Clint Bowyer finishes 9th in fill-in role for ill Elliott Sadler

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It wasn’t the most ideal return to NASCAR Nationwide Series competition for Clint Bowyer.

After replacing an ill Elliott Sadler during qualifying for today’s O’Reilly Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway, Bowyer climbed into Sadler’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota again during the first caution of the 300-mile race.

Crew members pulled Sadler out of the car and as they went to work strapping Bowyer in, cameras caught Sadler move slowly over the inside pit wall before sitting atop it.

He still had his helmet on, but there was no need to see his face in order to realize that he was nowhere near ready to go the full distance.

And so, Bowyer entered the fray, making his first appearance in the NNS since finishing 26th at Daytona in the summer of 2012. But the Kansas native charged from the back of the pack up into the Top 5 in the second half of the race before settling for a ninth-place finish.

“[Sadler’s] done a lot for me in my career, and he’s been a good friend over the years,” Bowyer told ESPN. “I hate to see him sick like that. He was looking pretty rough.

“But the OneMain Toyota was really good. I had a lot of fun out there, but we just got way, way too loose there those last two runs.”

Since Sadler was able to start the race, he gets awarded full points for the result. So, thanks in large part to Bowyer, Sadler was able to maintain his fourth-place standing in the NNS championship at 68 points behind leader Chase Elliott.

Bowyer made steady progress upon entering the race and was up in the Top 15 at a caution near Lap 50. Continued performance and solid pit work eventually enabled Bowyer to get among the leaders; a particularly fruitful stop under a Lap 127 caution helped him jump from seventh to fourth.

But as he alluded to in his post-race comments, a loose condition set in on the No. 11 and caused him to fall out of the Top 10. However, on his final stop of the day, Bowyer got a track bar adjustment as part of his service.

That appeared to be just the ticket for Bowyer, who subsequently made a late run over the final 20-25 laps to get to ninth.

Chip Ganassi to be honored in Petersen Museum exhibit

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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This Saturday, the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles will debut a new exhibit honoring one of the most successful teams in American motorsports.

Titled “Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute,” the exhibit will display several significant cars, trophies, and other artifacts from CGR’s storied racing history. Ganassi will formally be honored April 15, 2020 at the Petersen’s Annual Racers Night before the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Dario Franchitti’s 2010 Dallara IR-05. Photo Kahn Media

Vehicles displayed in the exhibit will include the 1983 Patrick Wildcat MK9B raced by Chip Ganassi to his best finish in the Indianapolis 500, the Lexus-powered Riley MK X1 raced by Scott Dixon in the 2006 24 Hours of Daytona, the Dallara IR-05 driven to victory by Dario Franchitti in the 2010 Indianapolis 500, the Ford GT that finished first in the LM GTE category at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Kurt Busch in the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series.

“Chip Ganassi is an influential member of the automotive community, and his team’s penchant for success is a reflection of his raw skill and passion for the sport,” said Petersen Automotive Museum Executive Director Terry L. Karges. “Complemented by a visually dynamic and compelling 180-degree video, ‘Chip Ganassi Racing’ will celebrate the team’s victories and tell its story while taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.” 

“Chip Ganassi Racing: Fast Tracks to Success | 30th Anniversary Tribute” will run through January 31, 2021. The museum will host a ticketed opening reception on December 13. More information on the Petersen Museum can be found at www.petersen.org.

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