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Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have followed similar career paths. After retiring from the Cup Series, both headed up to the broadcast booth and now provide driver analysis during races — Earnhardt has been at NBC since 2018, and Bowyer completed his first year at Fox this season.

With the 2022 season and debut of the Next Gen car just a few months away, NASCAR invited both former drivers and Tony Stewart to give the car a trial run at Bowman Gray Stadium this week. After the runs were complete, the two drivers-turned-broadcasters talked about their experiences and provided a noticeably different version of who was the fastest.

Clint Bowyer brags about having fastest time

On the latest episode of NASCAR Race Hub, show host Shannon Spake talked about the big day in Winston-Salem at Bowman Gray and then turned over the show to Larry McReynolds and Clint Bowyer trackside.

“Shannon, there’s never a bad day at the racetrack,” McReynolds opened. “But to be here, getting ready for the Clash in the LA Coliseum, I was on the headset. Clint was in the race car. You were fast,” he said to the driver. 

“We were fast, Larry,” Bowyer responded. “I had a crew chief. America’s Crew Chief had me dialed in at Bowman Gray Stadium. I live here in Winston-Salem. I’ve always wanted to be here. The only place I’ve ever been is the beer garden up there, unfortunately. But now I can say I’ve been on the racetrack. And not only that, I was faster than Dale Earnhardt Jr.”

“By a long shot,” McReynolds interjected.  

“And my old boss Tony Stewart. I love it,” Bowyer finished. 

“Yes, you were,” McReynolds affirmed. 

Bowyer was general on lap times during the Race Hub broadcast, just declaring himself the victor. After the track session, he provided specifics to reporters on how much faster he was than the other two drivers.

“I was like half a second faster than Junior, and I hung a few tenths on (Stewart), I’m happy,” he said.

Dale Earnhardt calls Clint Bowyer a liar 

After his trial run, Dale Earnhardt Jr. visited with reporters and talked about how much he enjoyed the car and how different it is from anything he’s ever driven in the past. 

“I’m using the brake pedal the same way that I’ve used the brake pedal all my life, but this car stops so much better,” Earnhardt said. “I’m over-slowing the car way too much in the corners. It has a bigger tire on it, more grip. It has better drive off the corner with that tire. It just does everything better.”

Several hours later, Earnhardt replied on Twitter to a story by NBC’s Dustin Long that quoted Bowyer boasting of a faster time.

“Clint telling lies. He’s was the slowest,” Earnhardt tweeted. 

The two-time Daytona 500 winner then tagged his Dale Jr. Download podcast producer Matthew Dillner, who provided his account of lap times and took his own shot at Bowyer in the process. 

“By far Clint was slowest,” Dillner wrote. “Speed Chart: 1) @TonyStewart 2) @DaleJr 3) track sweeper 4) @ClintBowyer.”

Tony Stewart performed a specific role

Who recorded the fastest lap time between Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr.? Unless someone was tasked with recording official lap times, fans will never know for sure.   

While NASCAR invited Bowyer and Earnhardt to drive the car in order to familiarize themselves with the vehicle before talking about it during next year’s race broadcasts, Tony Stewart was specifically there to perform a tire test for Goodyear.

“Goodyear had a good plan coming into today, and I think they’re pretty happy with the results that they got,” Stewart said.

The Next Gen car will return to the track for more testing with Cup Series drivers on Nov. 17-18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. There are additional tests scheduled for Dec. 14-15 at Phoenix, Jan. 11-12 at Daytona, and in late January at Las Vegas.

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