Clint Bowyer Finally Makes it Back to Victory Lane at Martinsville Speedway
Clint Bowyer wins the 2018 STP 500, breaking his 190 race winless streak.
Finding a NASCAR fan that doesn’t appreciate Clint Bowyer’s personality will prove to be a difficult challenge. Everyone loves Clint Bowyer—everyone. At least, it seems that way.
When Bowyer captured the checkered flag for the weather-delayed Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway, it seemed as if every NASCAR fan let out a sigh of relief. You see, Bowyer had not crossed the finish line in first place in 190 races. If you are trying to figure out how long that is, well, with 36 races a year, that’s over five years of racing without a win. Bowyer has experienced his fair share of ups and downs, but to claim fame to such a long, winless streak isn’t fair to one of NASCAR’s most captivating personalities.
The race at Martinsville was very tame. All the bump and run we have come to expect at the “half-mile of mayhem” was missing. There were just two memorable battles all day. Ryan Newman seemingly gave Erik Jones a taste of why most NASCAR drivers consider him one of the hardest drivers to pass on the track. And of course, there was the “classy” battle between Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick.
Last year, it was Hamlin and Chase Elliott that danced around the Paper Clip shaped track that led to their infamous and much-publicized dust-up. Hamlin put a bumper to the back of Elliott who then spun out and wrecked as they raced for the win. This time, it was Hamlin and Harvick who battled.
“Bumping” and “brake-checking” is how Hamlin described his battle with Harvick during the STP 500. For onlookers, it looked more like frustration had set in. During a post-race press conference at Martinsville, Hamlin said, “He [Harvick] just got to me and I think bumped me three or four times. And then I was just bumping him back and he brake-checked me. I guess I probably shouldn’t have brake-checked him in the first place. They were just light bumps here and then he just slammed on the brakes. So, classy.”
The STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Race at Martinsville Speedway Results:
(Position Finished, Driver, Manufacturer, Laps Completed)
1. Clint Bowyer, Ford, 500, led 215 laps
2 Kyle Busch, Toyota, 500, led 24 laps
3 Ryan Blaney, Ford, 500, led 145 laps
4. Martin Truex, Jr., Toyota, 500, led 4 laps
5. Kevin Harvick, Ford, 500
6. Joey Logano, Ford, 500
7. Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 500
8. AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 500
9. Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 500
10. Brad Keselowski, Ford, 500, led 1 lap
11. Kurt Busch, Ford, 500
12. Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500, led 111 laps
13. Paul Menard, Ford, 500
14. Aric Almirola, Ford, 500
15. Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 499
16. Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 499
17. Erik Jones, Toyota, 497
18. Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 497
19. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 497
20. William Byron, Chevrolet, 497
21. Michael McDowell, Ford, 497
22. Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 496
23. Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 496
24. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 496
25. David Ragan, Ford, 495
26. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 495
27. Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 493
28. D.J. Kennington, Chevrolet, 493
30. Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 493
31. J.J. Yeley, Chevrolet, 493
32. Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 488
33. Trevor Bayne, Ford, 486
34. Darrell Wallace, Jr., Chevrolet, 486
35. Harrison Rhodes, Chevrolet, 482
36. Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 481
37. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Ford, 481
38. Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 211
Kyle Busch scored yet another second-place finish for the third time in the last four races, and Ryan Blaney did lead 145 laps at Martinsville, but the day belonged to Bowyer. Weather may have postponed the Cup race at Martinsville Speedway until Monday, and the on-the-track action may be viewed by many short-track fans as lackluster, but it was well worth the wait—if only to see Bowyer’s post-race celebrations.