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Friday, September 16, 2011
Clint Bowyer deal with MWR imminent?

By David Newton
ESPN.com

JOLIET, Ill. -- Clint Bowyer is in serious negotiations to drive next season for Michael Waltrip Racing and said Friday he hopes to have a deal in the next two weeks.

"There are still a lot of things to work out with sponsors and everything, but it would be a good home for me," Bowyer said from Chicagoland Speedway, site of this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race.

Meanwhile, multiple sources told ESPN.com that the Toyota team is looking to expand to a third Sprint Cup team with Bowyer, whose contract with Richard Childress Racing expires after this season.

Waltrip acknowledged interest in expanding, saying the organization is trying to upgrade on all fronts to become a Chase-worthy organization.

Bowyer has been courted by several organizations, but his options have dwindled in the past few weeks, with Richard Petty Motorsports withdrawing its offer, and Childress saying it didn't appear Bowyer would return to RCR.

It's opened the door for MWR to make a play for Bowyer, who has the qualities Waltrip and co-owner Rob Kauffman are seeking for their organization.

"I can confirm we have had very productive conversations with Clint and a quality sponsor. Today, however, we don't have anything finalized and we're not in a position to make any formal announcements," Waltrip said. "Our goal has never changed. Rob and I want to continue to improve the competitiveness of our team and be a consistent winner at NASCAR's highest level. Pursuing Chase-proven personnel, including drivers, has been a priority. As soon as we have more information to share, we will."

MWR currently fields two teams with Martin Truex Jr. and David Reutimann, and supplies cars for Bobby Labonte and JTG Daugherty Racing out of its Cornelius, N.C., shop.

Sources said JTG Daugherty Racing may cut its tie to MWR but remain in the sport with Labonte as its driver in 2012.

With Bowyer apparently leaving RCR, the organization is looking at dropping the No. 33 Sprint Cup team to the Nationwide Series for Austin Dillon, the grandson of team owner Richard Childress.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com