MARTINSVILLE, VA. – When snow at Martinsville Speedway gave NASCAR a rare day off, Clint Bowyer loaded his car with kids and drove them to North Carolina for a day at the Hall of Fame.
As Bowyer returned to the track for Monday’s rescheduled race, he told his 3-year-old son he wanted to take a picture in victory lane with the boy.
Cash Bowyer told his father he wanted a checkered flag.
Both father and son got their wish.
Bowyer ended a 190-race losing streak dating to 2012 with a dominating victory at Martinsville Speedway for Stewart-Haas Racing, which has won four of the first six races to start the year.
Bowyer then went into the stands to greet fans who returned to Martinsville two days after a snowstorm postponed all track activity.
Bowyer’s victory was his first driving for SHR, the team he joined as Tony Stewart’s replacement last year. The move to SHR was supposed to turn Bowyer’s fortunes around, but he struggled through his first year in the No. 14 Ford.
He finally figured it out on the short track in Virginia and won for the first time since his victory at Charlotte in October 2012.
Bowyer had led 145 combined laps the past four years. He led 215 laps Monday.
“To give this old dog a fresh chance and fresh blood with a new opportunity — finally to get the 14 in victory lane is just a weight off the shoulders,” Bowyer said. “It’s been a long time. You start to question if you can get it done.”
Bowyer began his celebratory burnout before he completed a cool-down lap, and then climbed on the hood of his cars with his arms raised in victory. He jumped into the arms of his SHR crew, and then was met by his son, who had never before seen his father win a Cup race.
Cash Bowyer exchanged high-fives with the SHR crew, then sat on top of the winning car. Later, in victory lane, Clint Bowyer hugged the Martinsville signature trophy grandfather clock and let his son soak in his first post-race celebration.
It was the ninth career victory for Bowyer, but the first since he was a legitimate title contender in 2012. Kyle Busch finished second in a Toyota, and Ryan Blaney, who led 145 laps and won the second stage, was third in a Ford.