CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media a Michigan International Speedway and discussed. Full transcript: TALK ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT YOUR DAD IS TO YOU, THIS BEING FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND: "We have been teasing...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media a Michigan International Speedway and discussed. Full transcript:
TALK ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT YOUR DAD IS TO YOU, THIS BEING FATHER'S DAY WEEKEND: "We have been teasing each other and having fun. That is what we do. He has been at the house now for about two months, he is on the road, I told him, ok, you have to go back home. (LAUGHS) He drove over to Kentucky and is waiting on me over there to run that Nationwide race. It is important. It is important to have your family around. They are so involved with everything I do. Pops has been there from day one. He as watched almost every race I been in. I wouldn't have it any other way."
BESIDES THE LOGISTICS, HOW MENTALLY DOES IT CHANGE YOUR WEEKEND? "It is difficult especially now since we aren't able to practice. It throws everything for a loop a little bit when you show up. Your first lap on the track is your money lap in qualifying. Just looking forward to going over there. This whole month of doing that, bouncing back and forth, riding in helicopters, flying back and forth to the race track, that is a dream come true for a race car driver. Don't let me kid you. It put a little strain on you and it pulls away from both. The Cup side you are trying to give it 100%, you are trying to focus on practice, what the thing needs for the race, what the thing needs for qualifying. Then in the back of your mind, you are thinking what do I have to do to be good over there in that Nationwide car. Once we get this month out of the way, it is going to be fun. But, it is an important month. You need to take advantage of this situation. This is a make or break you month, in my opinion. A lot of guys can be distracted from that. If you allow yourself too, you will make mistakes, you will have that bad race. I have said from day one in the Nationwide deal. It is not going to be the guy who wins the most races that wins the championship; it is going to be the one that makes the fewest mistakes. Right now, we are just focusing on not making any mistakes."
IS WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES THE ONLY REASON YOU ARE DOING THIS? "Absolutely. Third time is the charm, hopefully. Absolutely, it is a sore spot not being able to win, coming up short twice. I want to win it."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE MEETING YESTERDAY WITH NASCAR? "I think this is a great sport. I think this is an unbelievable chance of a lifetime for all of us involved. From drivers, to team owners, to sponsors, to media. This is all of our sport, you know. I think he said it best. It is up to us to see what direction this sport goes. We gotta make sure this...we're all proud of this sport. Whether we complain or whatever, you are going to have your bad days, you are going to have your good days. This is a wonderful sport to be a part of, it still is, it always will be. It is up to us to continue that."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE CLOSED DOOR MEETING LIKE THAT WITH DRIVERS AND THE NASCAR OFFICIALS? "Yes, it would be kind of nice. You hear both sides of the story then. NASCAR has done a good job of getting this sport to where it is today. You they aren't going to make mistakes. They are going to continue to make those good decisions that brought us here."
WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING YOU HAVE DONE FOR YOUR SPONSOR, OF COURSE KEEPING IN MIND THAT YOU HAVE TO ENJOY RESPONSIBLY? "That is the first message, pace yourself, drink responsibly. I do have an awesome sponsor. Going to appearances and stuff like that, I get to go to a bar or club, hang out with friends and just kind of mingle. I don't have to sit at a table all the time and sign autographs for two hours. I get to have fun and do things that people my age do. I love it. It been a while since I have done something. I don't want to say it has been too long (LAUGHS) they will make go do more.
"The neatest thing about Jack Daniels, all the Jack Daniels in the world is built right there in a town of Lynchburg (TN), it is awesome. It is unbelievable. It is still very old school. Very traditional. It is a neat place to go even if you aren't a fan of Jack Daniel's, it is a neat little small town America that still can make a big impact in the world and I think that is pretty cool deal."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO COME BACK FROM A STRING OF BAD FINISHES? "That is probably one of the hardest thing is trying to bounce back from a few bad weekends. We have fast cars, we have good guys. We have made some mistakes. The last two weekends, you can't just chalk them up to bad luck because both of them could have been prevented. We had a part failure and then I had a brain failure last week and I crashed. That is the most important thing right now is getting the ball heading back in the right direction.
