Clint Bowyer: Big Fish Released Into Free Agent Pond

Mr. and Mrs. Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer will be a free man at season’s end, making him arguably the biggest catch available in NASCAR’s free agent pond for 2016. To hear them tell it at the rumor mill, there are options a plenty for the 37-year old Kansan.

The good news for Bowyer? He’s proven. Clint Bowyer has 8 NSCS career victories in 348 races- that won’t get you in the conversation with the all-time greats, but that’s not chopped liver either. The former dirt tracker has also finished in the top 10 at season’s end four times.

Bowyer is also marketable. 5 Hour Energy was effusive in their praise of what the driver delivered for his sponsor. He was an excellent fit for their brand and he looked right at home hawking the pep elixir. Well known for his playful humor, he’s not a difficult driver to like.

In terms of destination, Clint Bowyer is said to have choices. Though there are mixed signals out there on his relationship with soon-to-be Michael Waltrip Racing benefactor Rob Kauffman, there is word a third team will surface at Kauffman’s new playground, Chip Ganassi Racing. If not there, it’s well known Furniture Row Racing would like to expand to two teams if sponsorship dollars can be found. There’s also Richard Petty Motorsports and word that The King may part with Sam Hornish Jr. You can’t even rule out the notion of Tony Stewart hanging up his helmet and offering Bowyer his ride.

On the downside, there is still a lingering stench from “Spingate.” You do wonder what pairing Clint Bowyer with Martin Truex would be like, considering the shenanigans by Bowyer’s team meant to allegedly aid Truex, ultimately led to the demise of Truex with MWR. Of course, who would have thought Stewart and Kurt Busch would one day be teammates. Heck, for that matter, Bowyer once called his current boss the worst driver in NASCAR.

Unlike current teammate David Ragan, the question is not “if,” but “where” Clint Bowyer finds a ride. Worse than Ragan’s situation is what will happen for the small army of people you rarely or never hear about at MWR who soldiered on throughout a long, strange trip through illegal fuel additives, the coming and going of Dale Jarrett, and a whole host of issues that come with having the name Michael Waltrip associated with your organization.

If I were a betting man, I’d put my money on a move to Ganassi once all of this settles out. If not there, it would sure seem like Petty is the next likely choice. I still wouldn’t rule out a move to Stewart-Haas. Stranger things have happened… Clint Bowyer signing with Michael Waltrip Racing.