CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed winning the Nationwide championship, the NASCAR testing policy, the economy and taking care of sponsors, setting goals and ...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed winning the Nationwide championship, the NASCAR testing policy, the economy and taking care of sponsors, setting goals and capitalizing on momentum and other topics.
IS THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY THIS WEEKEND WINNING THE NATIONWIDE CHAMPIONSHIP? "I have several priorities. If you look at it, obviously, winning the championship in the Nationwide Series is big. Anytime you can win a championship, it should take priority. I am only eight points, I think, behind my teammate on the Cup for that fifth spot. My goal is to be in the top-five this year in points on the Cup side; I have to make sure I get that done. I know he know he isn't going to make that easy on us. We have a lot of things; I have to run the No. 20 car for the owner's champion in the Nationwide. There are a lot of things on our plate this weekend."
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WITH THE LEAD YOU HAVE IN NATIONWIDE? "I think so. I still think at 56 point lead, it is ours to lose, you know what I mean. I mean I don't think he can out run us enough to overcome a 56 point lead. I mean, he hasn't been able to do that all year unless we made a mistake. If we make a mistake, he will be there for the taking. That is the bottom line.
"I am excited about the weekend. I would rather be 56 points ahead than 56 behind. You have to look at it as that. We have to go out there and take care of business and not make mistakes. It about bit us last week. Things happen. You have to be able to rebound from that. I looked at last week as something that wins championships. I really believe that. We were down and out. Man, that could have put us out and lost this thing very easily. But they guys kept their cool, we bounced back, battled back and got a top-five out of something that I didn't think we couldn't be in the top-10 with. I am excited about this weekend and the opportunity ahead.
"We are going to go out and race exactly like we always race. We have to. The minute you back up, you are conservative, whatever else. Now, am I going to drive it in three wide in the middle of some guys that haven't been out there very often, probably not. But, you still have to go out there and race exactly as we have and do our job. That is the things that have got us here. That has been good enough to be leading this thing as long as we have. It is going to be good enough tomorrow."
HOW DOES NO TESTING IMPACT YOU FOR DAYTONA AND BEYOND WITH YOU HAVING A NEW CREW CHIEF NEXT YEAR? "It will, but it won't. Daytona -- I don't think there is anyone in the garage that enjoys testing at Daytona. I am all for it. I think we race enough we should be able to figure it out. There are enough other tracks we can go to get us close enough to get us in the ballgame. Working on the chemistry, that is something there is going to be growing pains for Shane (Wilson). But, having him at RCR, been around, knowing the system, knowing the other crew chiefs, knowing the engineers. Knowing everything that goes on at RCR, that is going to compliment that. It is going to help that out and make that learning curve that much faster with each other. I am looking to it. I am looking forward to not testing. I mean, when you get home after a long weekend, down here at Homestead. You are ready to be done, you know. You don't want to have to test all through the off season at different race tracks and go here and there. It is an off season. You are ready to go back home. In the Midwest racing a modified in a weekly racing series for five, six, seven years ago, the off season was an off season. That meant you bought a new car, you were building it over the off season and getting it ready for April. We race enough."
WILL YOU BE DOING NO TESTING THEN DURING THE OFF SEASON? "I didn't say that. We'll test somewhere. We will be testing, just not obviously at a NASCAR track."
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK YOU WILL LOSE? "I don't think anything. It'll take a little bit longer to accomplish some of the things that we have learned. Still, the engineers, the talent, the equipment that we have at the shops in today's era, you learn a lot there, on the seven-post rig. There are so many things that go in to what these cars do when we show up here. Obviously, at the end of the day, you have to go fast, you have to feel that, you have to have that feel in the seat and be able to say; yea I agree that is better. What our engineers are able to come up these with is pretty incredible and they unload a comfortable car pretty close to on the button."
"I don't know, that is again, just a lot more work. I think this is going to separate the men from the boys a little bit more."
