Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed what he would need to do to get where Jimmie Johnson is right now, what he thinks Johnson's mindset is now, about Johnson ...
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Monte Carlo SS, met with members of the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway and discussed what he would need to do to get where Jimmie Johnson is right now, what he thinks Johnson's mindset is now, about Johnson wanting to win the final race, whether or not he's frustrated that he was close to competing for the championship, whether or not he'll be satisfied with third overall, how strong Johnson and Gordon have been, how he would approach the race if he were in Johnson's shoes, his focus sharpening in the Chase, Thanksgiving and the increased attention from the media that he has seen.
WHAT WOULD YOU NEED TO DO TO GET WHERE JIMMIE JOHNSON IS RIGHT NOW? "Win every race? It's just incredible. Those guys are on it. They're extremely good and extremely talented but they've got things rolling their way too. When that happens, you can't beat that. Hats off to those guys. They've beat everybody pretty bad this year. When you can make Jeff Gordon look bad you're doing something right. They've flat-out beat him, hands down."
IN JOHNSON'S POSITION, DO YOU THINK HE WILL BE MORE WILLING TO LAY BACK FOR THE FIRST PART OF THE RACE AND THEN TURN IT ON LATER? HOW TOUGH IS IT TO COMPETE AGAINST THAT? "Like I say, it's hard. They're on top of their game and the whole team is good. I'm not taking anything from Jimmie because he's an incredible talent but the whole team is incredible. Chad's done a phenomenal job. The pit crew's had them out front of everybody every stop; everybody on that team is solid and it forces everybody to pick up their game. It's no different than any other sport. Every sport sees that type of caliber team and it makes everybody step up their game to compete with them."
JIMMIE IS SAYING HE WANTS TO WIN FIVE STRAIGHT - A LOT OF GUYS WOULD JUST SAY THEY WANT TO DRIVE TO GET THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND NOTHING BEYOND THAT: "I really believe you've got to go out there and the minute you start being conservative you start getting back into a situation that you don't want to be in and things happen. You just go about your weekend just like any other weekend and go out and try to win and do the best you can. That's all you can do."
IS IT FRUSTRATING TO KNOW THAT IF YOU HAD A BREAK IN THE CHASE, YOU MIGHT BE UP THERE WITH JEFF AND JIMMIE? "Yeah, I wish we could have definitely come down to the last weekend in contention to win this championship. We just fell a little short. Texas was pretty much the dagger, the last chance and we just fell a little short. But I'm proud of our year. We've been having a good year. I think the biggest thing that I'm excited about is our future together. We're all staying intact, pretty much as a team and I think that's going to be important to our success in the future."
HOW SATISFIED WILL YOU BE IF YOU END UP THIRD AND EVERYBODY PREDICTED YOU WOULD BE 12TH? "Really satisfied. We did a good job. We really did. We came a long ways but we've got some more learning to do. We've got to be a better team to win a championship. Looking back, the points that we've earned during this Chase probably would still be leading the championship right now and we definitely would have been at Homestead right here racing for a championship. You've always got to be better the next year and we're going to have to be better next year."
ANY OTHER CHASE YOU WOULD BE RIGHT THERE - THAT JUST SHOWS HOW STRONG JOHNSON AND GORDON HAVE BEEN THIS YEAR: "Yeah, exactly. They've been solid all year long and you can't take that from them. Especially when it's time here, they've been able to pick it up more than everybody else and that's why they're going to win a championship."
IF YOU WERE JIMMIE, HOW WOULD YOU APPROACH THIS RACE ON SUNDAY? "Just like he's going to - just like any other race. Go out and do the best you can and try to win and let everything else handle itself."
DO YOU SHARPEN YOUR FOCUS DURING THE CHASE OR DO YOU JUST GET BEHIND THE WHEEL? "Definitely, since we've been inside this Chase it's hard to lose focus. The media, the pressure that's on you, the testing we have to do to be successful, it's hard. You can't get away from it so you're constantly in tune with what's going on and staying honed in on the task at hand. That helps that but certainly, there's points in a season and it's probably been that way my whole career where you really have got to sit down and think about it and say 'hey, get your butt back in gear and let's go back after it'. These races - they're 500-mile races and you get out there and you get to focusing on your points on a race track and hitting your marks and the next thing you know, you're getting passed and the people are beating you and you've got to force yourself to readjust, find another line, get back up on the wheel and make it happen."
ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO THE OFF-SEASON? "Absolutely!"
WHAT'S THANKSGIVING LIKE AT THE BOWYER HOUSEHOLD? "I think we're going to my little brother's house this year. It's fun. Everybody is family. It's fun for me to be able to see everybody. I don't get a chance to see everybody all together and enjoy Grandma and Grandpa being down there and just enjoying family, just like any other family."
DO YOU GET A LOT OF ATTENTION FROM YOUR FAMILY? IS IT CELEBRITY STATUS? "I hope not. I don't want to take anything away from anybody else. That's what's fun about it. It's being around people that to them, you're just Clint. You're not a race car driver, you're just a kid that they grew up with."
ARE YOU A LEG MAN OR DO YOU LIKE WHITE MEAT? "I'm a white-meat guy."
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF ALL THE MEDIA THAT HAVE DISCOVERED YOU HERE? DO YOU LIKE THE ATTENTION? "It's okay, I don't mind it. The better you do, the more you do of everything. The more success you have, the more, the more the more. That's just part of it. You've got to be good at everything. It isn't just getting in a car and being a good race car driver, in this sport you've got to be good across the board. You've got to keep the media happy, you've got to keep the exposure for your sponsors and things like that, there's a lot more to it than just holding onto that steering wheel."
IS THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST THINGS YOU THINK YOU'VE IMPROVED AT? "It's just something that, when I came to NASCAR and got this job, it's something that I really didn't realize that was such a big part of this business. It is a business. Back home, if things didn't go good, you got your butt shoed from the old man on the way home from the race track for an hour, hour-and-a-half. You went back to your day job and now you've got to be polished everywhere."
-credit: gm racing