In 2015, when Tony “Smoke” Stewart announce that 2016 would be his final year of competitive racing in NASCAR fans where devastated and social media went wild, but they would lose their cool just a bit more,when they learned that Clint Bowyer would be his replacement in the #14 car. People cried foul and everybody wondered…Why put him in the car! “He can’t Drive” , “ He’s a back of the pack bottom feeder”. “Look what he did when he was with M.W. Racing Damn cheater”!
Fortunately, Tony Stewart knew something we didn’t and saw something we didn’t in Bowyer looking way past friendship. Was it heart? Was it determination? Was it drive? Only Tony himself can answer that.
In 2016, Stewart-Haas Racing made a deal with H. Scott Racing to give Bowyer a seat, he brought along 5hr energy as a sponsor. Things went horrible for Bowyer, the team was underfunded the engines were used hand offs from other teams the chassis where 2 years old. In other words the car was no where near competitive to run with the big boys. 2016 was no fun for Bowyer, as he proved all the critics right or so they thought!
In the off season of 2016/2017, Stewart-Haas made another huge announcement, they where leaving long time partner and cars Chevy and turning its back on Hendricks Motorsports support and officiation. Expanding there own race shop to build there own Chassis and now running the Blue Oval “Ford”.
This once again sent fans and critics into a frenzy and social media light up like an Xmas tree with even rumours of cup series Champion leaving cause people thought he would never ever be in a Ford.
Well, Harvick stayed and proved he can race anything on 4 wheels earning a spot in the championship 4, Busch and the #41 car won the season opener Daytona 500. As for Bowyer, he quietly went about his business driving the #14 car and finishing runner up twice while getting used to a new team new car and sponsorship issues. All in all a solid year,if I do say so myself.
Then the 2017/2018 off season came and Stewart-Haas along with Ford went to work on new cars, while Tony went to work on other business. Aric Almirola, the new driver for the #10 car, getting Kurt Busch back in the #41 car and so on.
But then 2018 came and Stewart-Hass went on s tear proving everyone wrong and that SHR was hear and a force to be reckoned with Harvick’s three wins in a row, Aric Almirola finishing ever race in the top 15, and Kurt Busch despite having 2 DNF’s has finished in the top 15.
Now we come full circle, Clint Bowyer finally did it, you guessed it proved all the haters wrong and snapped a 190-race winless streak. Showing the world that Tony’s choice to put him in the car was not insane or stupid idea as people said it would be.
Stewart-Haas and Ford have won 4 of the 1st 5 races in 2018 and every car looks competitive and strong. This is just my option, but we are witnessing NASCAR newest dynasty in the making.
Sit back and enjoy the ride cause it’s far from over.
This is Stephen Daniells ( King of the North)
For the LegacyMaker Sports Network.