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Clint Bowyer lands ride with HScott before replacing Tony Stewart

DOVER, Del. -- Clint Bowyer said Wednesday that losing his ride at Michael Waltrip Racing at the end of this year but gaining a 2017 seat at Stewart-Haas Racing was like falling in cow manure and coming out smelling like roses.

On Friday during a rainout at Dover International Speedway, Bowyer revealed what he'll be doing for the year in between. He'll pilot HScott Motorsports' lead Chevrolet, bringing longtime partner 5-Hour Energy to sponsor him for 24 races in his transitional season between Michael Waltrip Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing.

"What a whirlwind year, to say the least, trying times on everybody," Bowyer said in a news conference to announce the one-year deal at Dover International Speedway.

"This is arguably the best opportunity I've had in my whole career," he added. "It all starts at HScott Motorsports and it just keeps building. To come out of all that happened with MWR and smell like roses, like I said on Wednesday, is truly amazing.

"This is a big deal for me -- my life, my career -- and I didn't want to mess it up. I couldn't be more happy and excited for what's ahead."

Bowyer's whirlwind extends well beyond the last couple of years. After starting his Cup Series career with Richard Childress Racing, he joined Michael Waltrip's team and found immediate success, winning a total of three races and finishing second to Jimmie Johnson in the 2012 Cup standings.

But Bowyer was at the center of "Spingate," when he allegedly spun on purpose during the cutoff race for the 2013 Chase at Richmond in an effort to help his MWR teammate Martin Truex's chances. MWR was heavily fined and lost title sponsor NAPA Auto Parts, sparking a chain of events that ultimately led to the team's planned demise at the end of the 2015 season.

Learning in June that he was looking at a stint in the unemployment line, Bowyer set to work and quickly secured his future, but found himself in an unusual circumstance where he had to seek out a one-year package for 2016 in advance of his known move to Stewart-Haas a year later.

"Harry Scott was the lead candidate in all of that," Bowyer said. "Building on his relationship with Hendrick and Stewart-Haas is the basis on which we're going to build our success. It's going to be a lot of fun. There's not a lot of pressure because we're building an organization.

"I don't want to leave Harry with nothing at the end of this," Bowyer added. "We're going to build a great program and an established team where he can put the next driver in and go for broke, like he did with me."

Scott, who took over Phoenix Racing at the end of 2013 and has rebuilt the team from top to bottom, is excited at the prospect of fielding a Cup series race winner and prior championship contender in his growing team.

HScott currently campaigns Cup cars for Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett, as well as entries in the Xfinity Series and K&N Pro Series. Annett is expected to return in 2016, but Allgaier's future with the team is uncertain.

"Clint is a 10-year veteran who brings leadership, experience and winning ways to our organization," remarked team owner Harry Scott Jr. "His personality and enthusiasm for racing is something that we are going to welcome, and though he'll only be with us for one year, we plan to make the most of it, on and off the track.

"Our goal next year is to win races, to make the Chase, and contend for a championship," Scott continued. Now I feel we have all the ingredients necessary to achieve that goal. It's a very big day for our organization. We're still a young race team and if I look at where we've come in the past two years, it's amazing. We're still on an upward trajectory and that makes me more optimistic than anything else."

Bowyer qualified for this year's Chase with MWR, but his hopes were impacted when his team and crew chief Billy Scott were assessed a P4-level violation at Chicagoland Speedway for an improperly mounted track bar. Bowyer was docked 25 points and is 16th and last in the Chase standings heading into Sunday's cutoff race at Dover, 39 points behind 12th-place Dale Earnhardt Jr.

"We've got to win, but believe it or not, last year's champion [Kevin Harvick] has to win too," Bowyer said.