Bowyer calls NASCAR qualifying ‘a joke’ after being knocked out in round one at Texas Motor Speedway; NASCAR reacts to comments from Clint Bowyer
Clint Bowyer: “I’ll be damned if the first time that a guy clogs the middle, they don’t call it. Discretionary!”
Two weeks ago, a parking lot formed at the end of the pit lane. All lanes were blocked. The field waited long enough to leave pit road in round three that no time made it to the line in time to start a lap.
Ahead of Texas Motor Speedway NASCAR introduced new qualifying rules. The middle lane could not be blocked. The rules said that if a driver entered that lane, he had to continue onto the race track.
On the outside and inside line, NASCAR introduced staging areas. Ryan Newman was on the inside staging lane. He pulled to the middle and Clint Bowyer followed him.
Newman then rejoined the staging line. With 2 minutes and 12 seconds remaining in round one of qualifying, Bowyer was stuck behind Newman in the middle lane.
Bowyer was now stuck in the no parking zone. But, the only reason he was there to begin with was to follow Newman to the pit exit. Once Newman returned to the staging area, Bowyer had to go to the track or face a penalty.
The rules say that’s suppose to be a penalty for Ryan Newman. But, Newman wasn’t called on it. And the reason for that is because NASCAR told Newman to pull forward.
Bowyer ended up 25th in round one and failed to advance into round two. In his mind, Newman should have been penalized, with his time revoked. Which would have placed Bowyer into round two.
Clint Bowyer comments on NASCAR qualifying at Texas Motor Speedway
Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief for Clint Bowyer walked down the pit lane an climbed on top of the pit wall. He had a discussion with NASCAR official David Green. Clint Bowyer then joined the conversation after climbing from his car.
“Who the hell knows. They can say whatever they want to say,” Clint Bowyer responds when asked by FOX Sports about his conversation with the NASCAR official.
“The lesson was supposed to be learned in California when we made ourselves look like idiots out there. Unfortunately, we’re standing here again in the same situation.”
“You’re literally reading the rulebook to try to figure out the regulations they put in place for qualifying. I’m pissed off on qualifying.”
“We’ve been doing this for years and years. This is stupid.”
The qualifying format wasn’t changed. But, the rules package was. That has created a scenario where drafting comes into play for qualifying at tracks larger than 1-mile. No drivers wants to be the first car off the pit lane and lead that draft, thus the waiting game at the end of the pit lane.
“Did that look like clogging the middle to you? I damn near had to backup to go. It says really clearly in lawyers terms that you can’t clog the middle.”
“I’ll be damned if the first time that a guy clogs the middle, they don’t call it. Discretionary!”
Alex Bowman incident in qualifying
“Then, the next time you go out there to try to make a lap and the guy wrecks. So, it puts you in a situation like we had in California. Do I finish this lap? Because, that’s a rule. You’re not suppose to finish a lap. The field is frozen.”
Alex Bowman hit the wall with under 5 minutes remaining in round one. Most of the field was on the track at this point. Everyone completed at least one lap.
“Then, you’re hear venting and just pissed off for no reason. It’s just stupid.”
“Anyway, I’m going to go back and pout. But, this is the second time that we’ve done this and I’ve been bit by it.”
“I’m tired of it. This is a fail. An epic failure.”
NASCAR reacts to Clint Bowyer regarding qualifying rules
“I’m going to assume that he thought the 6 was going out to qualify. And he didn’t,” Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Managing Director Jay Fabian said of Bowyer.
“He [Newman] was just following what we told him to do.”
NASCAR has radio communication to all drivers. According to Fabian they instructed Newman to pull forward when he was at the back of the line. That’s why he entered the middle lane.
“He [Bowyer] followed the 6 car that he thought was going out to make a run, and he didn’t. He stopped, we asked him to move up. That’s what happened.”
“There’s plenty of TV views that show that there was room to go by him. I’m sure he’s upset.”