Dover International Speedway
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed racing at Dover, NASCAR penalties and other topics.
ARE YOU EXCITED TO COME BACK TO DOVER AND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TRACK?: “I’m super excited to be back at Dover. It’s always a wild and action-packed weekend here. Fun race track for everybody. Hopefully we can continue to have cars like we’ve been unloading. Really excited about getting underway in practice here and seeing what we’ve got for a car.”
I’m looking forward to the weekend.
DO YOU FEEL LIKE DOVER OWES YOU ONE?: “This has been a good track for me. We’ve won two Nationwide races here. Run well, just always struggle to get a good finish here. Just really, really focused on getting a good finish. Especially after last weekend. That’s what bums me out the most. Had a great car and was going to have another solid run for us and just got wiped out there at the end. Usually when you’re in that situation you’re coming off a bad run, you’re all bummed out, but things have been going so well. Our car was fast when it happened and I see no reason why we’re not going to unload here and be good. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
HAS ADDING THE FOURTH TEAM AT RCR IMPACTED THE PERFORMANCE OF THE OTHER TEAMS?: “No, absolutely not. It’s been a great asset to everybody at RCR (Richard Childress Racing). Jeff (Burton), Kevin (Harvick) and I have all benefitted from bringing on that team. Paul’s (Menard) done a great job. I knew last year when I started hearing that he might be a teammate of mine that it was going to be good. I knew once he got in our equipment that he was going to run a lot better than he has. Proud of that team and what they’ve been able to accomplish. They’ve brought stuff to the table. That’s what’s good -- when a team, you can add a team and they can actually bring some stuff to the table and help out. That’s what team work is all about. I think it’s been good. Jeff -- it’s frustrating for me to see him struggling. They are running good, they have good cars, just absolutely nothing can go Jeff’s way right now. I feel bad for him. Obviously, everybody has been in that situation, everybody knows what that’s like -- you never worked so hard and tried so hard in your life and you can’t get the result out of it. Bummed out for him, but he’ll get it turned around.”
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF ‘BOYS HAVE AT IT?’: “I haven’t -- I don’t know what all happened. I went to Kansas Speedway and was doing a media day this week and was off in the Midwest in my own world. I saw what had happened at Dover -- both instances when NASCAR stepped in, I think we all understood why. I think last year was too far and obviously that could have been a bad thing on pit road. Everything else, it doesn’t matter where you’re racing across the country and what level of racing there is -- you race hard and you try 100 percent at all times and when thing happen, emotions get the best of you sometimes and sparks will fly. That’s not just the nature of NASCAR racing -- it’s the nature of auto racing from the day I started until the today.”
CAN YOU AVOID BEING THE INNOCENT BYSTANDER WHEN THINGS ERUPT BETWEEN OTHER DRIVERS?: “Obviously, looking back on it, just don’t put yourself in that situation. That’s what I told Shane (crew chief) -- I was just sick to my stomach. We focused so hard on getting a solid run there. After the last couple years together as this race team, we haven’t been able to even finish and we still haven’t. We got to about 98 percent of the race done and got wrecked with four or five laps to go. They were beating and banging on each other going down the back straightaway, getting into three, I saw Kevin (Harvick) go up to try to retaliate a little bit and show his displeasure and I was like -- my first reaction was just to get away from it. Then I got down there and my car stuck and I was like, this is the best way to get away from them is to pass them both. I saw the opportunity and tried to take it and just got wrecked. Obviously, if I hadn’t tried then I probably could have finished the race and got a good finish. That split second decision -- that’s what I saw and that’s what I tried to do.”
DO YOU WANT MORE CLARITY FROM NASCAR ON THE RULES?: “No. We’re all professionals. I think good old common sense solves a lot of that. Retaliation and things like that, like I said, it’s been in racing ever since I started back in Kansas in a Street Stock car -- that’s the nature of the beast when you’re racing as close as we are, as hard as we are and you’re as passionate about what you do. When you put other people in danger is when things get out of hand. I think both cases kind of got a little bit out of control. There wasn’t nothing that happened at Richmond -- I think that’s a classic case of what I’ve seen over the years -- nine times out of 10 happen.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OF NEXT WEEK’S ALL-STAR RACE?: “The All-Star race, everybody has a different opinion on that. It’s a million dollars to win, you can’t take that from it, but there’s nothing more you can do. It’s still another race. That’s the way I look at it. Every lap I try as hard as I can and if that’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. I can’t reach in my bag of tricks and pick out more speed. If you’re in a situation with a green-white-checkered, you’re going to go for it. Whatever expense -- you’re going to go for it and that’s the situation that can erupt at such a big, prestigious race like that with nothing to lose. That’s a great situation to be in for a fan to be able to watch that and hopefully year after year that same case can play out.”
DO YOU SEE OTHER DRIVERS RAMP IT UP FOR THE ALL-STAR RACE?: “There’s nothing to lose, there’s no consequences about that so you might as well go for it. Usually the teams build a car for that place so that way just in case something happens, it’s not going to set you back for the upcoming races after that. There’s absolutely no consequences, you have to take all the risk, all the gambles that you possibly can and sometimes those will bite you.”
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO THIS TRACK?: “The track itself, just everything. All aspects of it -- passing is a premium. It’s pretty narrow and you need the whole race track. You carry so much speed and momentum around this place, you need the whole race track to get around here. Obviously when you’re trying to turn under somebody, you’re not using as much track and you’re still trying to continue to carry that speed that sails you past the car you’re trying to pass. That’s the hardest place where you can get yourself in trouble is around traffic and trying to pass.”
SHOULD DRIVERS BE PENALIZED FOR HITTING CREW GUYS ON PIT STOPS?: “I think one of them was his own guy. Are you going to penalize him? It was a complete accident -- it was a scary situation. I had a guy after Talladega -- I truly didn’t know I hit this guy and he came up and he was madder than hell. I was like, ‘I’m sorry.’ He was a big jack guy and I thought he was going to beat me up. I was like, ‘All I’ve got is a sorry.’ I truly didn’t even know that I even hit him. I guess I slid out and my left rear actually hit his heel and ran over his heel. That’s how close it is on pit road in some of these race tracks. A lot of times, you don’t intend on hitting anybody, but scary situations happen. I’m glad that they took that catch can guy away from there. I think that was always a bad situation, a potential situation that we don’t need in this sport. The way we come in on those superspeedways, sometimes the brakes don’t stop as good and you lock up. That can put that guy in big time trouble. I think that NASCAR has made the appropriate measures over the years to make pit road as safe as possible, but the cone and things like that. That’s the same rule that we all have to do. That’s what makes pit road difficult and that’s why we all look at pit road as a way to gain on the competition anymore. It is so close and so competitive on the race track, you have to look outside the box in places like pit road. Getting onto pit road is such a big thing. You can make up a second or two seconds getting on pit road. That’s what Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) was trying to do. He was trying as hard as he could to get on pit road as fast as he could because he owed it to the team to do that. He stepped over the line and it bit him. It happens to everybody. Every week somebody has that trouble.”
-source: team chevy