NASCAR: Scott expects smooth transition with Bowyer
DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) Billy Scott sounds prepared to step into the role of Clint Bowyer's new crew chief and perk up the sluggish Michael Waltrip Racing team.
Scott said he is familiar enough with the workings of the organization over the past few years to be comfortable in any situation. Scott was crew chief for MRW's other car driven by David Ragan. On Tuesday, the organization announced a leadership swap, with Bowyer's crew chief Brian Pattie taking over Ragan's car.
Scott said Wednesday the moves were made to help both cars qualify for NASCAR's championship Chase.
''We've got enough time to do that,'' Scott said. ''It's just a good opportunity in the season to try something different.''
And different, Bowyer said, is what's needed during a mediocre season.
Bowyer is without a victory and 17th in points, one slot out of qualifying for the season-ending playoffs. His best finish was seventh at the first Sprint Cup race in Daytona four months ago and he has added just two more top 10s in the 13 races since.
Ragan is the replacement driver for Brian Vickers, the MWR driver sidelined with blood clots. Ragan has run four races in the No. 55 car, his best finish a 13th place at Dover two races ago. Ragan's best showing this year was finishing fifth at Martinsville, when he was subbing for injured Kyle Busch with Joe Gibbs Racing. Ragan is 23rd in points.
''We've certainly got a lot of work to do and got to make the cars better to give (Scott) a chance,'' Bowyer said. ''Communication can always be better and that's what we're working on with this change.''
Scott believes the two MWR teams have similar styles that will shorten any adjustment period.
''There'll be different guys that I'll be dealing with directly,'' Scott said. ''There are people that have been around our company for a long time and we've all worked so closely together that even though yesterday was the first day, it doesn't feel all that different.''
Bowyer, Scott and the No. 15 team were among several programs taking part in test sessions this week at Darlington Raceway. Bowyer ran in a Goodyear tire test on Tuesday before a final open test session for several teams on Wednesday.
Bowyer said Scott is a young, smart innovator with good ideas who can give mechanics and engineers shop strong information about what's needed at the track.
''It's a people business,'' Bowyer said. ''And when they're hitting on all eight cylinders and in the right positions, it's pretty fun to see it work at its best. Certainly, wasn't getting the result and it's the first of many changes, hopefully.''
Scott sees no problems blending with Bowyer, who hasn't won a Sprint Cup race since October 2012 at Charlotte. Scott hopes when the team returns to Darlington in three months, it has earned a win to lock up a spot in the Chase.
''Going to Michigan is short planning, but I think the timing's good that we do have a test,'' Scott said, ''to give everybody a chance to work together. The off week (after Michigan) will be a good chance to kind of review that and make some tweaks.''
And get MWR pointed in the right direction.