Clint Bowyer is hunting bubble drivers

Bowyer enjoying role as the ‘hunter’

Clint Bowyer’s bubble picture looks OK. Not great, but OK. He doesn’t exactly need a win to make the playoffs, but that’s certainly the easiest path.

And coming into this season, that’s as much as you could ask for when it came to the veteran of 12 full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series seasons.

Entering 2017, Bowyer has finished outside the top 15 in points in three consecutive seasons, and last year endured his worst season, finishing 27th.

But a renewed optimism enveloped the Kansas native, as he joined powerhouse Stewart-Haas Racing, with Ford as its new manufacturer.

Now, Bowyer’s a contender, and only 31 points outside the all-important final playoff spot. If you ask him, he should be better.

“We’ve come close to victory several times this year,” said Bowyer. “That’s what can be so frustrating. You are only one or two spots away from where you want to be, but there’s a huge difference between first and everything else in this business.”

The good news: Bristol’s on deck with Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBC). Bowyer finished second in the Monster Energy Series’ first trip to Bristol in April, and has top 10s in three of the last four races at the Tennessee short track (and in the top five in two of those).

“I’m the hunter, not the hunted,” he said. “So it’s a lot of fun to go into this weekend knowing that you’ve got to go out there and chase that guy down or chase those guys down and, hopefully, pop off a win here and just put it all to bed.”

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