Clint Bowyer 's loose No. 15 Toyota started a multi-car wreck during the season finale on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway shortly after a restart on Lap 45, forcing the fourth caution of the day. The other cars invovled were the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the No. 33 of Ty Dillon , the No. 55 of David Ragan and the No. 43 of Aric Almirola , who took his Ford to the garage. (Almirola returned to the race 55 laps down.) "We wrecked pretty good," Dale Jr. told his crew after getting clipped by Ragan's Toyota. Before the race's start, the Hendrick Motorsports wheelman was upfront saying he would assist in any way with helping Jeff Gordon attain his fifth title. After a trip down pit road, Earnhardt returned to the race several laps down. The Ford EcoBoost 400 is the final race for Michael Waltrip Racing which fields teams for both Bowyer and Ragan. Bowyer's day ended early and he told NBC from the garage, "I don't know what the hell happened. I was kind of optimistic about the race. We made a pit stop there and the car was just a way big handful there. I don't know, I was coming off of (Turn) 2 there and Ty (Dillon) kind of got squirrely and I tried to stay off of him and my car got loose and I just couldn't catch it. "I don't know, we just lost the handling on our car big-time there. Unfortunately ended -- you hate to end this way. I wanted to end on a strong note for everybody at MWR. Appreciate all of their hard work and efforts all these years but unfortunately it's over.” Here's how those involved ranked on the leaderboard at the race's end: Dillon (23rd), Ragan (27th), Earnhardt Jr. (40th), Almirola (41st) and Bowyer (43rd).
Clint Bowyer makes contact with Ty Dillon, sending him around collecting Dale Earnhardt Jr., causing major damage to the No. 15 and No. 88 cars in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Presenting NASCAR content from around the web Editor's note: On Wednesday at noon ET, "High 5" will present some of the best NASCAR-related content from around the web. 1. World champs Jeff Gordon 's win at Martinsville wasn't the only big event happening in sports this weekend. The Kansas City Royals won their second World Series title on Sunday, defeating the New York Mets four games to one in the series. Royals manager Ned Yost's connection to Dale Earnhardt and NASCAR has been well-documented over the past year. Here is one example. WE’RE #CROWNED !!! Your Kansas City Royals are WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!! pic.twitter.com/Ic8oL4aWu5 — Royals (@Royals) November 2, 2015 Happy for Ned Yost and the @Royals today. — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) November 2, 2015 But if anyone in NASCAR is SUPER excited about this, it's Kansas-native Clint Bowyer . So excited that he's questioning next-morning commitments. That poor dentist. Been really fun to root for these guys we call our own. All I've seen on my timeline is #takethecrown . How bout #TookTheCrown Let's all — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) November 2, 2015 Gonna go ahead and apologize in advance for my 9am dentist appointment. We took the damn crown for crying out loud. @Royals — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) November 2, 2015 2. Buckeyes, Tigers & the Tide -- oh my! As the Championship Round between the final four drivers at Homestead approaches, another sport is gearing up for its four-team playoff of its own -- College football. The College Football Playoff Committee announced its first rankings of the season on Tuesday night. Making the cut were the Clemson Tigers, LSU Tigers, Ohio State Buckeyes and the Alabama Crimson Tide. 1. Clemson 2. LSU 3. Ohio State 4. Alabama pic.twitter.com/7FtqlrlmSl — CFBPlayoff (@CFBPlayoff) November 4, 2015 The first three teams hold unblemished records this season, while Alabama -- the unexpected pick of the lot -- has one loss against Ole Miss. But just as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup has showed us, anything can happen when there are four coveted spots at the line. 3. 