CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET met with media and discussed racing at Bristol, last week's race at Atlanta, changes to the track, plus much more. ON MAKING A STRONG STATEMENT THIS SEASON AND RACING AT BRISTOL... "Well, certainly our cars...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET met with media and discussed racing at Bristol, last week's race at Atlanta, changes to the track, plus much more.
ON MAKING A STRONG STATEMENT THIS SEASON AND RACING AT BRISTOL... "Well, certainly our cars have been way better than they were last year; I'm very excited about that. And um, we had a hiccup last week. We had a bad race in Atlanta and we were able to work hard and dig deep and we had ourselves running in contention for another sixth place finish at Atlanta. But you know circumstances at the end of the race prohibited that we ended up 23rd and crashed. It's a bummer though, but it's a long road ahead, yet and we got to just need to keep digging, keep being consistent, staying upfront, and doing the things that we're doing and we'll be there."
WHAT DO YOU EXPECT TO COME OUT OF THE MEETING BETWEEN CARL EDWARDS AND BRAD KESELOSWSKI TOMORROW? "I didn't even know they had one. I'm sure a big hug and enjoyment and satisfaction and big smiles. I would expect that. Does that sound correct?"
I EXPECT THAT THEY'LL BE WATCHED PRETTY CLOSELY BY NASCAR ON SUNDAY, BUT HOW CLOSELY DO YOU THINK EVERYONE WILL BE WATCHED IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAPPENED IN ATLANTA? "I definitely think everyone will be watched a lot more. You know, they said that they're going to allow us to work things out and they have pretty much set a precedent that they are going to do that. A three-race probation for Carl, and I don't think you're going to see anymore problems there. That got scary enough and I think enough is enough, and they were probably told that and realized that after a scary incident there. We're at Bristol. Anything can happen here. As luck would have it, I guarantee that they'll be side by side, probably starting the race. It's just the way it is. Throughout my racing career it never failed, you would be racing your arch-rival at your local race track. You'd go to the big race either in Boone, Iowa, or somewhere, and you'd start side-by-side with each other in the first heat race of the week.
"It's just the way it is, and I think that is God's way of having a little enjoyment. You know, awesome race track here; it is a lot of fun. I think the thing to be most concerned about here and to watch is this wall and how it plays out over the course of the race and how that changes things. It looks like turn four carries down a little bit rather than off of [turn] two; it's tight in the corners coming off of our and I'm looking forward to seeing that more than I'm looking forward to any rivalry or anything like that."
RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING IS OBVIOUSLY BETTER THIS YEAR. CAN YOU TELL IF YOU GUYS HAVE CLOSED THE GAP ON THE PEOPLE THAT WERE AHEAD OF YOU? OR DO YOU SEE THAT YOU'RE BETTER AND THOSE GUYS WILL IMPROVE AND IT HASN'T REALLY CHANGED ANY? "I definitely think we closed the gap. They're closer to us. Last year, we couldn't see them a lot of races, and now we can see them and we're passing them. So it's a lot more fun to be able to
race against them. We're enjoying ourselves and everyone is working hard. We're not where we want to be yet, but the thing that I'm most excited about is the direction we're headed as a company and the things that we're doing to be good not only here this weekend, but on into the future."
YOUR THOUGHTS WHEN YOU FIRST SAW THE EXITS OF TURNS TWO AND FOUR AND YOU SORT OF EYEBALLED IT, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST REACTION? "This is tight quarters anyway. It used to be that you couldn't pass somebody without uprooting them off the bottom and potentially wrecking them and causing a huge uproar, and I know that people like to see that. But it was good racing, racing side-by-side around here, having the option of being able to get up beside a guy, diamonding the corner and getting off underneath of him. I thought it was awesome racing. I thought they did an awesome job repaving the place. You know, time will tell; maybe it won't change anything, but it looks pretty tight."
BACK TO THE BRAD/CARL INCIDENT. IS THAT GOOD FOR THE SPORT SINCE PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT IT? IT WAS LIKE THE LEAD STORY ON ABC NEWS AFTERWARD. "Well I mean, they say any news is good news. But that was--that could have been bad. That's a different kind of news, that's a different kind of news all together. You know, that could have been extremely bad, and we're just extremely lucky that it wasn't bad and that they weren't talking about other things. We got to learn from that mistake--all of us as a group, and handle it accordingly and go on. That's the biggest thing, we need to learn from it and go on."
DO YOU REMEMBER ANY INCIDENTS OR ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED HERE AT BRISTOL THAT STICK OUT IN YOUR MIND, MAYBE EVEN FROM BEFORE YOU WERE HERE RACING LIKE YOU ARE NOW? "Probably that Earnhardt/Labonte [incident] that's the one that always comes up and you see it and you're like that was pretty bad. That's the way those guys [raced], there are hard-nosed racers, and that's why this track is awesome, that's why it packs that house every time we have a race here. That's why the grandstands are to keep going higher and higher because of the racing that it holds within the bull ring here. It's just a lot of fun. I love this race track. You can come out of here with a smile on your face or pissed off beyond belief, but nevertheless, this is an awesome race track."
I DON'T KNOW IF YOU'VE STRUGGLED HERE BEFORE, OR HAD A BAD CAR, BUT WHAT IS IT LIKE WHEN YOU HAVE A CAR THAT IS JUST NOT WORKING FOR THE 500? "Worse that any track we've ever been to. I mean growing up, any track you have ever been to because you cannot get out of the way, you can't get settled in, and you can't get comfortable.
And I mean if you're really loose, you're trying to just settle in somewhere and find a hole to take a breath and get your composure--it ain't going to happen. You better just do it right while you're holding on to the thing and try to maintain because the next thing that is going to happen is that you get turned around and wrecked. It happens so fast here. Everything happens so fast here. You just got to maintain and try to hold your composure throughout the race. That's what happens here, you get into somebody accidently, or they'll get into you and turn you sideways a bit and they'll ruffle your feathers, but you better get calmed back down and settled in or you're in for a long rest of the race."
HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN INCIDENT HERE WHERE YOU'VE COME DOWN BOTH PIT ROADS UNDER GREEN? "No, but I've seen sports greats do it [come down both pit roads under green]. When one of the best drivers in the sport has a mistake like that, you see it and you're like if he can do it anybody can do it. You have to learn from that and I think we all did. It is tricky because there is so much going on. You go out there and your heads in it. You're trying to pass the car in front of you, or you're trying to figure out where you can gain grip, trying to figure out what you need to do to make your car faster so you can keep up. There are just so many things that are normal for every race track, but you have to confine them to a pretty tight area, so there are just a lot of things happening fast throughout your mind, that it's easy to slip up and make that mistake. It's just natural, everything you do is off the cuff and by the seat of your pants and in that split-second decision and you just do it and things happen here and certainly that's one of the things that can bite you in a big way.
-source: gm racing