Thursday, 19 September 2019

NASCAR Cup Series: Will Clint Bowyer return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2020? – Beyond the Flag

NASCAR Cup Series: Will Clint Bowyer return to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2020? – Beyond the Flag
07 Sep

Clint Bowyer has not yet been confirmed at Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. Will he return to the team next year?

Clint Bowyer took over for Tony Stewart behind the wheel of the #14 Chevrolet-turned-Ford at Stewart-Haas Racing ahead of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, and he has driven for the team ever since.

However, there is still no confirmation as to whether or not Bowyer will be back next year for what would be his fourth consecutive season behind the wheel of the #14 Ford next year.

The 40-year-old Emporia, Kansas native has only won two races in 97 starts for Stewart-Haas Racing, and one of these victories came as a result of a pit strategy call that his team made before the skies opened up and rained out the remainder of the race.

Bowyer currently sits in 15th place in the championship standings with one race remaining in the 26-race 2019 regular season, and he is very much at risk of failing to qualify for the playoffs for the second time in his three seasons driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, as he sits just eight points above the playoff cut line.

Will Bowyer return to Stewart-Haas Racing next year, or will they replace him after his third season with the hope of replacing him with somebody who is more likely to be a regular race winner and perhaps even a championship contender?

As has been well-documented in several other speculation articles about anything to do with Stewart-Haas Racing, their four-driver lineup has not remained the same from season to season since between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

With Cole Custer more than ready to make the jump from the Stewart Haas-Racing Xfinity Series team to the Cup Series, Bowyer has justifiably found himself on the hot seat. After all, Custer is just 21 years old, barely half of Bowyer’s age, and the upside of adding him to their Cup Series team is tremendous.

But don’t expect Stewart-Haas Racing to cut ties with Bowyer just yet.

Earlier this summer, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that Bowyer is “expected” to return to the team in the 2020 season.

Additional reports and speculation that came out after Stern revealed this back this up.

Stewart-Haas Racing have been rumored to form a technical alliance with Go Fas Racing because the 2020 season is slated to be the final season before the Gen-7 Cup Series chassis and body are introduced. As a result, they could jettison some of their cars to the team due to the extra inventory that they expect to have.

This would provide a landing spot for Custer at the Cup level, and it would do so without forcing the team to alter their current four-driver lineup.

Of course, there is still the possibility that they could look to sign Matt DiBenedetto as well, but that would likely be to their Xfinity Series team assuming Custer moves up to the Cup Series and vacates the #00 Ford. To add to that, there is no official word that the team are even considering DiBenedetto at this point, although it would make sense if they are.

With all things considered, Bowyer appears to be safe at Stewart-Haas Racing for at least another year.

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Will Clint Bowyer return for what would be his fourth consecutive year driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season? If not, where will he end up, and who will replace him behind the wheel of the #14 Ford?



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