Clint Bowyer ends long winless drought and wins in Martinsville

Clint Bowyer ends long winless drought and wins in Martinsville

It's the first time snow has delayed the start of a NASCAR race in 25 years.

The win was his first driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, the team he joined as Tony Stewart's replacement a year ago.

If he failed, it would be on him and him alone.

Disappointing day: Defending STP 500 champion Brad Keselowski saw his streak of four straight top-five finishes at Martinsville snapped. It was an atypical performance from a driver who had led all of 145 laps in the past four years. "It's been a long time". You start to think about what really matters in life. "To have it come at this place meant a lot".

Blaney had a strong run in front of the pack throughout the second stage and beyond, although Bowyer was the big story from there as he move into first place and stayed there. And possessing a charismatic and outsized personality it appeared he would become one of the faces of NASCAR.

The last time Bowyer stepped into Victory Lane was six years ago, back in October of 2012 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowyer teammate Kevin Harvick, victor of three races this season, was fifth and followed by Joey Logano in another Ford.

MWR shuttered its operations two years later, sending Bowyer to HScott Motorsports for one season.

Bowyer might have been the last member of his team to know.

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He thanked Gene Haas and Stewart for bringing him to SHR. Stewart won SHR's first title in 2011, Kevin Harvick delivered a second in 2014 and almost a third the following year. Other than one lap under the caution, Bowyer led the field from that point on, eventually scoring the win by 1 second over runner-up Kyle Busch. The inconsistency cost him a playoff spot.

A rare late March snow storm in Virginia put NASCAR on hold Sunday.

"To give this old dog a fresh chance and fresh blood with a new opportunity - finally to get the 14 in victory lane is just a weight off the shoulders", Bowyer said.

"I could tell by his demeanor he didn't want to tell me that", Bowyer said with a laugh. He jumped into the arms of his SHR crew, and then was met by his son, who had never before seen his father win a Cup race. "For whatever reason, it felt right driving up here". We're going to be the Clampetts, with the clock ratchet-strapped to the top of the SUV.

"Yeah, I'm going to be watching in my basement", he smiled.

It had been 190 races since his last win, and he only led 36 total laps over the past three seasons, per NASCAR.

"It was just time", Bowyer said.

Stewart-Haas Racing has now won four of the first six races this season.

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