CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed racing at Pocono this weekend, the new gear rule, winning the Prelude and much more.
TALK ABOUT COMING INTO POCONO THIS WEEKEND. “I’m looking forward to it. We’ve had a lot of good runs here. Fun race track. Very challenging race track. It is always excited to get the cars unloaded on Friday and see what you’ve got for a racer. We really had a good baseline package going on there for about six weeks and the last two weeks the package really hasn’t been working so the boys have been working really hard trying to cipher through all the data and try to figure out why it wasn’t working on those race tracks. I think hopefully that package is going to be good here. We’ve all got a lot of confidence in it. I think it will be a good race.”
RICHARD CHILDRESS JUST MADE HIS STATEMENT OUTSIDE THE HAULER, WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT RICHARD AND WHAT KIND OF A GUY HE IS? “His passion I think is the biggest thing for this sport. He takes a lot of pride in having success in this sport. He takes it very seriously. Here is a man that is 65 years old and still every bit as big a part of this sport and our organization as he was when it started and probably even more. We’ve got close to 500 employees and he works very hard to make sure all of them have a job. I think that’s the biggest thing, his passion for this sport is second to none. He doesn’t let anything get in the way of his dreams and making it a reality.”
WITH THE NEW GEAR RULE HERE, WHAT KIND OF DIFFERENCE IS THAT GOING TO MAKE AND WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SHIFT? “Is that our push to pass button? I don’t know. There was a couple of times even in the last couple of years getting down into (turn) one you get really bottled up and you’d actually reach down and grab your gear anyway you’d be bogged down so much that you felt like you needed to. Only time will tell. We’ll have to get out there on the race track. I don’t know that it will be an every lap deal. Certainly, probably, maybe on restarts but we just have to get out there and feel it out and see what we’ve got. I’ve never shifted here before but like I said it’s not that big of a deal. We shift on the road courses all the time and it’s really kind of a given. You can tell by the pitch in the engine, you don’t even have to look at the tach and know what rpm you are, you can tell by listening to the engine if you need to reach down and get you a gear.”
YOU MENTIONED YOUR CAR BEING A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, IS THERE ANYTHING SPECIFIC THAT YOU CAN POINT TO THAT’S MADE THE DIFFERENCE? “Yeah, that lap tracker. The time is not as quick as it was as the few weeks before. That’s the biggest thing that I saw. What stood out in my mind was the 18th-place finish verses the top-fives we were having. We’ve got to get back to working. They’ve been working hard. That’s the good thing about my race team. I don’t feel like it does me any good to go in there and chew their butts and yell and scream at them. They see the results. Step back and let them go to work. If its three or four weeks of that you better get to doing something but nine times out of ten sometimes saying nothing is best.”
AS A DRIVER IF YOU WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING FOR ANY DAMAGES YOU DID TO ANOTHER CAR AFTER THE CHECKERED FLAG, WOULD THAT CURTAIL ANY KIND OF EMOTION? “Man I don’t know. Ask somebody that gets road rage or runs somebody on the highway was it worth it they would probably tell you yes. After they paid for it they would probably tell you no. It’s just one of those things. It’s over with. We’ve got to look for a new story.”
HOW WOULD YOU EVALUATE WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW AND HEADING INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE REGULAR SEASON WHAT’S A WEAKNESS OR A TYPE OF TRACK YOU GUYS NEED TO ADDRESS TO GET BETTER? “I still have a lot of confidence in our program. We just had a bad race. A lot of pressure was on that Kansas Speedway race, not only for myself but our race team. They know how important it was too me. We just came off a truck win. We struggled to find a good handle on the car. That’s happens to everybody in this sport. We’ve got to be able to bounce back and rebound from that and have a good run here. This has been a very good race track for us and I feel like a track that we can win at some day. We have to walk into this track with that approach in mind and go out and make it happen.”
... the satisfaction and the pride of winning ...
TO THE BEST OF YOUR KNOWLEDGE IS THE ISSUE OF GETTING ALL THE FUEL IN THE CAR SOMETHING EVERYBODY IS HAVING TO DEAL WITH AND HOW MUCH TO YOU THINK THAT IS AFFECTING THESE FUEL MILEAGE OUTCOMES? “We’ve obviously had some teams with some issues more than other teams. I think that as far as our team goes, knock on wood we haven’t had any trouble with that. We’ve been able to calculate our fuel mileage pretty well and get to the end of these things and make the best of that opportunity. We haven’t done as good of a job as some of the teams to take advantage of that opportunity. That’s the biggest thing. You’ve got to have the cajones to go for it and you’ve got to be man enough to stand up when it doesn’t work and say at least you tried. That’s the biggest thing about it, is it’s a pretty big gamble. There’s a lot to wager right there. There’s a lot on the line if it doesn’t work out but I’m telling you, you can change a bad day into a good day pretty quick if it does work out. Worked out well for some guys last weekend and not so well for others. One Penske car it worked out well the other Penske car not so much. As far as getting the fuel in the car and things like that, having to wait just a little bit longer is the biggest thing that I’ve noticed, is you see your tires guys done, no more impacts zinging and you’re still up on the jack and you’re like what’s going on? You think maybe one of them hung a lug nut or something then all of a sudden it comes down and you realized it was the gas that you were waiting on. Had that a couple of times. As far as getting it to the end and actually getting the fuel in the car I think that just happens to be the talent or whatever putting it in there.”
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE SATISFACTION AND PRIDE YOU TAKE AWAY FROM BEING A VICTOR IN THE PRELUDE BUT ALSO THE GOOD THAT IS DONE WITH THAT EVENT AS WELL? ”Well I think the satisfaction and the pride of winning against some of the best drivers in the world, that’s huge. A lot of champions in that race. It means a lot to us to be able to participate in that race but I’m telling you the sense of pride to be able to win and be a part of something that’s such a great cause. Tony (Stewart) does such a good job. I’m telling you we have a charity event every year, it’s so hard to raise money for charity and to raise the kind of money he has continued to raise over the last few years for various causes is just unbelievable. That’s a lot of hard work on a lot of peoples parts to make an event like that go down and have that kind of success rate. I was very proud of Tony for putting on a great show year in and year out and having so much fun doing it.”
GIVEN THE CHOICE OF WINNING MULTIPLE RACES AND NOT MAKING THE CHASE OR MAKING THE CHASE WITH ZERO WINS RIGHT NOW WHAT WOULD YOU TAKE? “At the end of the week, making the Chase. Look at your opportunity there. You’ve got an opportunity to win a championship. If you win a championship nobody is going to care if you won zero races or 12 races, you’ve won a championship and that trophy is a hell of a lot bigger than any other trophy a race track gives you and so is the check.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE GENERAL OPINION OF KYLE BUSCH IS IN THE GARAGE? “Come on. He’s just a great guy. (laughter) Truth be told Kyle Busch is one of the best drivers in the sport. Everybody knows that and everybody has pretty much a uniform opinion about his personality. It’s the same for everybody I think. What you see is what you get. That’s what is great about this sport. You guys do a good job of covering it and people get wonderful opportunities to see and understand what a driver is like. We have fans ask me all the time what’s Kyle Busch really like, what’s Tony Stewart or Jeff Gordon, what are these guys really like and that’s the answer I give them all the time. We cover this sport well and what you see is what you get. There is enough opportunity there, both sides, whatever side of that person is going to come out.”