Clint Bowyer is having to look around for a new NASCAR Sprint Cup seat for 2012 as his options dramatically narrowed this week.
Last week it seemed clear that negotiations between Bowyer
and his current team Richard Childress Racing had all but ground to a half, with a big gap in financial terms thought to be at the heart of the problem.
Richard Petty Motorsports had earlier made public that it had made an offer for Bowyer's services, but on Tuesday this offer was suddenly pulled by RPM when team owner Andrew Murstein confirmed that the team had decided to go in another direction. He said that they were no longer in discussions with Bowyer and wanted to stick with current driver line-up Marcos Ambrose and AJ Allmendinger.
"We just feel that RPM is in a great place today, especially how far we have come since last year. Both Marcos and AJ are not only having career years, but they are both moving in the right directions and improving," Murstein told FOXSports.com
. "Marcos has won his first Sprint Cup race and followed it up with another win in Nationwide. AJ's numbers speak for themselves ... He is actually ahead of Clint in the standings."
Roush Fenway Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing had also been thought to be interested in Bowyer, but the Roush option seemed to close once Carl Edwards re-signed in the #99 and JGR's president JD Gibbs said that while Bowyer would be a great addition to the JGR team, finding sponsorship for an extra car would be problematic.
Bowyer was seen touring the facilities of Michael Waltrip Racing on Thursday, which might indicate the team is considering a third car alongside existing drivers David Reutimann and Martin Truex Jr.
"I can confirm we have had very productive conversations with Clint and a quality sponsor," said Watrip in a team statement. "Today, however, we don't have anything finalized and we're not in a position to make any formal announcements ... As soon as we have more information to share, we will."
Menard denies team orders
Speculation has surrounded the late-race spin by Paul Menard at Richmond last Saturday
, which ended up helping his Richard Childress Racing team mate Kevin Harvick take the lead after the ensuing pit stops, and ultimately the win over Jeff Gordon, who had been leading before the yellows.
"I thought it was interesting when I saw a Childress car sitting down this in the grass," Gordon had commented on the night, after the caution on lap 384 thwarted his attempt to build up a lead in the final minutes of the race.