|2012 was a breakthrough season|
Realistically, the Kansas native will likely settle for a career-best season in terms of wins (three), Top-5 (nine) and Top-10 (22) finishes. If he retains his current third position in the standings, Bowyer will match his best-ever points finish, a third in 2007.
Bowyer’s 2012 success was not entirely expected. In his first year with Michael Waltrip Racing, he and teammate Martin Truex, Jr., led the team to its first berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Based on their success this season, it seems clear that Bowyer and crew chief Brian Pattie will be even stronger in 2013.
“It’s fun to be racing for the championship, but I’m more proud of where we’re at; contending for that championship,” said Bowyer. “We just keep polishing the edges and keep getting better, fixing our program week-in and week-out. We’ll (eventually) be there.”
Barring major misfortune, Bowyer could be one of only three drivers with a mathematical chance at the championship following Sunday’s AdvoCare 500. He and runner-up Brad Keselowski are currently the only drivers within 49 points of championship leader Jimmie Johnson, with a maximum of 48 points available in the season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Two Chase qualifiers were eliminated last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway; Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.