Driving as hard as he could while hanging on to a loose race car, Clint Bowyer did all he could to hold off teammate Kevin Harvick for the victory.
It wasn’t enough. Harvick dominated the day with 201 laps led and claimed all three stages of the AAA 400. The pass for the win came on Lap 338.
“I was holding my own as loose as I was and I about lost it off of [Turn] 2,” said Bowyer. “But I knew you just can’t buzz the tires like that on a track like this.
“It wasn’t, what, two laps after that and he was all over me and then I was in trouble. When you’re loose like that getting into the corner and those guys get behind you, you’re in trouble. Then, obviously, when you’re loose and they get to your outside, you’ve got to give it to them [or] they’re going to turn you around.”
The victory was the fourth of the season for Harvick; he beat Bowyer to the finish line by 7.4 seconds.
“He’s obviously a champion of this sport and you hate to lose to him, know what I mean?” Bowyer said of his Stewart-Haas Racing teammate. “We could beat him at this racetrack. We come back in the fall. And when all the marbles are on the line, maybe we can.”
Bowyer knew Harvick would end up being the driver to beat, but he was the one who held the top spot when rain halted the race on Lap 317. Bowyer led for a total of 40 laps.
“This is a huge confidence- and a momentum-builder for our 14 team, for our organization,” said Bowyer. “I think Kurt [Busch] finished fifth, so that’s three of the four [cars] in the top five, and that fourth one right behind.”
Aric Almirola finished 11th.
“Just proud of everybody’s effort, proud of the opportunity,” Bowyer continued. “Excited to go to my home track next weekend and the rest of the year is going to be a lot of fun.”