Defiant Bowyer says he ‘wouldn’t cheat’
DOVER, Del. — Clint Bowyer’s car flunked inspection and few around the garage are buying his alibi.
Bowyer is sticking to his story.
He gave a defiant defense of his Chase-opening victory yesterday, saying he “wouldn’t cheat’’ to win a race after his car failed a follow-up inspection. If anything should be blamed for the infraction, he told reporters, it’s a tow truck.
“We have a lot more integrity for myself and our race team at RCR,’’ Bowyer said.
Richard Childress, his owner, was united with his driver in blaming a wrecker for wrecking Bowyer’s championship run. The defense: The wrecker hit the rear bumper when it pushed the No. 33 car into the winner’s circle at New Hampshire.
Bowyer said he’s looking for answers about why NASCAR levied harsh penalties against him that crippled his chances at winning the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Bowyer was penalized 150 points after Sunday’s win at New Hampshire and fell from second to 12th in the standings, though he is appealing the ruling.
NASCAR also fined crew chief Shane Wilson $150,000 and suspended him for six Sprint Cup races, car chief Chad Haney was suspended six races and Childress was docked 150 owner points. Wilson was at the track yesterday because the penalties are under appeal, set for next week.
Bowyer said his team was “triple sure’’ his car was legal after receiving a warning following the previous race at Richmond.
Other drivers weren’t so sure.
Points leader Denny Hamlin, who starts fourth tomorrow at Dover, blasted Bowyer’s illegal car. Hamlin was runner-up last week and said he knew he had “the fastest legal car,’’ and that there was no way the push of a tow truck could flunk a car at inspection, especially considering the beating it takes over several hundred grueling miles of racing.
“They’re just trying to salvage their season basically, and they’re going to do everything they can,’’ said Hamlin, who has a 45-point lead over Kevin Harvick — instead of Bowyer — for second with nine races left in the Chase.