3-on-3 Several celebrities hit the court with Austin Dillon for his 3-on-3 Celebrity Baskeball Tournament on Tuesday night at High Point University. NASCAR’s Ty Dillon , Denny Hamlin and Brendan Gaughan , as well as country singer Colt Ford and MMA fighter Rashad Evans, were among the VIP guests who served as captains. He shoots...he scores!! @austindillon3 is king of the court today! -JW pic.twitter.com/HRLFZ3q6sT — Miss Sprint Cup (@MissSprintCup) November 3, 2015 Coach @dennyhamlin keeps an eye on his team...self-proclaimed the "Bad News Bears"! Ha! -JW pic.twitter.com/UjDVzZ4Km9 — Miss Sprint Cup (@MissSprintCup) November 3, 2015 The 16-team format resembled the bracket-style system that governs the NCAA basketball playoffs. Austin Dillon 's team, seeded 1 from the start, ultimately prevailed over Gaughan's squad. All proceeds from the night benefitted the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma. 4. Gordon's longtime fan He's been with Jeff Gordon since the beginning, watched him grow from a young racer into a championship-winner Cup driver. It's not team owner Rick Hendrick and it's not former crew chief Ray Evernham. Rather, it's Gordon's stepfather John Bickford. "Jeff ran with the bigger kids and the very best that was out there. He had a lot of skills then and it was one of those things that I probably knew that he could keep advancing," Bickford told Popular Speed in a recent article. One thing is for certain: he's hoping for a fifth title for his stepson. "I certainly hope Jeff takes that checkered flag in first place!" Bickford said. "I've never done this. It's been 39 years of continuous focus on this racing. So, I don't know how I'll feel. I guess I'm hoping for a bit of a sense of completion." Click here to read the entire story from Popular Speed. 5. Chase take-aways Sunday's race at Martinsville was highlighted by Gordon's Chase-clinching win and Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano 's ongoing drama, which ultimately resulted in Kenseth's two-race suspension . But the race's wild finish held many other implications for other drivers, especially those contending for a title. FOX Sports 1 breaks down the top five takeaways from Sunday's showdown here.
Clint Bowyer shows off his impressive custom helmet collection to NASCAR Illustrated.
MORE: Stewart announces that 2016 will be final season in NASCAR's top series KANNAPOLIS, N.C. -- Stewart-Haas Racing unveiled Clint Bowyer as Tony Stewart 's successor Wednesday, shedding light on the plan to replace the three-time NASCAR premier-series champion upon his retirement at the end of next season. Bowyer said when it became evident that there was a vacancy at Stewart's No. 14 ride, he didn't hesitate. "They didn't have to call me," Bowyer said with his patented grin. Though the spotlight shone brightest Wednesday on Stewart, one of NASCAR's most popular drivers and a surefire bet for first-ballot induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Bowyer's piece of the puzzle provided an extra source of intrigue for the four-car organization's future. The news also provided Bowyer with an opportune landing place after rocky recent weeks with his current team, Michael Waltrip Racing . "I don't think I got fired; it just went away, and somehow you landed in a way better situation," Bowyer said to laughter in Wednesday's news conference at HaasF1's sprawling new headquarters. "Do you ever hear that term when you fall in a pile of cow manure and come out smelling like roses? That's exactly what this is for me." Bowyer's timetable for inheriting the No. 14 Chevrolet ride in 2017 includes a one-year gap in his driving duties. He shied away from giving specifics regarding his 2016 plans, despite speculation he would shift to the two-car HScott Motorsports outfit for a one-year stint in the interim. Bowyer hinted that next season's part of the equation could become clearer by this weekend at Dover International Speedway . "Yeah, there's going to be some more announcements later in the week as far as where we're going for next year," Bowyer said. "But for this announcement, why I'm here today is to announce the long‑term future plan for me." Stewart initially joked that his handpicked selection for the No. 14 Chevy was retired driver "Handsome" Harry Gant, the 75-year-old veteran whose last season in NASCAR was 1994. Besides a tongue-in-cheek comment about Gant's and Bowyer's common thread with "immaculate hair," Stewart applauded the team's newest driver, saying that his hero and friend -- racing legend A.J. Foyt -- would approve of the hire. "You know, everything in racing is timing, and the opportunity to get somebody like Clint Bowyer , I mean, that's when you know you seize the opportunity. We're probably going to have a hard time working together and communicating with each other. We probably won't have any fun racing," Stewart said with trademark sarcasm. "It's the right time, it's the right opportunity, and when somebody in a scenario like Clint's this year came about, you jump on those opportunities, and you know that timing is everything." In a compelling contrast, the details for Bowyer's future emerged as the fate of his campaign in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs simultaneously faced a crossroads just six miles away, where Michael Waltrip Racing was appealing P4-grade penalties against Bowyer's No. 15 team at the NASCAR Research & Development Center. RELATED: MWR penalty upheld in appeal Bowyer qualified