KANSAS CITY, Kan. – While Brad Keselowski was celebrating in victory lane Saturday night at Kansas Speedway, Clint Bowyer was fuming on pit road after a late clash with Erik Jones in the Digital Ally 400.
Bowyer had a big run coming to the white flag during an overtime restart at the 1.5-mile oval, but found Jones’ No. 20 Toyota Camry in the way of his No. 14 Ford Mustang as he tried to make a move for third.
The Kansas native, who had pitted for fresh tires before the final restart and was clawing forward from eighth, looked to the bottom on the frontstretch as Jones sliced down two lanes to throw the block.
When Bowyer went back up the track, Jones went with him, further stymieing the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.
Bowyer gave a final shot to the rear bumper of the Toyota in question, before falling back due to a loss of momentum and ending up fifth, while Jones crossed third at the checkered flag.
From the moment he climbed out of his race car on pit road, Bowyer had no shortage of frustration to aim at Jones for his actions on the final lap.
“What are you going to do? Turn him right in front of the field and hurt him?” quipped Bowyer. “He put me in a bad situation. I lifted for him, and it cost me three spots right there. We should’ve finished second, and I think everybody knows that. That was dumb on his part. I guess that’s what he wants is to just go down and wreck in front of the field. If you’re going to run like that, you just don’t move up.
“I should’ve just wrecked him, I guess. That pisses me off,” Bowyer added. “It was a struggle; it wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be at home. We were fast yesterday in practice and qualifying. This was just a chaotic evening.”
Unsurprisingly, Jones had a different view of the late battle between himself and Bowyer afterward.
“I think it was just racing,” noted Jones. “We were racing hard, and this package really kind of leads into a lot of blocking and protecting your position. We’re taking the white flag; I’m not going to give up a lane to give up two, three or four spots if he would’ve gotten to the inside. Besides that, we had a car that could’ve won. We just got in the wrong spot at the end of the race and weren’t able to capitalize on it.
“We’ll keep moving forward. It’s been two good weeks,” Jones continued. “This the best car we’ve had since Texas and it’s just nice to be up in contention and have a shot.”
However, Jones admitted he understood Bowyer’s frustration after the race, as well.
“I’d be mad if I was him, but it’s just racing,” said Jones. “I’ve been blocked a lot, especially with this package … and I haven’t done a lot of blocking. You have to get aggressive and fight for every position.
“That’s all I was doing at the end of the race.”