CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his season, success of RCR, teammates in the Chase at the final race and other topics. TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed his season, success of RCR, teammates in the Chase at the final race and other topics.
TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND HERE AT HOMESTEAD: "I guess the mindset for me is, one more. Finally. (LAUGHS). It has definitely been an up and down season. It has been a successful season. The resurgence at RCR, just so proud of everybody at RCR for digging deep and getting the ship turned around and pointed back in the right direction. A lot of things that were changed in the off-season last year ended up being some of the best things that we have ever had happen at RCR as far as the depth of the organization. The reasons that we found ourselves back in a hole I don't think will happen again because of some of the changes in the off-season...the engineering staff, reorganizing the competition director support to crew chiefs, just so many things have changed that I think ultimately will keep us from digging ourselves a hole."
DO YOU FLASHBACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SEASON AND THINK ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN? "Well, you never know where you can be, but I can promise you we would be a lot farther ahead than we are. We'd have been somewhere in the top-five. Not only was it the 150-point hit, it was devastating to the momentum, your mojo. Everything that happens when something like that happens, it takes the wind out of your sales big time. You lost your crew chief for four weeks that ultimately led to us losing our over-the-wall pit crew. That was our ace-in-the-hole all season long. We lost them for the rest of the season. There are so many things that just 150 points that we lost. The two weeks after that, we ran terrible. Our focus wasn't there; we didn't have our eye on the ball. Our focus was distracted and we ran poorly because of that. It is just a frustrating end to a pretty good season. Making the Chase with all three cars. A lot of the things we were able to accomplish; winning two races were all good things but, when you are sitting here at Homestead, you want to be competing and have a shot at a championship."
WITH THE BOYS, HAVE AT IT, ALL THE THINGS THAT HAVE GONE ON, IS THERE A POTENTIAL FOR SOMEONE TO END UP WITH SOME HURT FEELINGS AFTER SUNDAY? "In light of everything that has happened all season long, you can expect something dramatic to happen. Everything else has happened that way this season. It would be only fitting that we get a pretty dramatic finish. Hats off to everybody involved in this sport, this has been a great year. You can't take that away. It has been great racing on and sometimes off the race track. There have just been so many great things this year that are positive things; it makes me feel good about being a part of this sport. Great racing on the race track. Altercations. Emotions. Everything that a fan likes to see in this sport, we've seen this year. The rules changes with the double-file restarts, multiple attempts at a green-white-checkereds, the spoiler change; there are just a lot of things that have happened this year, when you look back at it, that are great things that have led to great racing for our fans. For it to come down to this, to be honest with you, I figured there would be at least five cars racing for that championship. They are talking about rule changes and things like that; I think they've made the appropriate changes. I don't think they need to change the Chase. I think the competition is closer than it has ever been. That is what we were lacking. I think a lot of these rule changes with the double-file restarts shake things up in a big way with these races. You don't see that one guy stretching the points lead out and getting away."
IF YOU HAD A LOT MONEY AND WENT TO LAS VEGAS, WHO YOU BETTING FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "Oh, you have to bet on your teammate. His odds are a little less, but usually they pay better. It is just a great race. That is probably the neatest thing about it, you really can't handicap anybody. They all three have a legitimate shot at winning this championship and that's a great thing."
WHAT ROLL IF ANY WILL TEAMMATES PLAY? "On Sunday, it's too late I think. Through practice sessions and things like that, we've got to be able to think outside the box a little bit, work on some things and if we can find a package that is superior to maybe what Kevin (Harvick) has, maybe we could help him out there. I gave him my pit crew and we're trying. We have to everything we can do and I feel like we've done that."
WHAT HAVE YOU GUYS LEARNED THAT WILL CARRY OVER TO NEXT SEASON? "It is kind of funny. You think about this season and how things started. Last season, despite how bad of a season it was, the last 10 races, we were back to running well. Competing, running up front and actually one of the three of us I thought was going to get a win inside that Chase even last year so I was pretty optimistic looking forward to this year. So this year with the success we've had, I feel like now we need to continue down the path we are on, improve on a few minor things. If we do that, we are going to be winning more races than we did this year and be even better. Right now we have a great baseline package; we have to fine-tune it and just get a little more out of it."
ARE THERE TEAM ORDERS FOR YOU GUYS REGARDING THE MANUFACTURER, WOULD YOU RATHER SEE A CHEVROLET WIN? "Yes, absolutely. Who doesn't want to see a Chevy win? They are used to winning championship, manufacturers' championships...everything they have been able to accomplish. I hope a Chevy wins; it better win."
ARE YOU GOING TO DO ANYTHING TO HELP THAT? "You have to put it in perspective. You can't go out there; there is nothing you can do. If I'm running third and he wants to negotiate a deal (LAUGHS) and he is running fourth and I need to let him around to win a championship, maybe we could talk. (LAUGHS) The spotters might be busy."
IS YOUR TEAM AS A TEAMMATE DOING THINGS TO HELP THE NO. 29 IN THE CHASE? "You have to realize all the technology that is in all three of those cars all come from the same office, the engineering side of things. You take what they learn, what they give you and you try to make the best of it. Certainly, that is what we do. You have to remember that the baseline, key components of your setup package come from the same place. It is what you do, how you put the pieces of the puzzle together that make up the difference. I'm not trying anything different, I'm just, like I said; put the pieces of the puzzle of the package a little bit different; maybe better. If you can come up with a better package, you owe it to your teammates to try and help them out. That is how you help a teammate."
HAVE YOU HELPED THE NO. 29 OUT WITH ANY SETUPS THE LAST SIX OR EIGHT RACES? "We've worked on some things for sure. Texas, we were a little bit better. You always do that, not just in the Chase format; that is what got us all three cars in the Chase is working together. In a multi-car team, the ones that are successful work together and they stick together. If they don't, they're not going to be as successful as the ones that do."
-source: gm racing