TALLADEGA — In the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega in April, Clint Bowyer lost a race by the closest margin in history — 0.002 seconds — to Jimmie Johnson.
After the race, he appeared physically down and out. Later in the season he ended up missing out on the Chase for the Sprint Cup, finishing just outside the group in 13th.
But in his triumphant return to Talladega on Sunday, Bowyer redeemed himself by stealing a victory from Jeff Burton in the final seconds of the Good Sam Club 500.
Bowyer had been pushing Burton, his teammate in the final lap.
“(Burton) worked so well with me all day long,” Bowyer said. “You hate that it comes down to that. It is what it is. You owe it to your team, to your sponsors to go out and win the race. Unfortunately it came down to that situation.”
Nearing the end of his contract with Richard Childress Racing, Bowyer handed Childress his 100th career win as a team owner. Bowyer said it was “meant to be.”
“It was a great win,” Childress said. “Once I saw the gap they had, Clint and Jeff, I knew there was going to be a move. They did what they were supposed to do. All of us hate it for Jeff, but when you’re in this business, you got to do what you got to do for yourself and the team. All of our RCR cars rave to give these fans a show. We didn’t sit back and ride till the last minute. Our cars ran all day long.”
Bowyer’s first race with RCR came in 2004. Just four more races remain before Childress loses Bowyer to Michael Waltrip’s team.
“It’s just so important to be able to cap off such a good relationship with Richard,” Bowyer said. “Everybody at RCR, it’s like family over there. Meant a lot for me to be able to win before we end this deal. The stars were lined up today.”
The win marked the first of the 2011 season for the 32-year-old Bowyer, who now has five all-time wins in 213 Sprint Cup races.
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