As team owner Richard Childress took questions from reporters Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Clint Bowyer looked on with a keen ear to what his current and soon-to-be former boss had to say.
Bowyer officially announced he would leave Richard Childress Racing for Michael Waltrip Racing last weekend at Kansas, saying he was "surprised" and "disappointed" he could not work out a deal with RCR.
This weekend, Childress had the floor and was able to offer his thoughts on the failed negotiations with Bowyer.
"We knew what our financial model was, and Clint knew where he needed to be, and we just couldn't never come together to make it work," he said. "We had the car completely sponsored, but it just didn't work out."
With a car completely funded for the following season, it seems the issue that caused the rift between the two centered on Bowyer's salary.
Rumors swirled throughout the summer months about Bowyer's demands, one of which involved helicopter rides from the track. Throughout it all, Bowyer denied the rumors -- he even joked about a friend requesting a miniature pony as part of the deal.
Childress said he was "very sad" the two could not come to an agreement, despite the failed negotiations.
"He's going to be a really great driver," Childress said of Bowyer. "You never say never; hopefully he'll be back someday at RCR."
Looking ahead to next year, Childress expects RCR to cut back to a competitive three-car team that occasionally runs a fourth car with grandson Austin Dillon behind the wheel.
After fielding numerous questions about sponsorship, negotiations with Bowyer and the future of RCR, Bowyer interjected – trying to change the subject to an announced partnership with Cheerios and the USO to send postcards to the families of service members – "How about them postcards?"
"Yeah, somebody ask me about the postcards," Childress said with a smile.