DO YOU THINK THE NEW TESTING WILL AFFECT THE COMPETITION WITH THE BIGGER TEAMS FINDING A WAY TO TEST? "I think it is the same thing now. Still you have some of the more well funded teams are still doing the testing now as the rules were this year and they are going to next year. They are still going to go to places to work on things, no different than we did last year. I think it is a huge cost savings for the teams, a huge time savings for all the drivers and teams and the effort that goes in to testing. The way times are today, we need to be looking at ways to save the teams money. To save our sponsors money. We need these sponsors in this sport. We have to be able to look after our sponsors as well."
"This is a sponsor driven sport, it is. We can't go out and do this without these sponsors and we have to be able to make sure that we take care them, keep the sponsors we have and hopefully bring in new sponsors. I think that is just a part of what this sport is and that is how sport is."
"I am a Coca Cola driver. If it is an X brand victory lane, I am going to get out and drink my Coca Cola in victory lane and enjoy that. No disrespect to them. That is the way it is. It is a sponsor driven sport, you have to take care of the sponsors that take care of you. You have to respect the other ones as well."
WHAT DOES IT SAY ABOUT BB&T GIVEN THE STATE OF THE BANKING INDUSTRY TO STEP UP TO THE CUP SERIES? "If you look at them, they are doing well. It is a big bank, it is a good bank. I am excited to be a part of what BB&T has got going on. Moving them to the Cup Series, I am really excited. Obviously, it has been a lot of fun having them in the Nationwide Series. Having 10 races in the Cup series is going to be fun. I have won, the race we won this year, was in the BB&T car, hopefully we can win another one for them. Get Cheerios a win as well.
"We have to make sure we go out and represent them well and give them the best value for their buck and take care of them like they take care of us. The way the economy is now, we have got to do that. Everybody is hurting. Banks, everybody. The restaurant business, the construction business, anything is struggling right now with the way the economy is. If you look across the garage and look at all the sponsors on these race cars, all the different companies it takes to make these things go round and round, we have to make sure we keep those and help them with representation to where they can afford to advertise and see a value there."
DO YOU BELIEVE THAT MOMENTUM FROM ONE YEAR CARRIES OVER TO THE NEXT YEAR? "Absolutely. If you look at our season last year we ended it high. We were third in points on the Cup side and started off with; I don't even remember how many straight top-10s. It is a huge confidence booster rolling in to next year coming off a good year. I am looking forward to the off season, taking a break and starting over with a new team next year and seeing what you can do."
ON SETTING GOALS FOR SEASON: "You have to set your goals as high as possible. You go in to the season wanting to win a championship, wanting to win a race. Your first goal is to win a race; your second goal is to win a championship. If you can't win the championship, you want to be second, then third. That is where the goals are. That is where you, that is where you have got to set your goals and you have got to work your butt off to make sure that you meet those goals. But, if you don't, you got to meet the next goal. You always have to have goals, at least I do. Right now, I can't win a championship (in NSCS) but I can be in the top-five in points and that is not bad. But I have to beat my teammate out to do that. That is the goal this weekend."
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR EXTRA TIME NEXT YEAR WITHOUT TESTING? "Enjoy a week off. Enjoy. When you come home from a Sunday afternoon race, you get home at one, two o'clock in the morning on Monday; you don't have to go testing Monday, or Tuesday or Wednesday. You genuinely have two or three potential days off there. That hasn't been the case for me that much this year.
"It is the same for everybody. That is good. You are going to have teams that will still have the funding that are probably going to out run the rest, but for the most part, it is the same for everybody. You have to go to these tracks and get after it. I think it is going to force everybody to pick the pace up. I think it is going to make everybody have a bad race. You aren't going to have those guys, those teams, that just run up front all the time, even the good teams that run up front are going to struggle here and there. But I think a lot of people have this car figured out. Good decision, good for NASCAR. We have to save our team owners and sponsors some money at that is a good way to do it."
DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE AN ADJUSTMENT TO RACE WEEKEND? "Maybe you could add an hour to practice and another set of tires. I don't know. The way I look at it, it is the same for everybody. That is the way I have always looked at it. If the track conditions are bad, it is the same for everybody. It is up to you to make your car better than everybody. It is more important to be able to do that."
-credit: gm racing