Clint Bowyer: Pressure of playoff elimination ‘almost healthy for me’
Clint Bowyer might be one of the few NASCAR drivers in history to hope for a race to be postponed by rain.
There’s more than an 80% chance of rain at the start of Sunday’s Cup playoff elimination race on the Charlotte Roval (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC). As a result, Bowyer has 38 reasons to root for rain to “literally wash enough that it floods somehow.”
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver enters the race 11th in the playoff standings, 38 points behind Joey Logano and the cutoff to advance to the Round of 8.
“I’m gonna sneak in there and put a plug in the tunnel so it’ll just flood and that way we can’t race until Monday when the sun is out,” Bowyer said Thursday, a few hours before announcing this will be his final season in Cup. “I think if it does rain, boy, all hell is gonna break loose. There’s a lot of unknowns.”
Bowyer, who is winless this year and has top-five finishes in the first two Cup races run on the Roval, is fine having his back up against a potentially rain-covered wall.
In fact, said Bowyer, “I like being scared.”
“Honestly, I think it keeps me sharp, it keeps ... your eye on the ball,” he said. “It’s almost healthy for me. I didn’t realize it until I’ve been doing this a long time and usually when you’re on that bubble or something like that we’ve been able, for the most part, to prevail because you’re back is up against the wall and you’re out of options and there are no excuses or anything else. You just got to go out and get the job done.”
If it rains, it would be the first time a Cup points race has been held in wet conditions. Bowyer isn’t a stranger to racing under wet conditions, but it’s been awhile.
He recalled in 2008 when he competed in the rain in a Xfinity Series race at Montreal.
“It became too much,” Bowyer said. “It was a flood. I remember literally hydroplaning across the infield and being like, ‘Hey, man. We’re not racing anymore. We’re surviving. What is this?’ ... I remember the biggest challenge of all of it was literally seeing. It wasn’t attacking the track or trying to figure out grip levels or setups or whatever else, it was flat-out just visually being able to see where you’re going.”
Bowyer’s job Sunday, or whenever the race is run, begins with him starting 11th. Whatever transpires after the green flag, Bowyer doesn’t think he needs to win to advance.
“If you finish second, more than likely you’re gonna add stage points to it and somebody is gonna have trouble,” Bowyer said. “You’ve got to look at this thing as an opportunity and that’s what I’m looking at. I’ll take second.”