Ugly. Ugly bad. Weren’t good at all. Not-so-stellar run.
Clint Bowyer used all those descriptions for his drive in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, after which he advanced into the semifinal round of the playoffs by just seven points. Bowyer started 14th, finished 13th and spent much of the afternoon sliding up and down the leaderboard.
“It was enough, barely,” said Bowyer. “We were lucky really. It was ugly. I wanted to be better than that. I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m missing here. It isn’t my guys. They’re giving me good cars. They are fast. I just can’t figure out how to get around this damn place. I definitely have to be better than that.
“I knew this was going to be the one and we were lucky enough to get through Talladega and get some points going into this with a little bit of insurance, and I am damn glad we did.”
While Kansas might be his home track, Bowyer admitted it was the race he was worried about. Bowyer did not lead a lap Sunday afternoon and only picked up stage points in Stage 1, finishing seventh. Outside the top 10 in Stage 2, Bowyer did not score any points to help his cause.
Now with 21 starts at Kansas, Bowyer has just six top-10 finishes at the facility and only two top-five results. Bowyer has never won at his home track.
“For whatever reason, Kansas isn’t my best track,” said Bowyer. “I am way more comfortable on the short tracks.”
Fortunately, the Round of 8 starts with a short track, and Bowyer won there earlier this season. Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway are the races separating Bowyer from a place in the title fight.
And while he is excited about the upcoming weeks and feels more comfortable on those tracks, Bowyer said he’ll have to “figure something out” for Texas. Bowyer has never won at Texas and has an average finish of 15.8.
“Going to Martinsville for this next round, if I can put together Martinsville and Phoenix like I am capable of and run Texas like we are capable of, I think we can be in Homestead,” Bowyer said. “Now it is getting down to the nitty-gritty. Now it is eight good teams. There are 16 good teams, but there are eight damn good teams.
“All eight of these teams have found victory lane and things like that. Now you are starting to pick up the pace or go home.”