[media-credit name=”Barry Albert” align=”alignright” width=”246″][/media-credit]Clint Bowyer wasn’t supposed to win at Richmond in May of 2008. Sometimes though, things just fall into a driver’s lap and on that night it was Bowyer’s turn.
The Richard Childress Racing driver had just won his second career race and it was a weight lifted off his shoulders. While many say once the first win has been checked off the rest will come easy. But that’s not always the case as there’s pressure and need to win again in order to show the first one wasn’t a fluke.
“Well, that was probably the biggest thing and to be honest with you, it was a surprise,” said Bowyer on Tuesday afternoon about his Richmond victory. “Kyle got into Dale Jr. and it opened the door up for me to win that race. Usually I don’t ever get one – that was the first race that I would say that I got handed to me.”
“Usually, you know, you have a good feeling throughout the race, you have a good feeling the night before,” he continued. “You were faster than the field, with 30 to go you were maybe a second ahead and that’s how the normal win happens. You feel it, you know it, and you make it happen.”
Such as Bowyer did in 2007 at New Hampshire. After qualifying for the Chase without winning a race, he dominated the first Chase race. He led 222 of 300 laps on his way to his first career win. In September of 2010 Bowyer again said he had that feeling as went out and won after leading 177 of 300 laps.
“That one  was just completely shocked me, and it was out of the blue, and it was one that was so much fun to celebrate because it was such a surprise.”
As Bowyer celebrated others were left standing with their jaws dropped and arms outstretched. Wondering what had just happened.
After leading 381 of 400 laps it appeared that just as quickly as he had things in control, Denny Hamlin was taken out of contention. Dale Earnhardt Jr. inherited the lead with 20 laps to go before his shot at victory was also taken away. It wasn’t from a deflated tire like Hamlin, it was his from the front bumper of Hamlin’s teammate Kyle Busch.
That’s where Bowyer entered the picture. He snuck past the carnage left by Earnhardt Jr. and Busch in turn three as the caution came out. He then ended up in victory lane after a green-white-checkered finish.
While Bowyer calls the win shocking, in a way it wasn’t. For one thing his Chevrolet had been fast all evening. Richmond is also one of Bowyer’s favorite racetracks and for good reason. One year before winning the Cup race, he celebrated after winning the 2007 Nationwide Series race at RIR, giving him victories at the track in NASCAR top two series.
In 10 Cup starts Bowyer has an average finish of 9.8 with the aforementioned win and 57 laps led. He also holds the title of starting the furthest back in the field and winning, 31st, and has a driver rating of 96.6 at the track.
Should he win again maybe fans will remember it this time. The fireworks following the Busch and Earnhardt Jr. accident have some forgetting there even was a winner in 2008. Instead extra security was being called for Busch who from that day forward became public enemy No. 1 for Junior Nation. Hamlin was left explaining to NASCAR why he stopped on track to being out the caution.
Bowyer’s win that night was just a blip on the radar but wouldn’t be this time around. This weekend BB&T, whom ironically were on the car for both his Richmond wins, will be his primary sponsor in the Matthew & Daniel Hensen 400. He would love to steal another victory, which would be his first of the 2011 season after finishing second the last two weeks.
And as far as Bowyer is concerned whether or not his 2008 win was overshadowed or not makes no difference to him.
“I don’t care,” he said laughing. “I don’t know if it is or isn’t. I darn sure don’t care though. I know where that trophy is at and that’s the main goal there.”