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Bowyer rights ship at Dover with Nationwide win

Clint Bowyer was on a mission Saturday - to rejuvenate the Nationwide Series program of Richard Childress Racing's #29 Chevrolet.

Mission accomplished. After passing polesitter Kyle Busch for the lead on Lap 118 at Dover International Speedway, Bowyer led the final 83 laps of the Dover 200 and beat Mike Bliss to the finish line by 1.319 seconds to win his second Nationwide race of the season and the eighth of his career.

On a day that didn't fulfill the promise of rain until the race was over, Busch, who came home fourth and widened his series lead to 211 points over fifth-place finisher Carl Edwards, wasn't the lightning rod for controversy this time. That distinction went to third-place finisher Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin, who spun into the wall on Lap 190 after contact from Keselowski's Chevrolet.

After the race, Hamlin confronted Keselowski on pit road, but crew members broke up the shoving match before it could escalate.

Team owner Richard Childress asked Bowyer to replace Stephen Leicht in the #29 and run a three-race stretch starting at Dover to establish a baseline of consistency for the car. Bowyer, who won the Nationwide Series championship last year, has shared driving duties with Leicht and Jeff Burton this season.

"Stephen's a wonderful racecar driver - he's done a good job for us this year," Bowyer said. "This is tough times. We haven't been where we wanted to be with this car. We needed to get this car running better, and Dover is one of my best racetracks, so it is fitting for me to get in that car and race this race.

"I hated that he didn't get his chance, but he will. We need to get this thing running better for him, so he has an equal opportunity of developing as a young driver and showing his talent."

Bowyer's crew chief, Doug Randolph, said the team made adjustments to correct a tight handling condition in Bowyer's car during the first cycle of green-flag pit stops, and from that point on, Bowyer was the class of the field.

The incident between Keselowski and Hamlin brought out the fourth and final caution of the race. Keselowski was attempting to pass Hamlin to the inside when the contact occurred.

"Oh, the 88 (Keselowski), he just (stinks) real bad," Hamlin said after driving his damaged Toyota to the garage. "He just ran into us."

Keselowski countered after the race during a radio interview: "He cut us off. That's what he always does."

Hamlin heard the remark and asked, "Did you say I cut you off?"

Keselowski retorted, "You always do," and the drivers traded insults until Tony Eury Jr., who works with Keselowski's JR Motorsports team on which his father (Tony Eury Sr.) serves a crew chief, stepped in to defuse the situation.

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


Tagged as: Nationwide , Clint Bowyer

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Clint Bowyer [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the final round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS advances to the Champion 4 with his second place finish. Harvick is joined with Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet SS and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Pepsi Chevrolet SS to the Sprint Cup Series Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida next Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field onto pit road due to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, celebrates on pit road after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the crew of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet team celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(L-R) Team owner Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and crew chief Greg Ives celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(L-R) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, and crew chief Greg Ives celebrate in victory lane after winning the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(L-R) Amy Reimann celebrates with Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, in victory lane after Earnhardt won the rain-shortened NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 15, 2015 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday, November 15, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, qualifies for twelfth position Thursday, October 8, 2015 for Saturday`s first phase of the Contender 12 round of the Chase in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Earnhardt, Jr. joins five other Chevy drivers competing in the Contender 12.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to victory with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Plenti Chevrolet SS who finished in third place Sunday, October 4, 2015 in the final round of the Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware. Harvick and Earnhardt, Jr. will join four other Chevy drivers next weekend in the Contender 12 round of the Chase at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Clint Bowyer speaks with the media as Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, looks on during a press conference announcing the retirement of Stewart on September 30, 2015 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. Stewart has decided his 18th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be his last. The three-time series champion will retire following the 2016 season, whereupon Clint Bowyer will take the wheel of the No. 14 machine beginning in 2017. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Stewart-Haas Racing via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SYLVANIA 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 27, 2015 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Toyota, prepares to drive during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series myAFibRisk.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 18, 2015 in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 12, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 12, 2015 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back row L-R) Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, Paul Menard, driver of the #27 Libman/Menards Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, (front row L-R) Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 Cessna Chevrolet, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy/American Heritage Chocolate Toyota, Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, pose for a photo after making the Chase for the Sprint Cup. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in fifth place Saturday night, September 12, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Earnhardt, Jr. is in the Challenger 16 Round of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase which begins next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Nine Chevy drivers are in the Chase.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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