You heard him say it. Sure he was angry and it’s not true – Waltrip did win two Daytona 500s after all – but it definitely adds an uncomfortable element to the Clint Bowyer to Michael Waltrip Racing rumors. Strange bedfellows?
We often say around here not to burn bridges – the community is too small and you never know when you might need someone’s help. While that’s especially true for crew members and other team employees, it also applies to drivers.
Beyond the obvious awkwardness, Bowyer generally finds himself in a very difficult spot.
In a year where a driver like Greg Biffle acknowledged he took a cut in pay with his new contract, Bowyer, according to some reports, was asking for as much as $7 million a year and helicopter rides to the track. While that may not quite be the case, we keep hearing the number is high. It’s no wonder he hasn’t locked anything down.
Even with sponsorship from 5 Hour Energy, a deal rumored to be just a partial season, Bowyer’s position isn’t a whole lot better. I think what we’re seeing is Bowyer without any really good option left, looking for a team willing to take a chance that it can close the gap. Enter Michael Waltrip Racing.
If all goes according to plan it looks like Bowyer will make the move. In reality the team represents a step down from RCR. In five full NASCAR Cup seasons MWR has just two wins and has firmly cemented itself as a weekly field filler with performance that can best be described as mediocre.
To Bowyer’s credit, he represents the hope and aspirations of an organization that has struggled through the years. Is he the answer for MWR? Only time will tell.
But what about that comment?
Even Denny Hamlin jokingly asked Waltrip about it last night on Inside NASCAR. An awkward exchange ensued where Waltrip half-laughing pointed out that Bowyer called him the worst NASCAR driver EVER. Yikes.
Obviously this is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things. And with the right amount of money, anybody can get over anything. I suppose it’s not like Bowyer called Waltrip the worst owner in NASCAR ever. That might have been unforgivable.