CLINT BOWYER – 2018 Darlington Race Report

September 3rd, 2018

Event:               69th annual Bojangles’ Southern 500 (Round 25 of 36)
Series:               Monster EnergyNASCAR Cup Series
Location:          Darlington (S.C.) Raceway (1.366-mile oval)
Format:            367 laps, broken into three stages (100 laps/100 laps/167 laps)
Start/Finish:      17th/36th (Accident, completed 309 of 367 laps)
Point Standing:8th (777 points, 261 out of first)

Race Winner:    Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Chip Ganassi Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Recap (Ended at Lap 100):

  • Bowyer started 17th and finished 11th.
  • Climbed to 12th by lap 43, but he told the crew his car wouldn’t turn in the corners.
  • Crew made several changes that improved the handling during latter laps of the stage.
  • Bowyer charged toward the front of the field but ran out of laps, finishing 11th.
  • Pitted during the stage break for more adjustments, and pit crew returned him to the race in ninth.

Stage 2 Recap (Ended at Lap 200):

  • Bowyer started ninth and finished 12th.
  • Raced in seventh on lap 128 when a caution brought the field to pit road.
  • Bowyer moved from seventh to fifth during the stop, but he reported a vibration when the race resumed.
  • The vibration forced Bowyer to pit lane for new right-side tires and dropped him to 27th, a lap down to the leaders.
  • The remainder of the stage ran caution free, allowing Bowyer to use his fresher tires to climb to 12th and pass leader Kyle Larson on lap 195 to return to the lead lap.

Stage 3 Recap (Ended at Lap 367):

  • Bowyer started 12th and finished 36th.
  • Bowyer returned to the top-10 on lap 215.
  • Bowyer ran in 12th on lap 309 when he struck the slow-moving car of Ryan Newman, ending the No. 14’s race.

Notes:

  • Brad Keselowski won the Bojangles’ Southern 500 to score his 25thcareer Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Darlington. His margin of victory over second-place Joey Logano was 1.224 seconds.
  • Keselowski delivered the 101stpoints-paying victory for Ford’s Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It was Ford’s 670thall-time win in the NASCAR Cup Series.
  • There were six caution periods for a total of 35 laps.
  • Only 16 of the 40 drivers in the Bojangles’ Southern 500 finished on the lead lap.

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Carolina Ford Dealers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing: 

“I hit the 31 really hard. I don’t know. I guess he was pitting or something, and it’s a product of this place, I guess. There are lapped cars that are 50 laps down all over the damn place. That’s pretty frustrating. We had a heck of a comeback tonight. What an honor to have Ned Jarrett spend the day with us and Ford folks. I don’t do this very often, but I asked Ned to sign my hat. If you are going to have a legend like him around I have to ask for an autograph.”

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the 25thrunning of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN beginning at 1:30 p.m. It is the last race of the regular season before the NASCAR Playoffs begin Sept. 16 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.