Wednesday, August 31, 2011

For his sake, Clint Bowyer needs to stay at RCR

Carl Edwards announced he will return to Roush-Fenway Racing in 2012, Danica Patrick announced she will go to NASCAR full-time next season and Dale Earnhardt Jr. has all but announced he will stay at Hendrick Motorsports long term.

But, the Silly Season isn't quite finished.

While it seems most of the NASCAR rides are accounted for in 2012, there is still one nagging situation that won’t wrap up. Clint Bowyer still needs a contract for next season.

When Edwards announced he would stay in a Ford next season, the talk was that everybody else would stay in their current ride, including Bowyer. Reports said Bowyer and Richard Childress were close to a deal and just hammering out sponsorship for the full season.

Now, less than a month later, it sounds more and more like Bowyer might not return to the #33 car. Reports are that the organization is still having trouble securing sponsorship, and Bowyer doesn’t want to take a pay cut.

Both of these problems are understandable. The sponsorship issue has been a problem throughout the sport for several years, and it’s tough for a driver who has been in the Chase three of the past four years to accept a pay cut after Edwards just signed one of the largest contracts in the history of the sport.

With all that said, Bowyer still needs to come to an agreement with Richard Childress Racing, even if it means a pay cut. Sure, he might get more money if he jumps ship and finds a ride at Richard Petty Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing, but the #33 car will be better in 2012 than any of his other options.

Bowyer started in the #07 at Richard Childress Racing in 2006 as a rookie, but then moved to the brand-new #33 team in 2009 after Casey Mears came in to drive the #07.

The 2009 season was a bad one for the entire RCR organization as none of its four teams made the Chase. However, it downsized to three teams in 2010 and every car made the Chase.

By leaving RCR, even though it is struggling mightily at the moment, Bowyer would put himself back in a similar position to his 2009 season. He would most likely drive for a start-up team as the third or fourth car at whatever organization he chose. Those teams don’t typically challenge for a Chase spot, much less contend for a championship.

It would feel like he’s starting over, and he would likely have to spend a few seasons waiting for the team to develop into a contender.

Richard Childress Racing might have stretches where the entire organization struggles, but as Kevin Harvick found out when he re-signed with RCR following the 2009 season, it comes back with a vengeance. Harvick nearly won the 2010 championship.

Right now RCR might look like it’s in trouble and can’t keep up with the other big teams, but when this organization figures out what is wrong, it generally rises to the top of the sport.

Even if Bowyer misses the Chase this season, the #33 team could easily be in the Chase and battle for a championship next season. That might not be possible at any of Bowyer’s other options.

With Austin Dillon contending for a championship in the truck series, RCR has options if Bowyer bolts. Right now Bowyer needs Childress more than Childress needs Bowyer.

Even if it means a lower salary, Bowyer needs to stay at RCR if he wants to be a contender in 2012.


  1. I'm thinking that if Childress turns to young Dillon if Bowyer leaves then your argument about why Bowyer should stay put ends up on Childress' back. Childress will be dealing with a rookie driver who hasn't even tasted Nationwide racing yet... Not only that, it's his grandson. Talk about walking into an awkward situation.

    I agree Bowyer would be better off if he stays put, but it sure looks like he may be leaving. Would RPM become a 3 car team?

    In another vein, where's Vickers and Martin headed to? Martin almost came right out and said he'd be willing to take the part-time job with SHR when Ms. Patrick isn't behind the wheel of their new Cup ride. If that happens there's still Brian Vickers. Is he odd man out? Will someone step up in this economic climate and buyout Red Bull and thus keep Vickers in a ride?

    If Clint Bowyer signs tomorrow there are still some questions to be answered.

    BTW, have you heard the rumor about Home Depot possibly leaving JGR? I heard they may jump over to RFR and sponsor good ol' cousin Carl!

  2. if no one buys out Red Bull, will that mean they would remain and sponsor a car if a good one popped up or would they leave altogether? Just asking since Red Bull and Bowyer would make a decent pairing I reckon :/

  3. Hearing some rumors (which is all they are I am sure) that Penske might consider Bowyer and go to 3 car team. (Doubt it!)

    If I were RCR I'd boot Burton who hasn't done anything of note in several years...Bowyer at least gets them in the Chase more often than not.

  4. Bowyer has only won four Cup races in nearly six year of racing. He is steady and doesn't wreck his car very often. But he needs to remember that Childress got him to the chase a few times, not the other way around.


  6. Money, money, money......

  7. Bowyer is looking a couple of years down the road, when BOTH Dillon boys will be handed the keys to their very own one of Pop Pop's Cup cars. Burton is keeping a seat warm for one of them, and Clint figures he's doing the same.

    Come on over to JGR, Clint. RPM is third tier.

  8. Dwindy1 - There are still going to be a few deals left to be made after Bowyer, most notably Vickers. I don't think Home Depot will leave for Edwards now that Fastenal announced it will be on the car for 17 races next year.

    tezgm99 - Good to see you were able to log in! I think Bowyer would fit OK at Red Bull but the team won't be around. However, who knows, maybe they go ahead and still sponsor a fourth car at Gibbs.

    klvalus - The way the Penske cars have been running at times this year that would look like a really nice opportunity for a free-agent driver.

    Anonymous - True, and for the most part Childress cars are better than cars at other organizations that might have an opening.

    Gene - Hopefully Childress is smarter than to bank his entire future on family. That usually doesn't work out so well.

  9. IF Bowyer were to leave, I'd either shutter the 33 team, or make it a part-time team and run 10-12 races a season. But IF Vickers can bring Red Bull on board the 33, then he's an appealing option. He'd be keeping the seat warm for one of the Dillon brothers, most likely Ty. As for Bowyer's landing spot, why NOT Home Depot go with him to Penske in the 12 car??

  10. jon_464 - The Vickers option would probably work, but don't expect that team to perform anywhere near what it has done with Bowyer.
    It would a coup for Penske to get both Bowyer and Home Depot.