Charlotte II: Bowyer - Thursday media visit

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media to discuss racing with an interim crew chief, the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class, visiting The Price is Right set and more. HAD A GREAT RUN LAST WEEK, I'M...

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media to discuss racing with an interim crew chief, the 2011 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class, visiting The Price is Right set and more.

HAD A GREAT RUN LAST WEEK, I'M SURE YOU WANT TO BUILD UPON THAT AND HAVE ANOTHER ONE HERE AT CHARLOTTE. "Yeah, absolutely. It felt good to get that run under our belts with everything that is going on--no crew chief and everything. Scott Miller did a wonderful job of stepping in and obviously Shane did a good job of having a great plan for all this mess. I was really excited about our run and a little frustrated there at the end, but it is what it is and come here to all of our backyards and hopefully have another good run."

WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET COMING IN? ARE YOU HAPPY BECAUSE YOU HAD A REALLY STRONG REBOUND LAST WEEK OR ARE YOU FRUSTRATED BECAUSE OF EVERYTHING THAT CAME BACK, OR BOTH? "I'm happy. I had a good run. There is a lot of things there, a lot of unknowns going into last week that I was concerned about and everything went according to plan. Everything was set on keel, just like it always is. I don't think we missed a beat with Scott filling in. I was very excited about the way we ran. Obviously I was frustrated at the end--everybody wants to win and when you get that close you feel like you should've won. I sent Tony a text and I said, 'I guess we're even now--I stole one from you and you got me back.' I was happy for him. It was a big win for him and we'll go on."

YOU MENTIONED A FEW WEEKS BACK REALLY WANTING TO WIN TO PUT THIS ALL BEHIND YOU--DO YOU STILL FEEL THAT WAY? YOU FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO WIN A RACE TO DO THAT, OR DID RUNNING SO WELL LAST WEEK TAKE CARE OF THAT? "Well, running well last week put a lot of things to bed. We've been haywire ever since that whole thing happened. We haven't been in it, has two terrible races in a row and I was just very, very excited about the way we ran. To get some of the naysayers and just the doubt in our minds and everybody else's minds put to bed. I really did feel like we needed to win that race, and we do need to win a race. We need to do that for ourselves, for our race team, and just to set the record straight. We're still running up front, we're still capable of running up front. We had a good race here in the spring and I look to do that again here."

SCOTT HAS WON RACES IN THIS SORT OF 'FILL-IN' POSITION BEFORE. HAS IT BEEN SEEMLESS WITH HIM STEPPING IN? WHAT ALLOWS HIM TO DO THAT? "Yeah, it definitely seems pretty seamless with him filling in. He's done a great job, but I think it not only speaks for Shane's plan and strategy--going into this he was ready, he was prepared for it, and all the guys never missed a beat and did their jobs, stepped up a little bit and filled in where needed. Certainly Scott's credentials speak for themselves. I wasn't worried about Scott not being able to do the job; he was a crew chief before, he is our competition director and probably the best person for that job because he's on top of all what is going on. He's the most suitable person for that. Everything that happens on the engineering side at the shop he's in tune with, everything that happens on Sunday he's there and knows what's going on, listens to us every weekend on the radio. He's just a perfect fit there. Actually, after the race on my way home I was thinking we could use this as an opportunity to better ourselves for when Shane and I get back together. Sometimes a change opens your eyes and trips that trigger a little bit, but there are some things that he does different that we could do better at, and some things that we do good at and we need to realize those things and realize your strong points and fix the weak points. I think that these next few weeks could be a positive for us."

HOW MUCH CAN YOU HELP KEVIN HARVICK, HOW MUCH WILL YOU HELP HIM AND IS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOU GUYS HAVE TALKED ABOUT AT RCR? "Well, certainly I want to be the best teammate I can be. I wanted that championship to come home to RCR. I don't care........obviously you want it to be you, but obviously it's looking like that is not going to happen so Kevin's our best shot and Jeff's (Burton) not out of the thing by any means and our cars are capable of getting the job done.

Kevin has done a great job all year long of leading the championship points so I don't think it's a fluke that he is up front and in the running for it right now. You know, if we can continue our togetherness and work together through practices and things like that to hone in on a good package for Sunday then that is all it's about. That's why you have multi-car teams so you can better your program for Sunday through practices, through qualifying and things. That's what in my opinion if I can help him at all -- our qualifying program has been better than Kevin's pretty much all season long and we need to get him qualified better. He can't continue to start back there and run with those guys that start up front. We have to be able to as an organization, qualify better."

AS A YOUNG GUY IN THE SPORT, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE HALL OF FAME CLASS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY? "You know it's that you hear all those names and they are the grandfathers of this sport. You would have thought they would have been in a long time ago but this Hall of Fame is new. So you are hearing all the biggest names of this sport getting inducted in and it's very exciting and I know that it has to be so gratifying for those guys and it has to be something that they have got to be so proud of. Everybody is so proud of the Hall of Fame and the great job they have done with that and I have heard nothing but just awesome feedback from the fans. We were down there doing something for The Hartford a few weeks ago and the fans are just blown away by it so I think that it's neat that those guys are in and they are all big names of this sport and are all just genuine.........the ones that I know are just awesome guys and still when they come to the race track it's pretty cool for me. You know, when David Pearson comes over and talks to you its like, "Wow!" David just came over and talked to me and that is pretty cool. So I am very excited about that and I think it's a great second class and I am happy for them."