for this year's Chase on the basis of his rank in the Sprint Cup driver standings, but the team opened with a thud in the Chicagoland opener. Penalties stemming from a pre-race infraction for improper track-bar and suspension mountings essentially negated the team's 19th-place finish, digging a large deficit in the opening three-race Challenger Round. The 25-point penalty was upheld Wednesday by a three-member panel, keeping Bowyer last in the 16-driver postseason field with bleak odds of advancing from the Chase's opening round this weekend at Dover International Speedway . The appeal is another tipping point in Bowyer's final days with MWR. The team announced Aug. 19 that it would shut its doors at the end of the season, granting Bowyer his release and freeing him to seek employment elsewhere. That freedom resulted in landing nicely on his feet, claiming what he called "one of the best rides ever in the history of the sport." "I mean, this is a champion's seat that I'm filling, so that being said, this is an unbelievable opportunity," Bowyer said. "Just like I said earlier, to think of that door opening, and holy cow, the timing couldn't have been any better for myself. Just somebody was looking after me." Bowyer has eight victories in NASCAR's premier series -- five with Richard Childress Racing , where he drove from 2006-2011, and three with Michael Waltrip Racing (2012-2015), all coming in his first year with the team. Bowyer's 2012 campaign remains his most successful with a second-place result in the final Sprint Cup standings. But besides the performance and accomplishments, Bowyer also brings an affable, cooperative element to the mix of personnel and personalities at Stewart-Haas. Though Bowyer said Wednesday that he would miss racing against Stewart -- his future boss, but also his friend -- he also looked forward to building chemistry in the next stage of his stock-car racing career. "That being said, damn, I'm glad that you decided to retire and open this seat up for me," Bowyer said to Stewart, "but you know, it's just all about people, it's all about culture for me, and I think the fit factor couldn't be any better."
OFFICIAL NASCAR RELEASE: Chase team among four penalized RELATED: Busch, Suarez issued penalties NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer now finds himself right back where he started -- 16th among a field of 16 drivers battling for this year's NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. There is one difference. The Michael Waltrip Racing driver will be without the services of his crew chief, Billy Scott, for the next three races. On Wednesday, NASCAR officials announced that Bowyer's No. 15 Toyota team had been penalized for a P4 level infraction found during opening day inspection last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway . RELATED: See the updated Chase standings As a result, Bowyer has lost 25 driver points, team co-owner Rob Kauffman has been docked 25 owner points, Scott has been fined $75,000 and suspended for three races. He has also been placed on probation for six months. Based on rules cited in the penalty announcement, the team was penalized for suspension and track bar issues. Those noted included: 20.14c -- All suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension and/or drivetrain component beyond normal rotation or suspension and/or drivetrain travel; 126.96.36.199.k -- Beveled washers and/or other components that allow movement under load will not be permitted on the track bar heim joints or rod end and/or track bar mounting bolts; 188.8.131.52.1.d -- Approved parts that are not properly installed or are made adjustable when not normally intended to be; 184.108.40.206.1.f -- Components, devices, systems, configurations, installations, etc. which serve to circumvent NASCAR templates, gauges, measuring devices whether intended or not … Because Bowyer is competing in the Chase, and the result of any appeal would have an impact on the championship standings going forward, NASCAR's penalty statement stated that a request had been submitted to the Appeals Administrator of the National Motorsports Appeals Panel seeking to expedite any appeal. Michael Waltrip Racing officials issued a statement shortly after Wednesday's penalty announcement. " Michael Waltrip Racing respectfully disagrees with today's penalties and plans to immediately appeal," the statement read. "MWR has made mistakes in the past, but we feel we are correct in this instance. We look forward to the opportunity to present our case to the appeals committee and have no further comment until the process is completed." Bowyer , competing in the Chase for the sixth time in his career, was seeded 16th in the field heading into last weekend's race in Chicago. He finished 19th and