Clint Bowyer frustrated over late debris cautions at Dover

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Already annoyed by having played a role in an earlier incident that took out Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer was further agitated by what he saw as an unnecessary debris caution with six laps remaining in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver had pitted for two tires under an earlier caution at Lap 361 and was homing in on Brad Keselowski for third when the debris yellow struck.

Bowyer would hang on for a fourth-place finish on the older tires, picking up his second Top-5 finish of the year. However, that didn’t keep him from being frustrated.

“The [two-tire] strategy had us in the contingent to win the race, but unfortunately these cautions keep coming out,” Bowyer told NASCAR.com after the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.

“We’ve gotta figure something out. You know, that’s about five or six weeks in a row that a mysterious debris caution comes out, and then, lo-and-behold, right after they throw that – wouldn’t you know it – actual debris is on the race track when they could throw it for real.”

He also added that if NASCAR was going to throw such cautions late, then there should be “a rule to where everybody can know about it and strategize around it and a guy can go have a beer in the stands or something.”

Bowyer quickly moved into the Top 5 in the first quarter of the race, but on Lap 124, he moved up in an apparent pass of Busch and made contact with him instead.

Busch went into the outside wall off of Turn 4 and the damage was too much for him to continue. After briefly staying on the track to possibly retaliate against Bowyer, Busch heeded crew chief Dave Rogers’ pleas and went to the garage.

Bowyer also sustained damage in the incident and was knocked back to 24th after pit road repairs. Luckily for him, his car remained stout enough to move back into the Top 10 with 100 laps to go.

He would claim the lead thanks to the two-tire stop on Lap 361 but couldn’t hold it against eventual winner Jimmie Johnson and his fresher tires.

Still, Bowyer held out hope that his fuel mileage would enable him to perhaps steal a win – until the yellow flew with six to go.

“I was saving a lot of fuel and [crew chief Brian] Pattie did a good job of strategizing to be there for the end and unfortunately another debris caution comes out and forces everybody to figure it out from there,” he said.

“Kind of hard to strategize around these races when the facts change.”

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.