LOOKING AHEAD TO MARTINSVILLE, AS A DRIVER DO YOU WISH THERE WERE MORE SHORT TRACKS ON THE SCHEDULE AND DO YOU THINK THAT WOULD FIX SOME OF THE COMPLAINTS YOU HEAR ABOUT NASCAR IF THERE WERE? "I wish they'd use most of these racetracks for parking lots and build another one inside of them, but that's just a short-tracker from the Midwest talking. These bigger tracks--California--that was an awesome race. All race long not just because I was running up front, it was a good race. Even when I wasn't running in the top three or four whoever was, was battling for it. At times Mark Martin got out a little bit and the leader might have gotten away, but it was just a great race. These bigger race tracks can be good racing. Goodyear has done a great job. Sometimes almost too good of a job on these bigger racetracks of creating excitement within the race; I think they have a big role in that. I think the tire has a lot bigger role with this new car than one would think. I wish there was more short tracks. Martinsville, to answer your question, is one that I used to be scared to death of and I look forward to it every time I go back now."

LOOKING AT THE STANDINGS IF YOU ADD 150 POINTS TO YOUR SCORE RIGHT NOW YOU'D BE IN FIFTH INSTEAD OF TONY STEWART. HOW MUCH DO YOU LET THAT DRIVE YOU CRAZY OVER THE REST OF THE CHASE, OR DO YOU JUST KNOW THAT THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT AND MOVE ON? "You can't let that bother you. It's over with and done with. Your goal, everybody says has got to be within 150 points in the last race of the championship. But I don't know that I would want to be in that situation going into the banquet. That would be miserable. I would think I'd steal the trophy and run off or something. It is what it is; the focus is bringing the championship home for RCR, no different than it was the very first race of the season. Right now, certainly Kevin has done a great job of that and Jeff Burton is not out of it, we just got to get him on a little better roll. We got to focus on the things we can do; again, as I touched on before we got to get to qualifying better that way we can run up front throughout the race and everything that comes with qualifying good--the track position, the pit road selection--just everything."

LOT OF TALK ABOUT TALLADEGA BEING A WILDCARD RACE. DOES CHARLOTTE PLAY INTO THAT AS WELL BEING A NIGHT RACE, OR IS THIS TRACK FAMILIAR ENOUGH TO ALL THE CHASE TEAMS THAT IT'S JUST ANOTHER NIGHT RACE AT CHARLOTTE? "Well, you know certainly the night race always brings an extra element of excitement to the air, but I don't think when I'm looking at wildcard races, I don't think Charlotte stacks up like Talladega does. Certainly this is a racetrack that it can be miserable. I've been here before and had great runs and had a good car and all of a sudden with that same package, not run very well and been in the back and struggle all night long. It's very finicky. It's very tricky to get a good balance on your racecar and more importantly keep that track position. One wrong call on pit road of staying out, or two tires, or four tires, or whatever the case may be, you lose track position on a track like this of the size and speed that it is. You're in big trouble."

LAST EIGHT RACES AT MARTINSVILLE EITHER HAMLIN OR JOHNSON HAVE WON. I KNOW YOU FINISHED SEVENTH IN THE SPRING, YOU ACTUALLY FINISHED AHEAD OF JIMMIE, BUT WHEN YOU GO INTO THAT WEEKEND, DO YOU ALMOST HAVE TO LOOK AT THOSE TWO GUYS TO DOMINATE THE TRACK? "I think the rest of us just need to wreck them on the first lap--that's what it sounds like to me! [laughs] They're good; that's why they've won the last eight races, it's because they're good there. They force all of the rest of us to work on our program and get better. I know at RCR that is one of the racetracks that we focused on to get better at. I think as a group we've all gotten way, way better at Martinsville. Certainly those guys, not only their cars and their equipment, but their driving styles and the way they drive the track is good. It's up to us to step it up and beat them."

ARE THERE ANY AREAS IN PARTICULAR WHERE YOU THINK YOU AND YOUR TEAM CAN IMPROVE? "I think you can always improve everywhere. I mean, Jimmie Johnson, look at him. We always look at him and use him as an example. He has won four championships in a row and he is going to have to improve to win a fifth. I think that's just the competition and everything of this sport--you always have to improve and I think our organization has definitely improved a lot this year. There are certainly areas that you look at every week and you know from the pit stop data to the qualifying--to answer your question I've talked about it three times is qualifying. We have got to qualify better. If we can qualify up front I think we will do a better job of finishing up front."

WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR YOU TO BE ON THE PRICE IS RIGHT? "Yeah, 'A new car!' She won--it was awesome! It was really cool experience. Austin and I were complete embarrassed--we had no idea what we were doing. Drew Carey lost like 90 lbs., he walked by me the first time and I didn't even recognize him. I was like, 'where is Drew at?' He was right behind me. And by God he was. It was a cool experience. It's amazing how growing up that show just seems huge. It's always when you go to those sets and things; it's unbelievable how small they really are. They make it look so big on TV and yet it's just one studio and it's in and out and done within an hour. Very neat experience; I'm glad we got to do it."

NOW I KNOW YOU WERE A GUEST ON IT, COULD YOU HAVE MADE IT UP ON STAGE IF YOU HAD TO PRICE ITEMS? "I don't know. They do a great job of building excitement in the air. When those people come down there it is completely random and I'm telling you what, they are wound up. Some of our PR people were in the stands and the first couple times you could tell that they were like with us. I was in the back watching the live feed and you could see them back there and everybody is hooting and hollering and they didn't quite know what to do. They were sitting there stone-faced and all of a sudden about two more people come and they are in it, man. A kid that works for me, Chip, he's back there '750! 750!' She said '901,' and he's like 'Nope! Nope!' She won and it was just a funny experience. They do a great job with

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jimmie Johnson , Mark Martin , David Pearson