improved one position, to 15th, prior to the points deduction, earning 25 points. Regardless of the appeals process, Bowyer must win one of the next two Sprint Cup races -- scheduled for New Hampshire and Dover -- or be one of the top 12 in points following the Dover race to advance to the Contender Round of the Chase. MWR fields two teams in the Sprint Cup Series, the No. 15 of Bowyer as well as the No. 55 with driver David Ragan . Team owners announced earlier this year that Bowyer had been granted his release following the '15 season and that the organization would not field full-time teams beyond this year. RELATED: MWR begins process of shutting down Earlier this year, the No. 31 team of Richard Childress Racing was hit with a Level P5 penalty for infractions involving the release of air pressure from the team's tires. In addition to the penalty for the No. 15 team, NASCAR officials also penalized the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team with driver Danica Patrick for modifying the right-side quarterpanel during pre-qualifying inspection. Crew chief Daniel Knost and car chief Pete White have been placed on probation through Dec. 31 for the Level P2 infraction.
RELATED: Complete results from Homestead " Updated standings SHOP: Champion's gear " Gordon gear HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch capped a most improbable comeback Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway , capturing the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship while winning the Ford EcoBoost 400 . Busch, 30, passed race leader Brad Keselowski on a final restart with seven laps remaining, then pulled away from fellow Chase for the Sprint Cup contender Kevin Harvick to score his fifth win of the season and secure his first premier series title. It was also the first Sprint Cup Series championship for automaker Toyota, which entered the series in 2007. "A dream of a lifetime, a dream come true," Busch said. "I just can't believe with everything that happened this year and all the turmoil, all the things that I went through, that my wife (Samantha) went through and the people that are around me went through. This championship is all for these guys, my wife, my family, everyone who has had to sacrifice so much to get me here to this place today, whether it was on my team right now, or on my teams in the past." "Adam Stevens (crew chief) prepared such a great race car. Adam Stevens is my hero. I love that guy." Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Jeff Gordon ( Hendrick Motorsports ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) advanced through this year's 16-team, 10-race Chase format to qualify for a shot at the title. RELATED: Busch wins first Cup Series championship Busch said he never doubted that he and his team could orchestrate such a stunning comeback. "Oh yeah, no doubt," he said. "The rehab ... getting ready and focused, all that was the hardest part and the hardest thing I have ever gone through. To put it all together and be here tonight, this wasn't that hard." Sidelined for the season's first 11 points races after suffering a broken right leg and fractures to his left foot in an XFINITY Series crash at Daytona International Speedway , Busch returned to win five times. Sunday's victory was the 34th of his career. Busch can thank debris on the race track for the race win. It was driver and team that won the championship, however. Seemingly on his way to a second-place finish that would have still secured the title, Busch shot past Keselowski ( Team Penske ) on a Lap 261 restart for the 18th and final lead change of the night. "I knew it was time to go," Busch said. "I don't know why Brad chose the bottom, but he gave me the top and I thought, 'This is interesting.'" The restart order put Harvick directly behind Busch, who said, "I knew I just had to protect whatever Harvick tried to do if he was going to shoot the middle or shoot the gap or whatever it was going to be." "I don't know if Brad spun his tires or what. We got to Turns 1 and 2 and we were pretty even; I just looked into (Turn) 4 and gave it everything I had those last seven or eight laps." Officially, it was Busch, Harvick and Keselowski finishing first through third, with Joey Logano and Kyle Larson rounding out the top five. "I don't really know if there was a right one or wrong one, to be honest," Keselowski, who led a race-high 86 laps, said of the lane choice call. "We just weren't fast enough and I don't think it would have mattered either way." Gordon ended his illustrious driving career with a sixth-place finish while Truex wound up 12th. ALL ACCESS: Gordon parks car for final time "His talent is so strong, and that team really found some things this year," Gordon, a four-time champion making his final