Team owner Richard Childress says he regrets that Clint Bowyer is leaving his squad as he all but confirmed that financial reasons caused their split.
Bowyer announced last week that he will join Michael Waltrip Racing for the next three years after agreeing to a deal with the Toyota team and sponsor 5-Hour Energy. When speaking about his deal, Bowyer said he tried to get his sponsor to be part of a new deal that had been in the works with RCR for months, but that negotiations hit a stumbling block.
At Charlotte Motor Speedway ahead of this weekend's race, Childress said the team had a car fully sponsored for Bowyer to run but admitted they could not agree on financial terms. However, he left the door open to Bowyer returning with his team sometime in the future. Childress gave the former Nationwide Series champion his break in NASCAR back in 2004.
"We knew what our financial model was and Clint knew where he needed to be and we just couldn't ever come together to make it work," Childress said. "We had the car completely sponsored but it just didn't really work out and I'm very sad that it didn't because I really like Clint. He's going to be a great driver. Never say never; hopefully he will be back some day at RCR."
Following Bowyer's departure, the squad is expected to downsize its operation back to three full-time cars again, with a fourth one being fielded at some events for RCR protégé and Camping World Truck Series leader Austin Dillon, who made his Sprint Cup debut at Kansas last week. However Childress did not completely rule out making further use of his fourth entry.
"Right now we're looking at three Cup cars with an occasional Cup race," he said. "Who knows what may come up between now and then? I've had offers to race people and race drivers and had another full sponsorship with a driver; I just want to make sure it's the right move when we make it. So we're still, as of right now, three Cup teams."
He added: "I'm sure if we don't have a team we may stick Austin in another car one or two times. We've got a couple of other people who said, 'Hey, we want to run.' If we see it's the right opportunity for a change that we can test something or look at a driver or something we may do that."
Bowyer has scored the most points this season out of those not in the Chase, outperforming many of the title contenders in the past four races and coming close to victory three weeks ago at Loudon.