DAYTONA BEACH — Never one to mince words, Clint Bowyer needed very few of them to spell out his feelings on a second straight second-place finish."Second sucks, but it's better than third," Bowyer said.
He further improved his standing on Saturday to 15th with 469 points — 27 more than former Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano, now on the outside looking in.A win, of course, would all but guarantee his spot in the postseason.Two races remain before the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts, and the 16-driver field is looking solid with little chance of a change.Four of the five winless drivers seeking to make the Chase via points have at least a 97 percent chance of making it."The fact of the matter is that we’ve struggled at the mile-and-a-half tracks as a group," said Waltrip.
"And we think we know the root of that problem and we believe we’re taking a better product to Kansas this weekend.
It’s doubtful those drivers can pass him on points.
Bowyer could finish in the top 20 in the next two races and still be fine.
As for Saturday's Coke Zero 400, which produced a record 14 yellow flags, not so much."We just survived," said the 38-year-old from Emporia, Kansas.
"With every caution, you'd look over and see a few of your partners over there in the pile, and you're like, 'Uh oh.' "Bowyer passed Paul Menard off of Turn 4, but could not close the distance with fellow Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. In 12 career July starts at Daytona, Bowyer has notched eight top-10s.
Last week at Sonoma, Bowyer battled back from 33rd at the conclusion of the second stage with a beaten-up car to finish behind only teammate Kevin Harvick.