Clint Bowyer finished fifth Saturday night at Kansas but said he should have been second, angry and frustrated after the race with the way Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones raced him on the final lap.
“What are you going to do? Turn him right in front of the field and hurt him?” an upset Bowyer said after climbing from his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and stalking toward Jones, who was still sitting in his Toyota.
“He puts you in a bad situation,” Bowyer fumed. “I lifted for him it and cost me three spots right there. … That was dumb on his part. I guess that’s what he wants, just go down and wreck him in front of the field. You got a run like that, you just don’t move up. I should have just wrecked him, I guess.”
Bowyer and Jones were battling with the rest of the top-five cars down the front stretch under the white flag. Brad Keselowski drove away with the race lead and Alex Bowman grabbed second as Jones and Bowyer went at it going into Turn 1.
Jones finished third, and Chase Elliott grabbed the fourth spot as Bowyer struggled to recover. After the checkered flag, Bowyer nudged Jones in the bumper and then drove up alongside him.
“God, that pisses me off,” Bowyer said when seeing the replay.
Jones said he felt it was “just racing.”
“We’re racing hard,” he explained. “This package really kind of leads into a lot of blocking and a lot of protecting your position, and we’re taking the white flag. I’m not going to give up a lane to give up two, three, four spots if he would have got the inside.
“I’d be mad if I was him, but it’s just racing. I’ve been blocked a lot, especially with this package, and I haven’t done a lot of blocking, so you have to get aggressive and fight for every position. That’s all I was doing at the end of the race. We were taking the white flag and you’re going for it.
“It’s unfortunate. You don’t want people upset, but feelings are going to get hurt and you’ll move on and we’ll be fine next week.”