Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniels Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss racing at his hometown track, running Late Models at Lakeside, on Jeff Burton as a teammate, being from the Midwest, on racing at Talladega, the local growth around Kansas...
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniels Monte Carlo SS met with media to discuss racing at his hometown track, running Late Models at Lakeside, on Jeff Burton as a teammate, being from the Midwest, on racing at Talladega, the local growth around Kansas Speedway, and more.
ON RACING AT HIS HOMETOWN TRACK: "I'm looking forward to getting going and seeing what we've got with the Jack Daniels Chevrolet. It's so important to unload at these 1.5-mile race tracks. You're so limited on practice time that you've got to unload good. So I can't wait to get out there and see what we've got."
ARE YOU STILL PLANNING TO RACE TONIGHT AT LAKESIDE AND DOES RUNNING THOSE SHORT TRACK RACES HELP RELAX YOU FOR THE CUP RACES? "Yeah, it's a lot of work. More and more it seems like a lot more people are coming and it's important to see all those people and spend some time with them. It makes it tough. But it's so much fun to go back to your old stomping grounds and race. We've had some success. We were fast the other night. We didn't end up winning but they knew we were there. Tonight at Lakeside is going to be fun. I've never raced a Late Model back here. I brought my Late Model back from North Carolina and I'm looking forward to seeing what we've got."
ON JEFF BURTON AS A TEAMMATE AND FRIEND: "My opinion is he's such a good teammate. You couldn't ask for a better teammate. He's certainly proven himself on the race track with 18 Cup victories and who knows how many Busch races he's won. But aside from that, he's so smart on and off the race track. You know going to Jeff Burton with a question, you know you'll leave there with the right answers. So that's very important as a young driver to have that person you can go to as a teammate and know that you're always getting the right information to make yourself better. He really cares about people around him and making RCR as an organization, better."
TO SEE YOU AND CARL EDWARDS IN THE CHASE SAYS THE MIDWEST HAS SOME GREAT DRIVERS COMING OUT. HOW DID BEING FROM THE MIDWEST PREPARE YOU FOR CUP RACING? "I think the neatest thing about that is the fact that the first two races of the Chase have been won by the Midwestern boys and rolling into Kansas with both the first races won by us says a lot about our local community and who we grew up learning from."
AFTER TESTING AT TALLADEGA, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE RACING WILL BE LIKE? ARE YOU SCARED TO GO BACK? "Make no mistake. Talladega has always been Talladega. Every time you go there you're concerned about getting out of there and it's always kind of been a survival fest. There always seems to be the 'big one' there. With this Car of Tomorrow and what we saw at the test, it's a little bit more (scary) than usual. You could push each other all the way around the track if you wanted to. Certainly you're going to have to back off in the corners in the tri-oval to keep them from going around. It's going to be wild. It's going to be the one that everybody is going to have their eye on and it's always been a track that will make or break you. And the one that can get out of there with a good finish is going to have a pretty good jump start on the rest of the Chase."
IS EVERYBODY THAT YOU KNOW HERE THIS WEEKEND? "It seems like it (laughs). But it's important. I grew up racing around here and to be able to see the people that I used to race against here supporting me; and about all my family is here and people from my hometown. There are just so many people coming from Emporia. That's important. It's so exciting to be able to race for those people and hopefully put on a good show for them."
DOES WINNING THE FIRST RACE OF THE CHASE BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE AND PUT YOU INTO THE CHASE WITH A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE BECAUSE OF THAT WIN? "Absolutely. We went into this thing with people asking do you really feel like you deserve to be in the Chase. My answer to that question was heck yeah. It wasn't like we were 12th going into the thing. We were ninth. We beat three teams out of the Chase and yet people were still saying that the 13th guy belonged in it. And I'm like, tell the 12th place guy that, I guess (laughs). He had a long ways to go to catch me. I felt like we deserved it and I feel like winning that first race of the Chase really proved not only to ourselves, but to everybody else that we belonged here. It's been such a confidence-booster and momentum builder going into the rest of the year. Last week at Dover, it very easily could have taken the wind out of our sails qualifying dead last. We went from the heroes to zeros just like that. We were able to bounce back from that and we had a car to win. We really did. We were less than half way through the race and we were passing for sixth from dead last . So it really says a lot about how strong our race team is and how we're learning. That's what championships is all about is being able to turn a bad day into a good one and we are on our way to doing that."
THERE IS A PICTURE IN TODAY'S KANSAS CITY STAR OF A CASINO AND RETAIL DISTRICT ABOVE ONE OF THE TURNS AT THE TRACK. SINCE YOU CREW UP IN THIS AREA, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? "It's so awesome to be able to come back here. And it's like every year we come back, I come here two or three times a year, but every time we come back something else is being built out here. I remember when it was just all houses and you didn't even notice turning off of I-70 onto I-435, and now - hell, if you don't notice this place now, you're blind.
"It's unbelievable how much growth as been out here and it's all because of the speedway, bottom line. Kansas Speedway has brought a lot to my career. When this speedway showed up, the local racing around the community really picked up in the attention and exposure - not only this track, but the local tracks really picked up."
HAVE YOU NOTICED A DIFFERENCE SINCE YOU'VE COME HOME IN THE WAY THAT YOU ARE PERCEIVED? ARE YOU STILL JUST CLINT, OR DO YOU SENSE THAT PEOPLE VIEW YOU DIFFERENTLY? "Yeah, and it's really been since this Chase. It's a big thing for myself and our race team. By making that Chase, you're in the spotlight. The exposure is on you. Certainly winning the first race of the Chase, there has been a lot of TV exposure and you do notice a big difference. Going to Heartland Park, it was the difference between last year and this year was probably a couple thousand more people, which for a local track like that is pretty big. But I still like to enjoy everything.
"I got my buddy a motor home for the infield and he never camped before. I've camped my whole life so I was over there getting him all set up and stuff. People are noticing, you know, over there and it makes it a little bit harder to kind of live a normal live and help the dumb buddy that don't know how to hook up his RV (laughs)."
HAVE YOU GOTTEN COMFORTABLE WITH THE BUMP-DRAFTING? AND DO YOU THINK WE'LL SEE MORE OF THAT AT TALLADEGA NEXT WEEK? "Are you from Talladega? (laughs) I don't think there is much of an an advantage to it anymore. If you hit them, they don't seem to go anywhere with these new cars. Again, the cars are going to be closer together. You're able to push each other all the way around the track and because of that, the least little slip-up and because everybody is a lot closer, it's going to be more catastrophic. That's going to be the main thing about Talladega. It's going to be more of what we already had."
WILL YOU BE DIRT RACING TONIGHT? WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEKEND? "Yeah, I'm taking Harv (Kevin Harvick) up to the dirt track. I'm nervous, but I'm excited about that. He's going to run my Modified and I'm going to run my Late Model. I've never ran a Late Model at Lakeside but it's a pretty big race over there. I'm not really worried about my Late Model thing; I'm really worried about Harvick (laughs)."
-credit: gm racing