Bowyer lands ride with HScott before replacing Tony Stewart
DOVER, Del. (AP) Clint Bowyer hopes his one-year pit stop at HScott Motorsports is more than just a footnote on his career.
He wants to build the foundation that will shape the fledgling organization into a championship contender.
”When I leave there, I want to be able to leave there having a winning organization,” he said.
Known these days as the driver who will replace Tony Stewart, Bowyer’s whirlwind season continued Friday with the expected announcement that he will drive for team owner Harry Scott in 2016. Then it’s on to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 to try and fill the shoes of three-time NASCAR champion Stewart.
Bowyer became available when Michael Waltrip Racing decided to cease operations at the end of this season and released him from his three-year contract.
Out of a job, Bowyer certainly wasn’t out of opportunities.
Bowyer now has a ride with Scott in a deal that will give him a seat and team support from SHR. Bowyer will drive a Chevy for HSM, just like he will for Stewart. HSM receives technical support from Hendrick Motorsports and SHR. Bowyer also brings along 5-Hour Energy as his primary sponsor for 24 races next season. The team did not announce a crew chief or car number.
”I think Clint will help us long-term because he is basically going to be able to help us kind of reset our program and set the bar higher going forward,” Scott said at Dover International Speedway. Scott said the 2016 goal was to win races and make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
”Right, Clint?” he said to Bowyer, smiling.
”It better be,” Bowyer responded.
HScott Motorsports fielded Chevrolets this season for Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett. Both drivers have struggled for Scott in just the second full season for the organization. Allgaier is 30th in the standings and Annett is 36th.
Scott declined to reveal the 2016 lineup, though the team had previously confirmed that Annett would return and it would not field three cars in 2016. Allgaier may be the odd man out.
”I’m just trying to figure out what we can put together,” Allgaier said. ”There’s still a lot of time.”
The 36-year-old Bowyer is 16th this season in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship standings. His No. 15 team was docked 25 points for an illegally modified part two weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway. Barring a victory, Bowyer will not advance to the second round.
”At the end of the year, I ain’t going to be 16th,” Bowyer said.
Bowyer could finish as high as fifth in the standings, even if he doesn’t advance out of the first round. He has eight career Sprint Cup victories, though none since 2012.
Scott purchased Phoenix Racing from James Finch in 2013 and later rebranded it HScott Motorsports. Phoenix Racing was established by Finch in 1989. Its lone win was at Talladega in 2009 with Brad Keselowski.
Allgaier was named the team’s full-time driver in 2014 and Annett joined HSM ahead of this season. Allgaier, whose best finish this season is eighth at Bristol, believed better days were ahead for HSM.
”I think to have a close relationship with Stewart-Haas, that elevates the team to another level,” he said. ”Harry came into this series knowing he wasn’t going to become a Rick Hendrick or Chip Ganassi overnight. He’s in this for the long haul and I’ve seen the improvements already.”