Bowyer still hanging around as dark horse in Chase
Clint Bowyer has been flying under the radar ever since his Chase-opening win at New Hampshire. If Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson stumble down the stretch, keep an eye on the 07, writes John Schwarb.
Updated: November 2, 2007, 10:33 AM ETBy John Schwarb | Special to ESPN.com
START YOUR ENGINES
Depending on how you like your NASCAR championship battles, this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup is shaping up to be either a classic or somewhat of a letdown.
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GOING THE WRONG WAY
SHOWING SOME LOVE FOR
In other words, It's all on Clint Bowyer.The second-year Richard Childress Racing driver was seeded at the bottom of the 12-man Chase field by virtue of a winless regular season, but won the first race at New Hampshire and was second two weeks later at Kansas to put himself firmly in the championship discussion, in third place. Since his home-state race, he has finished no worse than 11th and has added another second (Charlotte), but behind the torrid Hendrick pace he has slipped to 111 points back of leader Gordon and 102 behind Johnson. Still in third, but with work to do."What we have to do is keep digging," Bowyer said after a sixth-place day at Atlanta. "We can't give up, we didn't give up [Sunday] and we won't give up."Nor should he as the Chase turns to Texas Motor Speedway, one of the rare tracks where Gordon and Johnson do not have their names all over the winners' log. Neither has won on the high-banked 1.5-mile oval.Johnson's Texas history is nothing poor, with six top-10s in eight starts, but he did crash out in 38th place in the spring race. Gordon was fourth in the spring and ninth in last year's Dickies 500, but his 15.8 average finish ranks Texas among his least-successful tracks."I've always loved the facility, but it's been hit-or-miss for us," Gordon said. "We've been close to victory the past couple of times, but for whatever crazy reason -- whether it's an electrical problem while leading or me smacking the wall off Turn 4 while leading -- we just haven't won."Bowyer actually has won at Texas -- in the Craftsman Truck Series last year. Hey, at least it's something to build on while trying to make this Chase a three-man fight.