Clint Bowyer, one of the most popular drivers on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit, will retire from his No. 14 NASCAR vehicle at the end of the 2020 season. His retirement, announced last week, continues the stock car racing industry's shifting of the guard.
Bowyer, who has won five races during his seven-year career, finished sixth in the 2020 driver championship standings. He has more than $9 million in winnings over that time period.
After winning the first race of his career back in 2002, Bowyer went on to become one of the top contenders in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has four top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in a #14 Chevrolet across all three of its seasons with him at the wheel. He also has two pole positions to show for his efforts.
Bowyer's departure leaves only three remaining members of the "Big Three" of NASCAR (along with Richard Petty and Donnie Jones). The sport is now dominated by just a few teams and drivers. Ryan Newman is the only other driver with multiple wins (three), and he's one of only two men with more than one victory (Petty is the other). Kevin Harvick leads the league in points with 2,857 while Ryan Blaney is second with 2,722 points.
Clint Bowyer will leave NASCAR at the end of the 2020 season due to the possibility to work for Fox. Bowyer claimed on Tuesday that if Fox hadn't given him a spot in their NASCAR booth with Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon, he'd still be driving next season. However, Fox announced last week that they had hired three new members of their crew: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.
Bowyer made his NASCAR debut in 2001 and over the course of his career has won five races. He's also been involved in several incidents that have ended up causing multiple race suspensions. In 2015, he was suspended for six races after hitting Tony Stewart with his car outside of turn 3 at Richmond International Raceway. Two years later, he was again suspended for six races after hitting Stewart with his car again this time at Kansas Speedway. During both of those incidents, Bowyer broke down crying in pain and humiliation from being hit by other drivers.
He told The Associated Press that he quit because he couldn't take the risk of getting into more accidents that could result in further suspensions. "I've been suspended long enough," he said. "I think it's best for me to stop driving while I try to figure things out."
Bowyer is one of many drivers who have left or are thinking about leaving NASCAR because of the number of accidents they know they'll get in.
Clint Bowyer has announced his retirement from full-time NASCAR Cup Series participation after the 2020 season. He'll be taking over the Fox booth next year.
He is the second driver to announce their retirement this year after Dale Earnhardt Jr. At first, it was believed that Bowyer was retiring too, but now it's confirmed he will not compete anymore. His contract with Fox ends after this season.
He finished fifth in the championship standings in 2019 despite missing four races due to injury. Before his injuries, he had three top-five finishes and six top-10s in 10 starts at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bowyer made his NASCAR debut in 2001 as a rookie driver for Michael Waltrip Racing. He went on to win five times throughout his career with two different teams. In 2010, he returned to MWR where he remained until 2015 when he moved to Furniture Row Racing. There he won another five races before leaving FUR for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017. There he stayed for one season before moving back to FRR for the 2019 season. Overall, he has two victories, seven top-five finishes, and 19 top-10s in 226 races across both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series.
Clint Bowyer will retire from the NASCAR Cup Series and join the Fox broadcast team beginning with the 2021 season. The announcement was made on Friday by Fox Sports.
Bowyer, who has won five races during his nine-year career, finished 14th in this year's championship race. He is the second driver to announce his retirement this season after Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced his departure at the end of 2020.
"I have had an incredible career in NASCAR that has included 594 races over 17 seasons," Bowyer said in a statement. "I want to thank all my fans for your support over the years. It has been an honor to wear the #20 Mobil 1 Chevrolet across all types of tracks everywhere in the world."
Bowyer, who is from Mooresville, North Carolina, started out in 2001-2003 working part-time as a spotter before becoming a crew chief in 2004 when he helped guide Michael Waltrip to victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He returned to being a driver in 2005 and has been there ever since. He has one win, two poles, and eight top 10s so far in the playoffs.
Bowyer's departure marks the fifth year in a row that Stewart-Haas Racing has changed their driver roster between seasons. Kevin Harvick and Aric Almirola are also signed for next season, with rookie Cole Custer also expected to return. The only certainty is that Bowyer's replacement will be an outsider.
During Bowyer's tenure at SHR, he has won five races and finished among the top 10 in the standings each year except for 2014 when he was fired after being accused of assaulting his ex-wife. He has also been involved in several controversies during his time at SHR, most notably when he was suspended by NASCAR for two years for violating its drug policy. When he returned in 2016, he was hired as a part-time driver rather than returning to full-time status which prompted him to leave the team again a month later.
He was then replaced this past season by Christopher Bell who drove in three races before being replaced by Ryan Newman who had been released by Chip Ganassi Racing after that team failed to qualify for the playoffs. Newman was replaced by Daniel Suarez after one race. Before the start of the season, it was announced that Bowyer would be returning to the team for another season.
Their current driver lineup for 2020 is Harvick, Almirola, Custer and William Byron who is replacing Bowyer for a second consecutive season.