Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, met with members of the media and discussed winning at Loudon, his role in his teammates' Chase runs last year, Daytona testing, not being considered a favorite to win the championship, Kansas, racing...
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, met with members of the media and discussed winning at Loudon, his role in his teammates' Chase runs last year, Daytona testing, not being considered a favorite to win the championship, Kansas, racing with Carl Edwards a long time ago, on coming close to winning in races previous and racing in the Busch Series this weekend.
YOU HAD A BIG WEEK LAST WEEK - WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS WEEK? "Just coming off a victory like that, I was so excited for our race team. That's exactly what I feel like this team needed confidence-wise. Built a little bit of momentum for the rest of these races."
WHAT ROLE DID YOU PLAY IN YOUR TEAMMATES' CHASE COMPETITION LAST YEAR AND HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ALL THREE OF YOU IN THE CHASE NOW? "I got to sit back and watch those guys race for the Chase - both teammates. Burton led the thing and looked like he was going to be a strong contender for that thing and some bad luck threw him out of it. This year, just excited. I learned from those guys last year. I sat back and watched what they did and how they were at what race tracks. This year I've spent learning from them. Asking them questions - if I get somewhere where I don't really know what I need to do or whatever, I've got both my teammates there to help me out. So it's been a big help."
DID YOU FIND YOUR TEAM HELPING THEM IN ANY WAY LAST SEASON? "I think that's what's separated this year from last year. Last year I was learning. I was learning as much as I could from them and unfortunately I couldn't bring much to the table for them because I didn't know what it was supposed to be like anyway. But this year I just don't think there's an A, B and C team anymore at RCR. I think we've picked up. I've picked up in the race car and I think our team has certainly picked up. We're all three equally as competitive."
DO YOU HAVE TO GO BACK TO DAYTONA FOR TESTING NEXT TUESDAY? "Please don't say that's so (laughs). I think that's the case. It is what it is. It was a monsoon down there. We tried to get it in; Goodyear did everything they could, certainly the track did everything possible. It just wasn't going to happen. It sounds like we're going to have to go back."
WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE DOES THAT PRESENT FOR YOU? "To be honest with you, I enjoy going back down there and being able to spend some time with the guys and be able to celebrate our victory. But more so than disrupting what I've got going on, it disrupts some dirt racing back home in Kansas. We're going to have to cover some miles in the old plane right after. Hopefully they will let us out a little bit early so I can make a race Tuesday night in Kansas."
FOR YOU AND OTHER DRIVERS THAT AREN'T CONSIDERED THE FAVORITES FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP, IS IT ANY EASIER? "I don't think so. Certainly we don't have the pressure and the exposure that those guys have bearing down on them. But there is a lot of pressure. We're inside the Chase; we're fourth in the points now. We've got a legitimate chance of trying to win this championship. We've got just as good a shot as anybody so certainly, that's a big deal. It's important. This is for all the marvels and certainly there's pressure involved.
"Probably the difference between us and them is we don't really know any better right now. We don't know how to handle the pressure if it's on us or not. So they definitely know it's there."
TALK ABOUT GOING TO KANSAS AND NEXT WEEK: "I can't wait to get there. Like I said, if I couldn't get it before then, that's where I really want to win someday. It's not like you're going to do anything different or pull a rabbit out of the hat when you go to Kansas, that's just one of the places. that's your home. You want to win there. Hopefully someday we can do that. Hopefully we've got a good enough car when we get there. You always pretty much have a good idea of what you've got for a race car on Saturday and practice. So I can't wait to get practice over and hopefully we're going to be on top of the board and have a fast race car and a chance at winning."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT A RACE BETWEEN YOU AND CARL EDWARDS IN MISSOURI ABOUT EIGHT YEARS AGO? "You people pay attention a lot. If you do one interview, you've got to answer questions about it all day long (laughs). No, we were just having fun with it. I'll never forget that day. It was my first asphalt experience and it was a Modified race. I had a guy let me drive his race car. It was the nicest thing I'd ever driven. It was pretty, shiny, chrome bumpers. It was an asphalt car. I'm used to dirt cars with beat up fenders and sledgehammer marks from beating them back out. I went down there and he showed up in what I consider a dirt car that was beat up and all smashed up. You could hear the engine from the back straightaway. Literally, if he was on the front straightaway and you were on the back you could hear him on the race track. And by God, he was cheating. He had to have been cheating. He beat us."
HOW TOUGH WAS THAT TRANSITION FOR YOU? "It's hard. I don't think it's as hard as going from asphalt to dirt but it's definitely a huge transition. Especially once you get to these heavier race cars. Because you're just not used to that weight and how lazy they are and things like that. It just takes time. You're used to having it on the right-rear and kind of feeling the rear end underneath you. You can't have that in asphalt. You've got to be able to feel the right front and feel it working around the front tires."
MOST DRIVERS DON'T WIN THEIR FIRST RACE THE FIRST TIME THEY COME CLOSE. YOU DOMINATED NEW HAMPSHIRE. "...I blew quite a few shots at winning, I felt like. The week before Richmond, I drove from 20th to passing for the lead in that very same race car that won last week. I screwed up and blew our shot at having a chance to win. You've got to learn, you've got to make mistakes to be able to learn, unfortunately. I'm a pretty slow learner so it took a little longer than most (laughs). I definitely feel like the win was at a perfect time. It couldn't have been any better as far as that. To start the Chase off with our first victory of the season and the first win of the Chase and get a good points base established, that's important. We got started off on the right foot and hopefully we can keep it."
YOU'RE RACING THE NO. 21 CAR IN THE BUSCH SERIES THIS WEEKEND. THAT'S THE CAR YOU STARTED IN - HAS EVERYTHING COME FULL CIRCLE? "Yeah, it has. But I already got pulled out. I got fired already before I even got in the car. No, they put (Tim) McCreadie in it and I'm happy for him. You've got to develop drivers and the only way to do that is put them in there and learn. That's how I learned. I had a boneyard behind the shop. That's what I told Tim. I said 'hey, you haven't even crashed a car yet. You're doing pretty good. I crashed about five or six in three weeks. You've got to be able to learn and you've got to do that. They were kind of debating on whether to pull him out and I was all for letting him race and helping him develop because that's the only way I know how to do it.
"After last weekend, it's like I didn't really want to anyway. I want to stay honed in and focused on the task at hand. Once you get this close to a championship, being able to lead the points, that would be awesome to be able to come out of Dover going into your home track leading the points. That would definitely be pretty cool."
-credit: gm racing