start, said of Busch, adding that he's seen "a changed Kyle." "When he came back, not only was he driven and just inspired by it, but you can tell he was racing smarter, with more patience, just being more deliberate. ... I think he showed it right away when he came back that there was a pretty good chance he was destined to win this championship." It wasn't a down-to-the wire battle for the championship or for the race until the final caution. With 67 laps remaining, Keselowski was easily out front while Busch enjoyed a lead of more than one second over Harvick for second place. Gordon, who had led earlier, ran ninth and Truex was just outside the top 10, running 12th. A fire on pit road and an ill-handling car stymied the efforts of Truex and his team for the first half of the race; a two-tire gamble during pit stop on Lap 168 put him out front. WATCH: Truex Jr. has 'a lot to build on for the future' But the lead was short-lived; Truex soon found himself free-falling through the field, eventually settling in just outside the top 10. Gordon made his way to the front for the first time following a Lap 36 restart, shooting past the soon-to-be champ for the lead and bringing the crowd in the grandstands to their feet. Harvick took charge moments later with a power move on a Lap 45 restart. A multi-car accident involving Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Clint Bowyer and others erupted almost as soon as Harvick took control, bringing the yellow flag for the fourth time. RELATED: Harvick sets bittersweet NASCAR record The defending series champion was able to build as much as a 1.5-second lead over Busch and led 46 laps before a cycle of green-flag pit stops allowed Joey Logano to move to the top spot. Afterward, Harvick could only smile as he watched Busch celebrate on stage. "He broke his leg at Daytona, and to come back from everything that he came back from ... that's a great comeback story from where he was after Daytona," said Harvick. The race began 1 hour, 35 minutes late due to rain but ran uninterrupted by weather conditions following its 4:50 p.m. ET start.
RELATED: Bowyer falls in manure, smells like roses DOVER, Del. -- Clint Bowyer , introduced as the newest driver in the Stewart-Haas Racing stable for 2017 just two days ago, ended speculation about his 2016 plans Friday, announcing he will join HScott Motorsports for the upcoming season. The single-season move will keep Bowyer , 36, in the Chevrolet family while three-time premier series champion Tony Stewart wraps up his final season as driver of the No. 14 entry. RELATED: Bowyer , SHR a perfect fit HScott Motorsports , located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, currently fields Sprint Cup Series entries for drivers Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett . The organization works closely with both SHR and Hendrick Motorsports in NASCAR's premier series, purchasing its chassis from SHR and engines from Hendrick. "What a whirlwind year, to say the least," Bowyer said. "… It's kind of weird, as we've gone through this together, there's always been that door, the one that opens the easiest, and Harry Scott was definitely that. Looking forward to the marriage that he has with Hendrick, with Stewart-Haas, (those are) very strong. … "Harry is a young, very aggressive owner that we need in this sport; to have this together and tie my name to HScott Motorsports is something I'm looking forward to and get back to my winning ways." Scott said the addition of Bowyer "will help us long term because he's basically going to be able to help us reset our program and set the bar higher going forward. "With his experience, his leadership and his enthusiasm, I think it will be contagious amongst all the team members. Going forward he will help us form an even stronger relationship with Stewart-Haas and that will obviously be beneficial to us." RELATED: Bowyer to join SHR in 2017 5-Hour Energy will be the primary sponsor of Bowyer's entry for 24 of next season's 36 races. Scott started HScott Motorsports in 2013, running Allgaier, Ryan Truex , Michael McDowell and Kyle Larson in 11 of the season's 36 races. Allgaier was named the team's full-time driver in '14; Annett was brought on board prior to the start of the '15 season as the group added a second team. Allgaier is currently 30th in the points standings while Annett is 36th with eight races remaining. Scott said it was too soon to speculate on how the organization's roster would look for 2016, neither confirming nor denying speculation that Bowyer would replace one of the group's two current drivers. "We really haven't ruled out anything for 2016 or beyond," he said. "I'm not prepared to give you an answer for that because I simply don't know at this point." Friday's announcement closed