I fell into a pile of cow poo and came out smelling of Roses...

Clint Bowyer began the season with a three-year contract to drive for Michael Waltrip. He got an even better deal - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - before he even completed the first season of his new contract.

Bowyer is the successor for three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, who will retire at the end of 2016. Bowyer will get into the No. 14 Chevrolet in 2017.

He became available when MWR decided to cease operations at the end of this season and released Bowyer from his contract.

''I don't think I got fired; it just went away, and somehow (I) landed in a way better situation,'' Bowyer said at Stewart-Haas Racing, where he was introduced Wednesday alongside Stewart. ''Do you ever hear that term, 'When you fall in a pile of cow manure and come out smelling like roses?' That's exactly what this is for me.''

The day wasn't a complete success for Bowyer: His championship chances effectively ended when an appeals panel found NASCAR was correct in penalizing the No. 15 team for an illegally modified part two weeks ago at Chicagoland Speedway.

The penalty cost Bowyer 25 points in the standings and dropped him to last in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. Four drivers from the 16-driver field will be eliminated this weekend in Dover, Delaware. Barring a victory, Bowyer will not advance to the second round.

He made no mention Wednesday of the penalty or his time at MWR. He was focused only on the opportunity ahead of him, and indicated he will announce soon where he will spend 2016 as he waits out Stewart's final year. Bowyer is likely headed to HScott Motorsports in a deal that will give him a seat and the team support from SHR.

''You have an opportunity to sit in one of the best rides ever in the history of the sport,'' Bowyer said. ''This is a champion's seat that I'm filling. This is an unbelievable opportunity. To think of that door opening, and holy cow, the timing couldn't have been any better for myself. Somebody was looking after me.

''When I heard that that seat was open, I was on board. They didn't have to call me.''

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