KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Clint Bowyer rolled into Kansas Speedway on Friday with the comfort of knowing he’ll be with Stewart-Haas Racing next season and the uncertainty of whether he’ll be in the playoffs next week.

Bowyer reached a contract extension with SHR to remain in the No. 14 Ford regardless of what happens Sunday, when he faces postseason elimination. He sits 11th in the 12-driver field with the bottom four drivers eliminated after the race at Kansas Speedway.

“Unfortunately the nature of the business, all that stuff falls on top of managing (the playoffs), but you just have to have good people around you,” said Bowyer, who has been with SHR for three of his 15 seasons in NASCAR’s top series. “Everybody did a good job of getting that handled, doing it in a manner that I don’t have to worry about it.”

Bowyer was hired to replace team co-owner Tony Stewart following his retirement after the 2016 season. That deal was done more than a year ahead of time, a rarity then and something that has become nearly nonexistent in an era in which contracts are often signed at the last minute.

“Listen, it’s always a good thing,” Bowyer said. “I don’t feel like I was racing for my career anyway. I race because I love to do it. I love to come back here and everything else. There’s a lot of pride to be part of a sport like this, something you’ve been doing it since you were a little boy.

“Doing it another year? Yes, that’s great and according to plan. But right now the plan is all about trying to stay alive in these playoffs and winning a championship.”

Kyle Larson won at Dover and Ryan Blaney won last week’s rain-delayed race at Talladega, locking them into the eight-driver semifinal round that begins next week at Martinsville.

NASCAR CLOSED its $2 billion purchase of International Speedway Corp., bringing under the sanctioning body’s control 12 tracks that include Daytona, Talladega and Miami-Homestead Speedway.

The merger was announced in May and shareholders voted to approve it Wednesday.

The sale merges the two companies under one organizational structure with the NASCAR chairman and CEO, Jim France, continuing in the same role. The ISC chief executive, Lesa France Kennedy, will become the executive chair and the NASCAR president, Steve Phelps, will oversee day-to-day operations of the merged companies.

“The merger of NASCAR and ISC represents a historic moment for our sport,” France said. “There is much work ahead of us, but we’re pleased with the progress made to position our sport for success.”

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