NASCAR: Bowyer’s retirement creates speculation on who fills the No. 14

Nathan Solomon
Kyle Larson stands by his car during practice for NASCAR Cup Series Penzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Feb. 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nev.

Thursday evening, NASCAR veteran Clint Bowyer announced that he will be retiring from full-time racing following the 2020 season. He will be shifting to the FOX studio to call Cup Series races alongside Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon.

Bowyer spent 15 years running full-time in the Cup Series and three years full-time in the Xfinity Series. He’s won 10 times in Cup while picking up eight Xfinity wins along with a championship. Known for his larger than life personality, Bowyer will go down as one of the all-time fan favorites in NASCAR.

He’ll leave Stewart-Haas Racing and the No. 14 team, a group he said he wished to retire for. Although Bowyer was aging, his retirement comes as a bit of a shock. Greg Zipadelli, SHR competition director, stated just a month ago that he anticipated the driver lineup to remain the same in 2021. His departure leaves a big ride open for the 2021 season with a lot of speculation on who will fill it.

The favorite to fill the spot is Chase Briscoe, SHR’s only Xfinity Series driver. Briscoe has dominated this season, picking up eight wins and currently sits first in the Xfinity standings.

However, Briscoe to the No. 14 is no sure thing. Other drivers such as Erik Jones, Ryan Preece, and Corey LaJoie are still looking for a 2021 ride, while Kyle Larson is looking to get back into NASCAR. Rumors indicate that Larson is favorited to fill the No. 88 for Hendrick Motorsports, but it’s unclear if he will have the support from Chevrolet and the sponsorship. Anything is on the table with Larson at this point.

Clint Bowyer retiring from full-time NASCAR shakes up “silly season” even more for the 2021 season. Fans will miss seeing Bowyer on the track, as he’s yet another fan-favorite to hang up the fire suit. However, his addition to the FOX booth will be great for TV and NASCAR as a whole. He’s called Xfinity Series races in the past, and called iRacing during the heat of the pandemic.

Congrats to Bowyer on a great career, and best of luck in the booth!