CLINT BOWYER , NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET – QUALIFIED 3RD:
ON HIS LAP
“I’ve got to thank all the guys on the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet. You know, you’ve got to bring speed to the race track and certainly they brought a brand new race car, and worked very hard on it and got things turned around. We were at Vegas, well California went well, but Vegas was the last banked high-speed race track like this and we were off. So to go back and work hard and get the speed it takes to run at these high-speed, high-banked tracks, I was very proud of their efforts and it goes a long way. Certainly today this qualifying effort is going to go a long way toward tomorrow night.
“It’s been a wild weekend. The schedule has been hard. Trying to figure out where your car needs to be during the heat of the day; the track is really hot and really slick; knowing in the back of your mind some of those characteristics are going to go away. I’m trying to figure out what characteristics are going to come up and surprise you and be ready for them and have the digestibility built into your car. But ultimately you’re just looking for a good balance and good grip with your car. And I think we have that.”
WHEN A GUYS TURNS A LAP LIKE DAVID RAGAN (POLE WINNER) DID TONIGHT, IS IT THE CAR OR IS IT THE DRIVER GOING IN THE TURN A LITTLE DEEPER, WHAT IS IT?
“Well I think it’s everything. And I mean everything. I’m not a big fan of this qualifying deal. I probably shouldn’t speak out and say it but I think they were hoping it would surprise anybody but there is no surprise in knowing the fastest car in practice was the fastest car in qualifying (laughs). You know its coming. You know he’s probably going to knock you off of it and he should. He was by far the fastest car in practice and once again was the fastest car in qualifying. But as far as the difference, man, I’m telling you, he earned it. That kid’s hungry, you know? He’s definitely turned the corner. Drew has done a good job with him and hats off. They’ve done a great job.”
WITH THE SPEEDS IN QUALIFYING, DO YOU NOW KNOW MORE FOR THE RACE TOMORROW NIGHT? "Really, I think we are good. We ran a lot of laps, but, you just don't know. You don't know what the grip level is going to be like. You don't know...you know the past. You know what has happened here in the past. You know that usually as the pace slows down, you are going to get one way or another. And, now, the pace might not slow down so much because we are going to be running at night. We were practicing in the heat of the day. The pace of the race might not be as slow as you think. So many things you are trying to figure out. The engineers are hard at work. Crew chiefs are hard at work trying to find a good balance and good setup. The key for me on a track like this is running laps. I know when I run a lot of laps in practice, we've a good handle. We've got a good grip with our car, no matter if it is tight or loose. We can fine-tune it and adjust from there. We've got the speed and that is what matters.
"There is a little bit of calculated guessing. There is a lot that goes into this. There is so much work that goes into these cars. I never would have thought in a million years when I first started in this sport that you could do this without testing. The engineering. The simulation, everything that has evolved in this sport is unbelievable. It is incredible. I can usually tell you, you know, from the hard work and what you see before you ever even get to the track, we're probably going to be pretty good."
We've got the speed and that is what matters.
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM IS BEFORE QUALIFYING THAT THE LATER YOU GO OUT, THE BETTER IT IS, YOUR NUMBER WAS UP THERE FOR AWHILE, OTHERS WERE UP THERE. WHY DIDN'T IT BEHAVE THE WAY EVERYONE THOUGHT IT WOULD?
"Theoretically, it be exactly the way it ended up. The fastest car was the last car. People had a chance to practice; we didn't have a chance to run a qualifying lap in the cool. We were all practicing qualifying laps in a lot hotter temperatures. A lot hotter track surface temperatures. Things aren't the same so you are going to miss...your chances of missing it a little are greater than they would be if we practiced when we qualify. But, that wasn't the case so some teams were down on grip. Maybe a little bit loose, maybe tight. They just missed it a little bit. You can always tell who is going to start up front right now. Now we are even starting to plan your practice strategies around trying to make your good laps when the temperature is right so you can qualify when you want to qualify. There are a lot of things that are kind of unnecessary that we are having to do. Can you tell I don't really like the qualifying format?"
BECAUSE IT TAKES THE SUSPENSE OUT OF IT? "I think it does. It pretty much played out how it is supposed to play out every time, really. The pill draw and a little luck...I think the way it is now would have been perfect for rain or a rain-out or something like that. I think it is only fair, but, I just didn't see the need in it. I thought it shook the race up a little bit, at least the start of it from time to time. There were some unknowns."
-source: team chevy