— #TheChase (@NASCAR) November 22, 2015
Coming off a win at Phoenix, Dale Earnhardt Jr. had high hopes for the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Clint Bowyer was simply hoping to close out a four-year tenure with Michael Waltrip Racing that will end after this season.
Unfortunately, both saw their hopes come to a screeching halt on Lap 45. Bowyer made contact with Ty Dillon, sending him hard into Junior and taking out several other cars in the field, including Aric Almirola, Tony Stewart and Casey Mears.
“Extremely disappointed to end this way,” Bowyer said. “I was optimistic about today, this is one of my best tracks. But I pitted and came off pit road and the car just went to complete hell. … I got squirrely and the car just came out from underneath me.”
Earnhardt brought a similar setup to his strong race at Texas earlier in the Chase. Leading up to the Ford EcoBoost 500, Earnhardt even said he would block for teammate Jeff Gordon if given the opportunity.
He pitted multiple times to fix the damage, but ultimately wasn’t able to have the impact on the race he hoped for on Sunday.
Mears was clearly upset after the incident, placing the blame on Michael McDowell for his massive damage.
It was a hard hit, but Casey said he’s okay. He’s more upset about the person that ran over him because he had the crash cleared. #NASCAR
— GEICO Racing (@GEICORacing) November 22, 2015
Along with Bowyer, MWR teammate David Ragan was also involved in the wreck. Michael Waltrip Racing will close its doors after this year, moving to a part-time schedule moving forward. Bowyer will move to HScott Racing in 2016 before taking over Stewart’s seat with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017.