Clint Bowyer just wrapped up the worst season in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, finishing 27th in points with only three top-10 finishes. The championship runner-up from 2012 was outright uncompetitive at times, especially in qualifying.
The reality was worse than the perception. Bowyer, via his personal corporation, has sued HScott Motorsports and team owner Harry Scott, Jr. for more than $2 million in back pay, according to ESPN.
In the lawsuit, Bowyer claims HScott Motorsports has missed multiple payments due to him for his driving. In addition, Bowyer says he is owed money from sponsors such as 5-Hour ENERGY and Peak Antifreeze that he brought to the team from the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing. The sponsors paid the team as per their contracts, but Scott and/or the team reportedly kept all the money, including the finder’s fee due to Bowyer.
In addition, the complaint states that Bowyer believes the team is using the money that is owed to him in order to pay other creditors.
What is the future of the team he drove for this year, HScott Motorsports? While nothing has officially been announced, both the lawsuit and a statement from Robert Muckenfuss indicate that the team will likely close the doors sometime in the near future.
“We were forced to file the lawsuit after the season because several payments had not been made and we were made aware that Scott was liquidating assets but still not paying [Bowyer],” Muckenfuss wrote. “We were also made aware that Scott was selling the No. 15’s charter and asking NASCAR for approval to transfer the charter with no intention of paying [Bowyer].”
HScott Motorsports ran as a two-car team in 2016 with both Bowyer’s No. 15 and Michael Annett‘s No. 46 locked into the field. The No. 46 used a leased charter from Premium Motorsports for the 2016 season. That charter will likely be returned to Premium Motorsports owner Jay Robinson.
The 2016 Sprint Cup Series season was always going to be a lame duck year for Bowyer. Michael Waltrip Racing shut down at the end of 2015 and Bowyer already had a steady ride for 2017, replacing the retiring Tony Stewart in the No. 14 at Stewart-Haas Racing. The thought was that Bowyer and the sponsorship he brought would be able to raise Scott’s team’s profile in the interim; however, the results were never there as Bowyer struggled out of the gate and never really got going. While Bowyer did outperform Justin Allgaier, who he replaced in the car, he wasn’t significantly much better than the Illinois native, who dropped down to JR Motorsports in the XFINITY Series.