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Clint Bowyer retires from racing; heading to broadcast booth

Clint Bowyer of Mocksville announced last week that he’s retiring after the 2020 NASCAR season.

He’s going to join Fox Sports as an analyst.

This is Bowyer’s 15th full season. He headed into Sunday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway facing elimination from the playoffs, ranking 11th in the 12-driver field that was trimmed by four for the next round.

Bowyer was knocked out of the playoffs after finishing 10th among 38. Last week he posted on Twitter that he’s moving full-time into television.

“I have a new opportunity to do what’s next in my life,” he wrote. “In 2021 my suit will no longer be fireproof. I will be joining the Fox booth on Sundays.”

The 41-year-old veteran won races for Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota during his career with Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and now Stewart-Haas Racing. He captured the 2008 Xfinity title for RCR.

“The opportunity to have won races with all three manufacturers is something I’m proud of,” he wrote in a letter. “Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford all have great people and build great products and all share the same passion to be first on Sunday. It was truly an honor to represent all three.”

When Tony Stewart retired after the 2016 season, Bowyer replaced Stewart in the No. 14 Ford at SHR. His future, though, with the organization was in doubt because Chase Briscoe, a Ford development driver in the Xfinity Series for SHR, is looking for a Cup Series ride. Briscoe has eight wins in 2020 and is the Xfinity Series points leader.

Bowyer, who finished a career-best second in the 2012 standings, has 10 victories in his Cup career. He made the playoffs from 2018-20.

Bowyer has seen an expanded role in Fox’s NASCAR coverage.

At the start of the pandemic, he was an in-studio analyst. This week, NASCAR heads to Kansas Speedway, Bowyer’s home track. He was asked to reflect on his career as he prepares for his final race.

Instead of looking back on his NASCAR career, he talked about the difficulties of the pandemic-ravaged season.

“COVID sucks; 2020 hasn’t been much fun for anybody,” he said. “This season has been tough. It’s been tough in so many different ways, on the teams, on everybody. Literally our preparation for the races is Zoom meetings. I got in the simulator to prepare. I went down to Ford and spent some time in the simulator. I did the most I could, but you’re going to these tracks with a lot of guesswork on the table still.”