the books on what has been a tumultuous season for the Emporia, Kansas, native. A little more than a year after announcing a multi-year contract extension with its driver, Michael Waltrip Racing announced in mid-August that Bowyer and the organization had "mutually agreed to separate" at the conclusion of the 2015 season as the team closes its doors. After slipping into this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field as the final driver in the 16-team field, Bowyer's No. 15 team was hit with penalties in the opening Chase race, at Chicagoland Speedway , for suspension irregularities. The P4-level infractions resulted in the loss of 25 driver points for Bowyer and owner points for co-owner Rob Kauffman. Crew chief Billy Scott was fined $75,000 and suspended for three races. RELATED: Drivers on the move for 2016 MWR appealed the penalties, but on Wednesday the National Motorsports Appeals Panel heard the appeal and upheld the sanctions against the team. Bowyer is an eight-time winner at the Sprint Cup level but enters this weekend's AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR), riding a 105-race winless streak. He is making his sixth Chase appearance and has a best points finish of second (2012). The specifics of the move, as far as car number and team personnel, have yet to be determined. "It's going to take hard work and dedication, it's going to take funding. We have to have all these and we (do) at HScott Motorsports ," Bowyer said. "I've got the best of the best; when you talk about equipment we've got Hendrick engines, we've got ties to the Stewart-Haas organization. These are the guys that are winning races and I now have that bond, that connection to this kind of equipment. For me as a race car driver, that's huge."
RELATED: MWR won't field full-time entries in 2016 Wednesday's news that Michael Waltrip Racing won't be fielding full-time Sprint Cup Series teams in 2016 essentially turns the team's lead driver, Clint Bowyer , into one of NASCAR's highest profile free agents. MWR and Bowyer agreed to mutually part ways at the end of the season, freeing the 2012 championship runner-up to look for a new ride and making his current title run an important resume-builder. Bowyer is currently ranked 16th in the 16-driver Chase Grid standings with a slim 23-point edge over Aric Almirola for the final Chase berth with three races remaining to set the field. MORE: Toyota thanks MWR, supports Bowyer "I am looking forward to what future opportunities may come but for now we have a championship to pursue in 2015 and we owe it to every one of our sponsors, partners, employees and fans to deliver on and off the track,” Bowyer said in a statement released Tuesday announcing his and the MWR team's plans. "I want to thank Michael, Rob (Kauffman) and everyone at Michael Waltrip Racing that made these past four years special. After extensive discussions with Rob and MWR, we came to the point that we mutually agreed our paths in the future just didn’t align, but I think we all agreed on the next steps in a very professional manner." It's clear they are committed to that path. Waltrip discussed Bowyer's Chase scenario and his inspired motivation on FOX Sports 1 this morning after spending time with Bowyer at the team shop Wednesday morning. "I'm going to tell you, that's how fast your Chase world can change,'' Waltrip said. " Clint was not only 15th in the points, some 60 to the good, he was within striking distance of being 11th, up there where Jamie McMurray is. And had a crash at Michigan with a really fast car, had a crash and it set him back. "But I tell ya, it's inspired Bowyer . I know there's a lot of news around Michael Waltrip Racing , but he was at the shop today, talking to the team and said, 'Boys, we're going to race our way into this Chase, and when we get there, we're gonna go some rounds.' And that's the kind of attitude you need from your race car driver and that's the kind of attitude Clint has." Beyond his showing in this year's championship run, the big question is what's next for Bowyer , considered one of the NASCAR's top-shelf competitors and one of its most popular personalities. There will be plenty of speculation, however, Bowyer hasn't said anything beyond the statement issued Tuesday. The 36-year-old Kansas native is the 2008 XFINITY Series champion and has eight wins in 10 full-time Cup seasons, finishing second to Brad Keselowski in the 2012 championship, his first year with MWR. It's reasonable to consider one option for Bowyer is to follow his boss Kauffman to the Chip Ganassi Racing stable next season and bring his longtime sponsor 5-hour Energy to a third Chevrolet there. Sponsor 5-hour Energy released a statement about the MWR news, as well."5-Hour ENERGY has enjoyed a great relationship