Clint Bowyer has confetti on the mind.
“More confetti. That is what I would want to change about my ride from last year,” Bowyer quickly replied when asked.
Confetti, of course, comes with winning, something Bowyer did not do in 2017. In fact, it’s been five years since he was the first one to the checkered flag in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. Going into his second season with Stewart-Haas Racing, Bowyer is looking for things to be much smoother following a complete transition – not only for him but the organization into the Ford camp.
“Hey, it was a learning year man. I’m telling you,” Bowyer said. “There was a lot to overcome last year, and you hate making excuses and talking about last year and everything. There is no excuses, but there was a lot to overcome at SHR, and I think the people there did a great job of handling all of it and making the most of it in a short amount of time.
“Things happened quick last year and the next thing you knew it was playoff time, and it was over for us. It was trying to learn as much as we could to make that 4 car [Kevin Harvick] as fast as possible to win the championship. Things were happening at a rapid pace last year.”
Bumps in the road is how Bowyer described it.
“We were spraying it all over the place,” Bowyer said of nearly winning. “Good runs, good qualifying efforts sometimes, then two terrible ones, then run good again. It was like ‘What the hell is going on?’ We were fast one week and not in the game the next week.
“You couldn’t figure out a pattern. Didn’t have that baseline where we could just unload each week and fine tune it from there. It was unload good one week, and the next time off the truck it was in left field and struggled all week long with it.”
A lack of consistency was the source of Bowyer’s disappointment. Missing the playoffs, Bowyer finished 18th in points with just 22 laps led.
SHR has been a great fit for him as he took over the No. 14 car from Tony Stewart, and it was clear last year Bowyer was happier than he’d been in recent seasons. From a team standpoint, it doesn’t appear much will be different, including with Mike Bugarewicz still leading the charge.
“To have that behind us, the winter, the offseason has been way easier,” Bowyer said. “It was pretty chaotic last year. I think we’ve weathered that storm and we are ready.”
Ready to continue to think about confetti.