CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET met with media and discussed gaining ground in the series, racing at Eldora and the comradery of dirt track racing, and more. YOU'VE BEEN GAINING GROUND THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. HOW ARE...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET met with media and discussed gaining ground in the series, racing at Eldora and the comradery of dirt track racing, and more.
YOU'VE BEEN GAINING GROUND THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO KEEP THAT MOMENTUM GOING THIS WEEKEND AT MICHIGAN? "It all comes back to the performance of your cars and RCR's cars have been running well. We've had some bumps in the road. We had an engine let go early at Bristol and that brake line issue at Darlington just got us set back. But I had a good feeling we could get back where we needed to be because of the speed in the race cars. Certainly we've slowly but surely getting back where we've needed to be and I feel like we're going to have another good run. I've got some new cars with the No. 33 car. My teammates (Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick) had a few new cars a little bit earlier that we got, but our stuff is coming through now and I think we're starting to see the results."
DOING A STORY ON WHERE YOU WERE WHEN YOU GOT THE CALL. I THINK YOU WERE IN YOUR SHOP. HOW DID YOU FEEL? "Yeah, my shop. You can imagine a kid racing in the Midwest and starting to race some asphalt stuff and trying to figure out how to get to the next step and completely out of money and working in a body shop and racing on the weekends. All of a sudden your cell phone rings standing in the middle of a body shop at three o'clock in the afternoon and it's Richard Childress on the phone. That phone call doesn't happen in any sport really, let alone what your dream was of trying to get to the next level. That conversation and being to be able to go down to your parents and tell them you're never going to believe who just called me, and by the way, I've got to leave at 6:30 in the morning, so I'll be gone. It was a pretty cool situation."
AN ELDORA QUESTION. DID JIMMIE JOHNSON'S PERFORMANCE IN THAT RACE RAISE YOUR LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR HIM OR DID IT JUST CONFIRM WHAT YOU ALREADY KNEW? "He was definitely cheating (everybody laughs). He just did a great job. I knew last year that he was capable if he got out front of getting the job done. He picked up so fast and adapted very well the year before that I was like you know if we can get the right situation, he can win the race. The funny thing about Jimmie in a dirt car is that he's extremely fast in the corners and horrible down the straightaways (laughs) and he's the first one to admit it. He hits the wall on just about every straightaway and those things; they have so much rear steer going down the straightaway that you have to compensate for it and that's something we're not used to on asphalt. So it's always funny. We always laugh about it. He crashes down the straightaway and never in the corner (laughs) where everybody else does. But we had a blast. I appreciate all my dirt guys and all their hard work. I tell you, it was a long week. To see the result at the end of the week pay off for those guys just made me happy. On that note, we appreciate all you guys (media) showing up for that (Prelude to the Dream). Everybody doesn't have to be there and we appreciate you guys showing up and making that even what it is."
THE PRELUDE SEEMS TO BRING EVERYBODY TOGETHER AND IT'S FOR A SPECIAL CAUSE. AT THE SAME TIME YOU GUYS ARE ABLE TO BLOW OFF SOME STEAM AND BUILD SOME COMRADERY. DO YOU NEED TO SEE MORE OF THAT IN NASCAR? "See, I'm most comfortable there. That's how I grew up hanging out with the racers. You might not like them but you race together to much that you're forced to hang out with them and that's what's weird about racing at this level in my opinion. It's so competitive and serious and so important that you never see a guy hanging around after the race together you know; having a beer and laughing at each other and making fun of each other and enjoying that. So, in my opinion, that's a lot of fun. The most fun about the whole thing is having everybody down in the hauler after the races. We've lost a race or two but we've never lost a party (laughs). I think my two cars were the last ones to get loaded up that night if they ever did. I think that it's pretty incredible that Tony (Stewart) is able to pull that off and get everybody there on their own time. Putting a lot of money forth for a good cause for the kids is a good situation and he's always come up with a good charitable cause for that.
"I would like to see more of that, maybe two or three more races like that, I don't know, maybe in a Cup car or something; some sort of All-Star race that's different. It was a lot of fun and hopefully maybe NASCAR can open up to something similar to that or something, not necessarily dirt or whatever to give back. You've got to remember that Late Model racing, that level of racing, struggles just like the Cup series does, probably even more because it doesn't have so much attention on it. So when they can have a week like they're having here in that sport at Eldora, you've got all those fans. Those guys are still there watching a great race this weekend. That's important to give back to that level and that grassroots racing as well."
IS THERE A DRIVER, SOMEONE THAT DRIVES YOUR DIRT STUFF THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO COME OVER HERE (NASCAR) AT SOME POINT? ARE YOU GOING TO TO ELDORA IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS? "Dale (McDowell) is 44, so he'd better get after it if he's going to make it here (laughs). We've actually been talking about getting another driver and trying to develop a younger driver to that situation exactly. That's what's fun about it to be able to give back a little bit for me and being able to teach somebody a little bit and Dale's credentials speak for himself and he has driving schools and things like that so it would fit. So, absolutely. I think there are guys in that series. Josh Richards is one that's up and coming. I think he's in the ARCA race here. He's a kid who can be at this level."
FOLLOWING UP ON THE ALL-STAR CONCEPT OF DOING THIS ON A REGULAR BASIS, THEY USED TO HAVE THE INTERNATIONAL RACE OF CHAMPIONS (IROC) AND THAT WENT AWAY FOUR YEARS AGO. HAS ELDORA SUPPLANTED THAT? "You know, it sounds like it. It's a fun and challenging race. It's always fun to see those guys like Tony Kanaan show up. He picked up the dirt when he first got there and said, 'What the hell am I doing here'! But he showed up, you know what I mean? And he was there and was up for the challenge and I think that's the most important thing. And that's kind of what I was getting at. I heard it this weekend that it (Prelude) was kind of compared to the IROC deal of today and maybe that situation can open up to something else."
NASCAR CAME DOWN PRETTY HARD THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 38 TEAM FOR A BIG PENALTY. DOES THAT GET YOUR ATTENTION AND DO YOU THINK, WOW, WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL? DO YOU THINK IT WAS FAIR? "I hate to say it. I was in Eldora. I don't have a clue. I'll have to get to a computer somewhere and try to read it sometime, but I've been very busy lately. I don't have a clue what happened."
-source: gm racing