Loudon II: Winning team press conference, part 1

New Hampshire Motor Speedway September 19, 2010 An Interview With: RICHARD CHILDRESS - Owner CLINT BOWYER - Winner SHANE WILSON - Crew chief KERRY THARP: We have our race winner for today's SYLVANIA 300, and the first race in the Chase for...

New Hampshire Motor Speedway
September 19, 2010

An Interview With:
RICHARD CHILDRESS - Owner
CLINT BOWYER - Winner
SHANE WILSON - Crew chief

KERRY THARP: We have our race winner for today's SYLVANIA 300, and the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, race win goes to Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Hamburger Helper Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing and he's joined by crew chief Shane Wilson and owner Richard Childress. This is Clint's third NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, he's won here twice, three years ago he led the Chase off with a win here.

And Clint, talk about, was it dejà vu? You had a strong car all weekend, and you had a lot of confidence in here on Friday, I remember, talking to you.

CLINT BOWYER: Just everybody, it reminded me so much of 2007. You know, two weeks ago, going into Richmond, your feeling the confidence level in our race team, in our equipment level, everything was good.

Shane built a brand new race car and we came here and we were fast right off the truck, and everybody had a lot of confidence, a pep in their step. And we showed it from the time we unloaded to qualifying, practice, we were one of the fastest cars here.

That's what it takes to run at this level, to be a part of that Chase, if we can go and continue to have as much fun as we did this weekend -- I know it's the key, I know it is to my success. When I'm having fun, I'm always performing at my best, and I think it showed this weekend.

We overcame some adversity and should some things go on there on the restart and them guys got around us. And I really thought I could run him back down and Shane come on and told me I needed to start saving fuel. And I knew in the back of my mind I needed to do that. And it's hard to run somebody down and save fuel at the same time, but he informed me then that I better be saving fuel and not be worried about running him down and we did that, and darned if he didn't run out of gas.

Just thrilled for General Mills, Cheerios and Hamburger Helper, 14 years in this sport and to finally win a race for them, we're very proud to have them as a sponsor and very proud of their support, not only our race team, RCR, but the start.

KERRY THARP: You move ten spots up in the points standings. You go from 12th to second in one race; you have to feel good about that, as well.

CLINT BOWYER: Absolutely. To come in here the underdog just like we did in 2007, to win the first race of the Chase and set that tempo, not only for the Chase but for our race team, our organization, all three of our cars were up front, and that's what it takes. You've got to be able to work together as we did this weekend.

We all three showed up a little bit different, and we found a common ground. We all honed in on that, fine tuned it from there, worked together. And if we do that for the rest of these races, you know, somebody at RCR is going to bring a championship trophy back home to this man.

KERRY THARP: Shane Wilson, talk about the performance of the team today and on pit road in particular.

SHANE WILSON: Just real good. We've had a lot of races where we've performed good enough to win the first two thirds of the race, so glad today to kind of finish one out. Circumstances allowed us to win this one but we were fast all day, and lost it a little bit there in the middle, in the blast run we were pretty good. Just proud of all my guys that worked through it. We are still a pretty new team and we are like 50-some-odd races into this deal as a group working, together and just proud of all my guys. They work hard and do what I ask them to do and just want to give them a lot of credit.

KERRY THARP: Richard Childress, certainly the resurgence of your race team this year has been one of the biggest stories in the sport, all three in the Chase and now you have Clint Bowyer winning the first race in the Chase. Congratulations.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Thank you. I'm just proud of everyone at RCR. These guys here just did a phenomenal job. Clint had a great car and for Shane to make the call, I didn't know how short we was on fuel.

I knew it was going to be close and as soon as he got into second place there, that's when they started telling him to slow down in between Dillon telling him, me telling him and Shane telling him that he had to save it. He did a great job being able to save fuel right there at the end. I think we had a really strong car, and it would have been a good race if it had not been on fuel mileage but the way it came out, it worked out and we won the race.

