Clint Bowyer has conceded that his NASCAR Sprint Cup championship hopes are gone after two Chase races despite a final appeal pending on his penalties from Loudon.
The Richard Childress racer heads into his home race at Kansas this weekend already 235 points off Chase leader Denny Hamlin, following a 150-point penalty after his winning car from the play-off opener was deemed illegal in a thorough inspection carried out by NASCAR.
Last Wednesday his team appealed the penalties handed to Bowyer but the panel that heard RCR's defence dismissed their arguments, upholding the initial penalties. Bowyer says he was not expecting a positive outcome from the appeal and now vows to put the issue behind him. He admits that the controversy got to him last week at Dover, where he had an erratic outing that ended with just a 25th-place finish.
"I'm very disappointed, not surprised at all," said Bowyer about the negative outcome of his case's appeal. "I'll just leave it at that. I'm looking forward to getting that behind me. This is an important weekend.
"I made some mistakes on the track last week that were uncharacteristic of myself, we made some mistakes as a team that were uncharacteristic and our heads weren't 100 percent in the game. I don't want this mess to bother us anymore. I'm at my home track, I'm having fun and that's what I aim to do."
Bowyer is not holding out any hope for a final appeal that will be heard next Tuesday by National Stock Car Racing chief appellate officer John Middlebrook. He believes his focus now has to shift to helping his RCR teammates Kevin Harvick and Jeff Burton, who both have better chances of contending for the title.
"I think the championship hopes are done for myself," Bowyer said. "The thing that I have to do is be the best teammate I can be. We have to bring a championship home. We still have two shots at that, but for myself and our race team, I've never finished out of the top-five in the Chase and I want to continue that streak and want to continue that consistency in the Chase and I think that's an attainable goal."
Harvick and Hamlin rank fifth and seventh in the Chase standings after two races, both less than 80 points behind leader Hamlin.