with Michael Waltrip Racing and Clint Bowyer since joining forces in 2012. MWR and Clint have delivered above and beyond with our partnership and we thank them for their dedication. Clint is a great amassador for our products, customers and retailers," the release read. "The MWR team and Clint will continue to remain focused on getting 5-hour ENERGY in the Chase. We will make no further comment until we are ready to announce our future plans." Kauffman, who became a co-owner and major investor in MWR in 2007, announced earlier this month that he had also invested in the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team. Sabates confirmed that the organization would expand to three cars in 2016, but no further details have been released. Another option down the road for Bowyer may include Furniture Row Racing , which is reportedly considering expanding to two teams. However, the team's general manager, Joe Garone told FOXSports in June that adding a second car wasn't realistic until at least 2017 and even then, it would be ambitious. The team's current driver, another former MWR driver, Martin Truex Jr . , is having a career year with the team and ranks eighth in the Chase Grid. There is also speculation that Bowyer's future could include a job at Stewart-Haas Racing should its co-owner and three-time championship driver Tony Stewart retire and leave an open seat. However Stewart has not publicly indicated he has any timetable to retire.
RELATED: Bowyer free to pursue 2016 opportunities MORE: MWR won't field full-time team in 2016 BRISTOL, Tenn. – Clint Bowyer said his racing future "is uncertain right now" as he prepares to finish out the season with Michael Waltrip Racing before an expected move to a new employer in 2016. Earlier this week, MWR officials announced Bowyer , 36, and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series organization had "mutually agreed" to end their relationship at the conclusion of the '15 season. The two-team outfit, which fields the No. 55 Toyota for driver David Ragan in addition to the No. 15 of Bowyer , will not field a full-time Sprint Cup effort next year. "It's a tough time for everybody involved," Bowyer said Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway, site of Saturday night's Irwin Tools Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "It's unfortunate. "The truth is we're eight months into a three-year commitment to one another. I had a great four years at this company; great culture, great personnel at MWR. I really did enjoy the years that I spent there. "That being said Rob (Kauffman, MWR co-owner) ... invested a lot into this sport. It's a business decision to move forward on his end. That's where our futures ... unfortunately just don't align anymore." WATCH: Bowyer , Kauffman expound on MWR split The timing of the announcement was crucial, Bowyer said, to allow employees at MWR to understand and digest the situation and focus on the remainder of the '15 season. "These employees ... are real people, with real lives with real families and a lot at stake," he said. "They are racers, just like I am. But the racer in you doesn't change the reality side of life. And the reality is you need to provide for your family. "I thought it was extremely important ... to get in front of that and I owed it to these employees to get this done as soon as possible, even knowing where we're at on the bubble and everything in the Chase. I think being honest and straightforward and doing that for these people in the long run will set them up to make the most out of a difficult situation." Bowyer is an eight-time winner in the Sprint Cup Series, with three of those wins coming with MWR, which he joined in 2012. He finished a career-best second in the Chase for the Sprint Cup battle in his first year with the organization. W ATCH: Rob Kauffman about MWR, Bowyer decisions Heading into Saturday night's race at BMS, Bowyer is 15th in points with one top-five and nine top-10 finishes. Eleven of the 16 available Chase slots have been secured (as long as those drivers remain in the top 30 in points), leaving Bowyer and a handful of others battling for one of the five remaining positions. As for what the 2016 season and beyond may hold, Bowyer appears to be keeping all options open at this point. "Absolutely," he said. "... What I'm going to have in the future ... will be another announcement and I'll tell you as soon as possible. It's as simple as that. "I'm confident in the sport, I love this sport and the sport has been good to me and my family -- (I've) had a lot of great partners and a lot of great organizations that I've worked for, and I see no reason why somebody that works hard and wants it like I do ... can't have a job for as long as they want." PHOTOS: MWR through the years