Bowyer frustrated by contract situation
Clint Bowyer is pretty clear about what he wants in his future.
"I want to win races and win a championship, that's what I want to do," Bowyer said as he walked across the track before Saturday night's race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Bowyer just doesn't know where he's going to attempt to meet his goals next season.
He's in the final year of his contract at Richard Childress Racing, and despite his repeated public insistence that he wants to stay with that organization, the two sides have yet to reach a deal. Even worse, there's been rampant speculation that negotiations have broken down and allegations that Bowyer has made unreasonable salary demands.
Bowyer expressed his anger this weekend over how he's being characterized this weekend, and said he's frustrated with the entire process.
"Where (the rumors) are coming from is not having something put together yet," he said, adding his alleged salary demands are "clearly not the case at all."
Bowyer has at least one other opportunity besides RCR.
Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Andrew Murstein said Saturday on SiriusXM Radio that he'd be interested in signing Bowyer to help the organization expand to three cars. The team currently fields cars for AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose.
Bowyer admitted he's talked to many other teams.
"Obviously, that's what you've got to go and do right now, you've got to go out and get every offer possible, you know?" Bowyer said. "Go home and when it's time to make a decision, weigh them all out and make the best decision for your life, your performance and other things. Everything weighs into that.
"You've got to weigh all the options out and make the best decision possible. Until you have all those facts and have all your ducks in a row, I'm wasting my time talking to you."
Sponsorship appears to be one of the hang-ups in Bowyer getting any deals done, but it's widely believed that Bowyer has personally secured enough money for at least 20 races from 5-Hour Energy.
In the meantime, Bowyer wants the attention focused back on the track. With only two races left to earn a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, Bowyer said his bid to make the 12-driver field has helped take his attention away from the contract negotiations.
"It helps me having a little bit of momentum going into these next three races, you know, wanting to be a part of that Chase, knowing the importance of the Chase," Bowyer said. "It helps me focus on that and not worry so much about the future.
"The future is going to be there. The future will be bright. We'll live to see another day."
Bowyer had a miserable night at Bristol, though, finishing 26th and two laps off the pace. It dropped him one spot in the standings to 12th, and in serious danger of not making the Chase.
EARNHARDT WATCH: Dale Earnhardt Jr. started Saturday night's race needing three solid runs to secure his first spot in the Chase since 2008.
But just making the 12-driver field isn't enough for Earnhardt.
"On a personal level, I don't really know how much it matters to me. Making the Chase is just an afterthought," Earnhardt said. "I really want to win a championship. Making the Chase is great and all, but as a person, you want to be a champion. Making the Chase doesn't really make you feel better at the end of the season. If you don't win the championship, you're really disappointed."
Earnhardt's career-best finish in the Sprint Cup standings was third in 2003. Under the Chase format, he finished fifth in 2004 and 2006, but has not made the field the last two seasons. He's also winless since June 2008, a streak of 116 races.
He went into Saturday night's race ranked ninth in the standings, and operating as if he's running for points.
"I think more about what we could have done last week, thinking more about day-to-day stuff. . I want to win a race, how can we put ourselves in position to do that and things like that," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The points and everything sort of takes care of itself. You try to do the best you can throughout the year to put yourself in the best position.
"If I miss the Chase, I'll probably catch a lot of (grief) about it. It will save me a lot of (grief) if I make the Chase. That's about the only thing personally I have to worry about."
Earnhardt had a mediocre run Saturday night, finishing 16th. He's ninth in the standings headed to Atlanta.
NO NUMBER FOR DANICA: Robby Gordon was the first driver off the track Saturday night, parking his No. 7 Dodge after just 10 laps.
He's admitted he plans to start-and-park for the rest of the season because he needs sponsorship aside from what he brings to the team from his Speed Energy drink. Even though his number is getting little use, he said he has no interest in giving it to Danica Patrick when she makes her full-time move to NASCAR next season.
Patrick uses the No. 7 in IndyCar and when she drives in the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports.
"Why would I give Danica the 7?" he asked. "I wish Danica all the best in NASCAR. I want to see her succeed. I think it will be good for the sport. I truly do. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give her my number. I've built my business around the 7."
NASCAR technically owns the numbers, but teams grab them and hold onto them for years. Patrick could attempt to buy the number from Gordon, but he didn't indicate a willingness to negotiate.
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