reality is, it was a move Bowyer almost had to make. While the odds of actually pulling it off may have been slim, there are only so many opportunities to win a Sprint Cup race and drivers ought to go for them when they can.

And furthermore, Bowyer’s car was well alongside that of Gordon by the time they reached the corner. It’s not as if the 15 car got into the left rear quarter panel. The contact between the two was essentially door to door. Gordon had to know Bowyer was there and could have allowed for more room.

I can definitely understand why Gordon would be angry. He feels as though he got taken out by a wild ‘dive bomb’ move that could have been avoided. But on the other hand, if I were Bowyer’s car owner or sponsor I would have been asking him why he didn’t make a stronger move at the end had he simply held his line and came home 3rd or 4th.

Circumstances always change. If this were the fall race at Martinsville and a move such as that had knocked a Chase for the Championship contender out, the judgment might be different. However, it’s early in the season and wins should be valued enough that drivers are willing to take a few risks to achieve them.

Clint Bowyer simply did what any racer ought to have done in that situation.

Now that I’ve said stated my case, let me hear yours(Gordon fans, Bowyer fans and all others).

Top-35 rule played major role in Martinsville late race chaos ->

Topics: Articles |

7 Responses to “Bowyer just did what a racer ought to do”

  1. Josie Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Hey it all worked for me! Let’s face it… The race was alot more exciting then Bristol..and we got an unexpected winner. Drivers make split second decisions…and that’s what makes racing exciting….I place no blame on Reuty, Bowyer, Gordon, or Newman … Sorry the 24 and 48 felt they should have been 1 & 2 … But that’s the way the cookie crumbles! They couldn’t have been surprised when they ended up crashing…. I think it was in the cards whether they ended up racing each other or the entire field..a wreck was brewing. It was a great last 10 laps!

  2. Daniel shook Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 9:53 am

    That last caution caused by the 10 car should have never came out. The 24 had the best car all day he had worked hard and finally passed jimmy Johnson with three Laps to go .Gordon deserved to win that race if dale jr was leading that race when that happened junior nation would be putting death threats out to reutimann. That’s the only bad thing about NASCAR sometimes the best car doesn’t always win.Ryan should cut that clock in half and send to Dave reutimann because that’s the only reason why he won it. He couldn’t even stay in the same area code as the 24 and 48 all day.

  3. Mark Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Sitting in 3rd with fresh tires… The best option at ANY track is to dive bomb in the corner and try to make it stick. Any driver that isn’t willing to do this, probably shouldn’t be driving in Nascar.

  4. Russ Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Admittedly I’m not a stock car driver, but I’ve done a fair bit of road racing. I couldn’t understand why Gordon didn’t dive for the bottom as soon as it was legal to start.
    Seems to me he gave away the inside, and as soon as he did that he was not going to win.

  5. Owen Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    The 24 and 48 were clearly slower than everyone behind them after not taking tires. Looked to me like there were several cars that were faster on the last restart, including Ryan’s. I hate it for the Hendrick boys but every driver on the track suffers from unfortunate cautions at some time or another and they made their bed by not pitting. Glad someone else won besides HMS and I’m glad it was Ryan.

  6. Tony Geinzer Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    I think the trouble is Kansas Clint will have more days like this at MWR and its puzzling how the Hendrick Empire is cracking downhill.

  7. Tyler West Says:
    April 2nd, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I was great! I’m SO SICK of Hendrick Motorsports getting everything they want. That whole organization can take a hike. I love it when things don’t go poor Rick Hendricks way. Pardon me for laughing. I can’t stand Hendrick Motorsports. Great finish, that is what Nascar needs. Not the Rich getting richer ( of course if your racing at that level none are really hurting compared to regular folks but hey…..)