Stewart, Bowyer frustrated after Michigan “debris” caution leads to crashes

Michael L. Levitt/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Some fans of the sport may have been happy with the debris caution that led to a slew of late restarts at Michigan International Speedway.

As for Stewart-Haas Racing owner Tony Stewart and driver Clint Bowyer, they’re having none of it.

The Ford organization appeared poised for a potential top 10 run with Bowyer when reports of debris yielded a yellow flag on Lap 180 of Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400. However, that one caution flag proved dooming for both Bowyer and teammate Danica Patrick when it led to multiple restarts.

Bowyer was the first – and angriest – victim of the two, seeing his day ruined by a trip into the Turn 2 wall when the field went back under green-flag conditions on Lap 187.

His car battered, Bowyer went on an angry tirade over his in-car radio.

“**** you NASCAR and your ****ing debris caution,” Bowyer yelled at the time.

Given time to compose himself, the Emporia, Kansas native chocked his loss up to hard racing.

“We were sitting there seventh with 20 laps to go reeling them in thinking this was our day, and then a debris caution forces a restart,” Bowyer said. “Restarts are the only times you can pass, so everyone was racing hard, and I got into the wall. It killed our day.”

Bowyer’s crash led to a 26th-place finish, knocking the 38-year-old out of the current playoff field. He now trails bubble drivers Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth by seven points.

The crash also set up Patrick for trouble.

On the ensuing Lap 191 restart, Patrick was running mid-pack when a stack up behind Pocono Raceway winner Ryan Blaney led to a crash. Rookie Daniel Suarez was sent spinning towards the lower lane, directly into Patrick.

With nowhere to go, Patrick collided with Suarez, sending the Roscoe, Illinois native careening into the inside wall. She emerged from her car unhurt, but was left with a 37th-place result.

“That was an unfortunate way to end what had been a promising weekend for the TaxAct Ford team. I knew when there was a caution with about 15 laps to go that there would end up being another one. I had a good run and went for it and just got hit.”

While both of his effected drivers were able to find composure after the race, Stewart took to social media to vent his frustrations with what turned out to be a costly final 20 laps.

Stewart tweeted: “It’s a shame that so many drivers and teams day was ruined by the results of another “debris” caution towards the end of the race today.”

In response to a fan, Stewart later clarified that his remarks, saying he was “referring to ALL of the teams that had the end of their race ruined, not just mine. It’s frustrating to watch.”

SHR’s other two drivers – Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch – rallied back from starting at the tail-end of the field for unapproved body modifications to score finishes of 12th and 14th, respectively.

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