Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Will Bowyer be better at Michael Waltrip Racing?

One of the final major pieces of the 2011 Silly Season fell in place last week when Clint Bowyer finally announced he will be moving to the #15 Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012.

But, is this a good move for Bowyer?

Ever since Bowyer broke into the Sprint Cup Series with Richard Childress Racing in 2006, he has been a fringe contender for the Chase. Some years he squeaks in and makes it, other years he misses by just a few points.

This year he missed by just a few points, but Childress couldn’t put together a sponsorship deal to keep Bowyer in the #33 so Bowyer will try his hand as the third car at Michael Waltrip Racing.

On the surface this looks like a win-win situation for everybody. Waltrip gets a high-profile driver that has consistently finished better than his current two drivers, David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr, and Bowyer gets a fresh start after several up-and-down years for Richard Childress Racing.

However, people who think Bowyer is instantly going to be as much of a Chase contender next year as he has been in the past need to temper their enthusiasm. Just because he’s helping an organization expand and has full sponsorship doesn’t mean he’s going to succeed. Just ask Truex Jr.

The driver of the #56 car hasn’t won a race since joining MWR in 2010 and finished 22nd in the points standings.

Michael Waltrip Racing is still a young organization and growing each year, but this isn’t a group that has consistently won. In fact, it has hardly won at all.

Reutimann won at Chicago in 2010, but his best points finish was 16th in 2009. He and Truex Jr. are currently 28th and 22nd in the standings, respectively.

So, Bowyer is leaving an organization that has won 10 times in the past two years and had drivers contend for the championship to a team that has won one race in the past two years and has yet to put a team in the Chase.

Sure, it’s nice to think Bowyer will help raise the performance level at MWR, but many people hailed Truex Jr.’s move to the #56 in the same way. Granted, Bowyer has had more success in his career than Truex Jr., but it is going to be an uphill climb for the new #15 team.

Bowyer may have had to move because Childress couldn’t field a car for him next year, but he and the #15 have a lot of work to do just to maintain the performance Bowyer had at RCR.


  1. I'm not concerned with Bowyer's ability to drive. I am concerned with the ability of MWR to put a car under him that can compete.

    Bowyer basically got thrown under the bus at RCR due to not being "family".

  2. Anonymous - I would agree. Jeff Gordon gave Bowyer rave reviews the other day and said he was shocked RCR didn't keep Bowyer.