Q: Clint, you're going into turn three, about to get the white flag. Were you resigned to second place, and what did you think when all of a sudden Tony just basically topped?

CLINT BOWYER: Well, 40 laps before that, I knew when he started -- you could tell by Shane's voice that I needed to start saving fuel, and I did that. I thought I did. He told me I needed two laps, so I was thinking about four (laughing).

I was trying to save as much as I could. I was lifting halfway down the straightaway and not hitting the brakes until you're almost in the corner and letting it roll around there as long as you could before we picked up the gas. I saw the 11 coming and then you start worrying about, well, I'm not going to let him pass me. I said, I am go to go run out for it before the guy passes me again.

But you want to stay close enough that you're keeping pressure on him, but you also want to take care of business. That's something that we take pride with.

That's the first fuel mileage race all year long I think. Nobody wants to see those, you know, but I'm glad it worked out. We wanted to see double-file restarts and maybe no green/white checkered but I like the double-file restarts. Everything worked out.

I think this sport is as good as it's been, the racing's good. The fan turnout this weekend was awesome, and more importantly, I think this Chase is going to be as close as it's ever been. I mean, when the 12 seed wins the first race, all of those guys that have won races and everything else, it just shows you the level of competition in this Chase.

Q: Your reaction when Tony ran out?

CLINT BOWYER: Couldn't believe it. I could not believe it. And then I thought I was going to run out. (Laughter) As soon as you see him run out, you're wondering when it's your turn then. It happened in the burnout, thank God. (Laughter).

KERRY THARP: Good timing.

Q: You vaulted from 12th to second here in the points and obviously you talked a little bit about the feeling of dejà vu to 2007. That year, you finished third. Now, do you feel like you have what it takes maybe to win the thing?

CLINT BOWYER: I know we have what it takes. We have the equipment. We have the race team. It's up to us to get it put together. Kevin Harvick has done a good job all season long of showing RCR's potential of getting it all, not just the start of the race, the middle of the race, but the finish. And you know, if we can match what he's done 26 races in, somebody at RCR can win this championship.

Q: Just to follow up to that, where this team was a year ago now to you sitting here at victory lane, first race of the Chase, can you reflect on that, and all of the hard work that went to getting to this moment?

CLINT BOWYER: Absolutely. It starts with the boss. You know, he pulled everybody in there, said that, "I'm not satisfied with running second." You know, nobody was. Everybody was down. It was a dismal year. We started from scratch. You know, he moved people around.

It's all about people. That's the one thing that he's taught me in this sport and this business is you're only as good as the people around you and he's always surrounded us with good people with Shane and with everybody on this race team.

You know, the management side of it, everybody knows the changes. We have talked about it pre-race and everything else. Those are all changes that led to a great thing this year, and you know, thanks for him spending the money and making it happen.

Q: On the outside looking in, it looked like a tremendous risk going to the end. Did you feel it was that big of a risk, and why was it worth it, considering Tony -- what happened to Tony and what happened to your teammate, Jeff Burton.

CLINT BOWYER: I'll go. You dominated the race. You owe it to yourself to go out there and try and win the race. We are the 12th seed going in, those are the kind of chances you're going to have to take to beat these guys in this championship Chase.

I'm glad that he did it. Did I think -- when I saw everybody pit behind me, I wasn't worried about fuel mileage, I was worried about them tires driving around me. But once I got going, our car was so strong on the long run that, you know, again, that's the chances you've got to take. That's the chances that people win races at this sport take each and every week, and I'm proud of him for doing that.

SHANE WILSON: The track position was so important, and if we ever got up front again -- you know, McMurray did, and you don't know that then. And all we need was more cautions like we had and it was going to be really close.

So we came in the 12th seed, and we talked about it before the race, it's going to allow us to race a lot looser than some of people. Now, going to Dover in second, I don't know if I'll make that call or not. (Laughter).

