CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If Clint Bowyer might have scripted his sendoff, it most actually would have been a correct blowout for NASCAR’s finest partier.

Bowyer would have had followers and pals and celebrated each week all alongside the NASCAR circuit if he’d had his approach. He actually wouldn’t have chosen this 12 months as his final, this season of no spectators within the stands, no raucous revelers roaming the infield.

Bowyer is one among many caught within the circumstances of the pandemic and pushed to make career-deciding selections. Cling round for one more season driving race automobiles, or make a bounce to the tv sales space.

He did not need 2020 to be his final season, however the provide to affix Fox Sports activities made for a simple break up for Bowyer and Stewart-Haas Racing.

“I believe you all the time, everyone in life, needs to simply get by with another 12 months. Another 12 months, another lap,” Bowyer stated. “It’s 2020, proper? Is it the proper time to do all of this? I don’t assume 2020 is the proper time for something.

“This chance got here up. It was a chance of a lifetime, a chance to remain part of this sport for a few years to return.”

Bowyer might have pushed for a return to the No. 14 Ford subsequent season if sufficient sponsors agreed to again one other 12 months. However SHR actually wanted Bowyer to free his seat so the workforce might give Chase Briscoe a much-earned promotion from the Xfinity Sequence.

The provide from Fox Sports activities, the place Bowyer had been moonlighting as a visitor analyst, ended another eventualities. Taking the TV deal purchased Bowyer a second profession.

“Have been we engaged on what’s subsequent so far as being in a race automobile? Completely,” Bowyer stated. “As soon as that (Fox) alternative got here to the desk it was fairly clear that that’s what I wanted to do.”

After 15 full seasons at NASCAR’s high degree, Bowyer will get out of the automobile in 4 weeks. Bowyer will depart the game a winner for Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, a former Xfinity Sequence champion — a child from Kansas who made it to the large leagues.

He introduced his plans final week with sufficient time to arrange for a sendoff Sunday at Kansas Speedway. He grew up in Emporia, simply over an hour away from the speedway, and he was a fan consuming beer atop an infield motorhome when Jeff Gordon received the primary Cup race at Kansas in 2001.

Bowyer spent two months working with Gordon throughout the pandemic as an analyst-slash-participant within the iRacing broadcast protection. Subsequent 12 months they are going to be full-time teammates within the tv sales space.

“I used to be preparing. I used to be getting near being prepared,” Bowyer stated of retirement. “Was I prepared after this pandemic and this COVID 12 months of no followers and a bizarre method to exit? No.

“However was I in search of that what’s subsequent second or alternative? That reply is completely sure. This pandemic led to that chance to get within the studio.”

Fox Sports activities used simply Pleasure and Gordon in a two-person sales space this 12 months following Darrell Waltrip’s retirement. The checklist of possible expertise was deep and ranged from retiring crew chief Chad Knaus to present title contender Kevin Harvick, who has proved to be an excellent visitor analyst.

The pandemic gave Bowyer weekly studio time and his massive and loud persona was full-throttle throughout the digital racing telecasts. He is good-natured and gregarious, a model of Waltrip with the huckster, fan-appreciated fashion.

Similar to Waltrip did for practically twenty years, Bowyer can now look towards a protracted future in NASCAR’s highlight.

“I really like being part of this sport. I imply, that was so vital for me. I didn’t wish to simply retire,” Bowyer stated. “If this chance with Fox didn’t come to the desk, I used to be going to be in a automobile someplace in some way. I wasn’t going to simply give up and run off into the sundown as a result of I like this sport and I wished to search out my approach and a future inside it.”

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