New Chapter Ahead: Clint Bowyer Ready to Fill Tony Stewart’s Big Shoes

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By Yvonne Jones, Staff Writer

The 2017 season can’t come soon enough for Clint Bowyer.

After enduring a rough one-year stint with HScott Motorsports, the 37-year-old Kansas native says he is looking forward to taking over Tony Stewart’s ride at Stewart-Haas Racing.

“Seeing emails from SHR and click it open it’s already starting to be samples of merchandise to look at and stuff like that for next year,” Bowyer said. “It’s starting to become reality.”

“It definitely gets you pumped up and excited.”

Bowyer hit career lows this season in several categories: top 10s (3), average finish (23.61) and final standings (27th) with the small team. He said knowing “what his future holds” helped him get through 2016, which ended with a 23rd-place finish at Homestead.

For his career, Bowyer has eight victories and has finished the season top 10 in points five times, including runner-up in 2012.

So he feels ready to fill the big shoes left behind by the three-time champ.

“To be able to be the person that’s gonna take over his seat it’s just a dream come true, you know,” said Bowyer, who will pilot the No. 14 car vacated by driver-owner Stewart.

“It’s an awesome situation … a dream come true.”

Bowyer said he had been trying for a while to line up an opportunity like this but ‘contracts and everything else just never aligned with one another.’ Then after his previous team, Michael Waltrip Racing, closed its doors last season, the plan came together.

While Bowyer makes the transition to a new team, SHR switches from Chevy to Ford. He is already familiar with Kevin Harvick from their days at Richard Childress Racing.

“It’s just a great outfit over there,” Bowyer said. “Everybody from the top to the bottom; the teammates, you know I’ve worked with Kevin (Harvick) for many years.

“Looking forward to Kurt (Busch); Kurt is the one I’d never really known a lot about. I’ve always raced against him but never worked with him in any way shape or form. Danica (Patrick) I’m closer to her than probably some of the others.”

Harvick calls Bowyer a great racecar driver and says he will mesh right in.

“Clint and I are great friends and I think that will help fill that and hopefully make us stronger with having Tony paying attention more on the ownership side and Clint in there driving so you won’t have two completely empty spots,” Harvick said.

“Clint fits the mold of what Stewart-Haas racing is all about. It’s very blue-collar racing-oriented company.”

Bowyer can’t wait to join a strong SHR stable with two former champions.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

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