CLINT BOWYER: You'd better.

Q: Your guys were telling you to save fuel, Tony's guys were telling him to save fuel and Tony's guys were telling him they were telling you to save fuel and Tony comes on the radio and says he doesn't give two shits about saving fuel, he wants to win this race. How do you balance -- how do you balance the --

CLINT BOWYER: Quote, right? (Laughter).

Q: Yes. How do you balance the wanting it to win so bad, but, you know, knowing that the 31 is already -- you know, ran out.

CLINT BOWYER: You just have to. You've got to trust the people that are calculating the fuel mileage. He knows how closure. He told me the two laps, and it's not rocket science. When you're lifting at the flag stand where you were lifting maybe 200, 300 feet past that before, you'd better make up a lot of those to make up for two laps of wide-open throttle.

I tried to do that. I tried to do it as much as I could and keep the momentum through the corner to where I could keep a little bit of pressure on him to where he wasn't continuing to back up to me as I did. You know, that was the thing that I was trying to pay attention to is he kept telling me my lap times and it seemed like the 40s is the lap time that I could -- if I rolled the corner good in the middle, I was getting to the gas as late as I could and I was able to find that consistency in my lap times and I was able -- because he was backing up to me.

As I was backing up from the teens to the 20s to the 30s and then on to the 70s, he was, too, so I knew that I needed to get back to, you know, at least the 40s and have a shot at keeping some pressure on him. So it just worked out. It just as easily couldn't have, but damn glad it did.

Q: I guess Shane, you just sort of alluded to this, but my question, Clint, you've talked so much about you liked where you were, there's not been any pressure, there was no pressure over the final three weeks, you came in here after Jimmie the other day and you said, you guys just asked him ten questions about how much pressure he's are in, and nobody's asking me about any pressure; well, now you're second in the points. You're 35 out. Does that change now? Is there pressure now?

CLINT BOWYER: I don't know. You going to leave me alone next week? (Laughter) I hope you do. I had a lot of fun. It's kind of a relaxing weekend. I don't know if it's going to be that way from now on.

But I'm telling you, you know, just like we launched ourselves into the pressure cooker early, and you've got to be able to continue to have as much fun as we did this weekend. If we can do that, we can continue to have the success and run at this race.

Q: Do you still get a little jittery on the radio?

CLINT BOWYER: We were running out of glass.

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Not Clint. Not Clint. (Laughter).

Q: I'm talking about long before you were running out of gas, when you start hearing, feeling vibrations.

CLINT BOWYER: I didn't hear a vibration. I heard him saying, "Save! Save! Back up!" And then Dillon and Richard and then back to Shane. They were kind of taking turns telling me to let off. I don't think they wanted me to run out.

Q: I'm talking way before the gas, I know Richard and Dillon and them were like, "Come on, Buddy, you can still win this, get your rhythm." Sometimes, can you handle the pressure of this? Sometimes it seems like they have to reel you back in.

CLINT BOWYER: Well, I sure as hell hope so. Thanks a lot. Can you?

RICHARD CHILDRESS: Trying to earn money.

CLINT BOWYER: There's a lot of pressure in this Chase. Geez, thanks.

Q: Clint it was quite a contrast in images after the race when you were doing the big burnout and Tony is limping along besides you trying to finish the race. Did you notice that? Did you see him there trying to finish as you were spinning around?

CLINT BOWYER: You know, I did, and I was really going to push him across but I didn't know what to do there, so I just went on to celebrate.

You know, I hated that. You hate to see that for anybody. You can imagine the heartbreak of running out of gas with one lap to go. You don't wish bad things upon anybody. You're happy that you won the race and you leave it at that. You hate to benefit from somebody else's mishap. That's certainly part of racing. We have certainly won and lost races the same way and that's just part of this sport.

Continued in part 2

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jeff Burton , Kevin Harvick , Clint Bowyer