By admin | January 21, 2009
By Richard Allen
Over the next few days and weeks I will be presenting a review of 2008 and a preview of 2009 for each of the drivers and teams who appear to be set for a full time run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. For the most part these pieces will run in order by car number. If you should miss out on your favorite driver simply type his name into the search box at the upper right hand portion of the website.
#33- Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer is driving for the same owner he has driven for over the course of his previous three years in the Sprint Cup Series. However, aside from the signature at the bottom of his paycheck, almost everything else around him has changed.
Bowyer is moving from the #07 Chevrolet he has driven since 2006 for crew chief Gil Martin to wheel a new Richard Childress Racing machine for crew chief Shane Wilson. Bowyer has also traded sponsors from Jack Daniel’s to Cheerios and BB&T.
In 2008, Bowyer had a more than respectable season. He took one checkered flag to go along with seven Top 5s and 17 Top 10s on his way to a 5th place points result. All that really serves to prove is that the Kansas driver is a good wheel man. Since he is working with an entirely new team not much from last year will translate to 2009.
It will be difficult for Bowyer to succeed at a high level with this new team. One thing to keep in mind is the #33 car will have no owner’s points going into the new season which will add some pressure to qualifying for the first five races of the season. It is during the first five races that NASCAR uses points from the previous year to lock certain teams into the starting lineups of races.
While it may seem like a strange situation to split a fairly successful driver and his team of three season, this move may have come at a good time. Scanner chatter from last season revealed a bit of friction on the RCR #07 team last year. Perhaps it was time for a change.
Bowyer is a talented driver and RCR is one of NASCAR’s top organizations so eventual success should come as no surprise to anyone. However, there will be at least some period of adjustment for driver and crew. That time of adjustment may be just enough to put this team in a bit of a hole during the early stages of the season.
By season’s end, Clint Bowyer will likely be as competitive as he ever has been. He may even win a race somewhere within the Chase for the Championship. But, he may very well not be one of the Chase qualifiers.
Driver: Clint Bowyer
Owner: Richard Childress Racing
Sponsor: General Mills/ Cheerios, BB&T
Crew Chief: Shane Wilson
Scanner Frequencies(?): 468.2500
Chances of making the Chase for the Championship: Not as good as in past years
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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