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The Sprint Cup season is only five races old, but Clint Bowyer has gone a long way toward eliminating the uncertainty that clouded his career during the off-season.
Bowyer, 32, made his name at Richard Childress Racing, where he won five races since joining the Cup ranks full-time in 2006. Twice he won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, in 2007 and 2010, and at Talladega Superspeedway, in 2010 and 2011. He also won at Richmond, in 2008.
Late in 2011, Bowyer found that, due to sponsorship issues, there was no place for him at RCR. The Emporia, Kan., native considered several offers and decided to move to Michael Waltrip Racing, where his No. 15 Toyota is sponsored by 5-Hour Energy Drink.
Waltrip's team has won only twice since its inception in 2007. RCR has won 100 Cup races, dating back to 1983.
So far, so good. Bowyer ranks ninth in the Cup standings with one top-five and two top-10 finishes.
"These MWR cars have been good ever since (teammate Martin) Truex was running good at the end of last year," Bowyer said. "Just real proud of everybody.
"Looking at last year, they showed signs of brilliance, and then, I think, where they lacked was being consistent throughout the year. If we're able to go there, that's one thing that's always been my strong point. If I can continue my consistency ... that's what we're missing."
Bowyer never felt the perceived uncertainty regarding his latest career move.
"In this sport anymore, the cars are so much the same that the only real thing you're starting over with is the group of people," he said. "Sometimes change can be good and bad. There's no question that, last year, I didn't have the success that I expected and that I wanted.
"Maybe it was time to make a change, and I'll be able to answer that in a year or so. I really see a lot of potential here, a lot of things coming together at the right time for me to make a change and ride that wave on into the future."