"You have to rely on the facts to do that and that is how we have been running. We are still inside the Chase, we still have go some momentum, we have still won a race this year. We have run up front. We have rattled off seven top-10s in a row earlier in the season. You have to build on that, you have to think back to those and put out the bad weekends we have had as of late and go back to what we were doing.
"The first foremost thing that I always try to do when you have a bad weekend, is put it behind you right then. You get out of the car, by the time you are even out of the car, apologize to the guys, kiss and make up so to speak and go on about your week. If you dwell on the past, it is going to haunt you. You just look forward to the future and looking forward to getting a good race here."
DID YOU NOTICE SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT JUAN PABLO MONTOYA WATCHING HIM AT SONOMA LAST YEAR? "Yes, he is and F1 driver and roadracing is where he came from. Absolutely, he is experienced at those type of race tracks. It was no shock to me that he ran good, it was impressive that he won the race, but I knew that was going to be, if any track, would be one, Watkins Glen and there would be a track that he would run good at.
"I just think he is good at it. He is used to doing it. He did it week in and week out his whole career. We've run circles our whole lives. I would say if he is behind anywhere, it is obviously on these types of race tracks. If we are behind him anywhere, it is on the roadcourse. I think that is due to his past, his upbringing and everything like that. That is the way he was raised and brought up and that is always going to be his specialty.
"It is impressive. I think some of them (open wheel drivers) have struggled. Montoya, I think he has impressed everybody. He is the first one that got the guts up and said he was going to do this deal. He had a reputation on the line; he is an F-1 driver and took a big chance in my opinion at a point in his career where he probably didn't even have to. Came to this sport and did a good deal."
IS NASCAR STILL THE FAMILY ATMOSPHERE AND A FAN SPORT? DOES THE SITUATION WITH THE LAWSUIT CHANGE IT? "I think NASCAR is every bit a fan sport. I think it has always had that family atmosphere and it is a shame to think anything else. You look in the stands and you see Moms and Dads and their kids there, as their parents showed them NASCAR. I think there is a lot of history and tradition that doesn't need to be tarnished. It is up to all of us, media included, to this sport alive and what has always been.
"Things are going to happen; you have to react to them just like anything else in the world. There are bad things that happen in the world. The reason I don't I watch the news any more is because all they want to talk about is the negative stuff. I guess my comment to the media, is this is all of our sport and bad things happen in the world, all over the world and in any sport.
"We have to live with that fact and we have to make the best of it and do what we can to try to make it a better place.
"Obviously NASCAR has done their homework on the past in making this a great sport. We will react to the things that happen and make it a better sport in the future."
DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE A GUY LIKE FRANCHITTI AND A GUY LIKE HORNISH A YEAR OR SO HERE? "I think only time will tell. Maybe Montoya is an exception, maybe he is, maybe he's not. It is up to those guys to prove that fact. I haven't followed Indy racing and open wheel, I am a stock car guy. I am a NASCAR guy (LAUGHS). But for those guys, it is still impressive what they are able to... You come out of a car that has 2,000 lbs of downforce and get in these shoe boxes and slide around all day for 500 miles, that is a change, that is a big change. It is a big learning curve and it is going to take some time to overcome it."
DO YOU THINK THE RISING GAS PRICES WILL AFFECT THIS SERIES? "It is already affecting it. It is affecting everybody. It is affecting the whole country. Look at these trucks and trailers and what it takes to put this circus on. All of our souvenir haulers out there, these rigs getting back and forth. Test haulers, it is affecting everybody all across the board right now. Fans in the stands coming to watch our races. It is unfortunate deal for everybody. I mean, it is not just us. It is the whole country.
"No, we won't cut back races. It is just going to make it tougher, just like it is on everybody in the world."
ARE THEY TESTING THE CARBON MONOXIDE LEVELS MORE IN YOUR CAR? CARL EDWARDS SAID THEY WERE FOR HIM: (LAUGHS) "Hell, I don't know. I can't tell you they weren't too good after I crashed and knocked the crash panels out of that thing last week. Those guys were complaining about heat last week. Holy Cow. They better not crash one and go back out there. Whew! It was hot!
"Look at back in the day, those guys would blister their hands off, their feet off and we are complaining about getting hot. It is a whole different deal. We don't blisters. I don't think any of those guys complained, actually fell out of the seat and couldn't pull their own body out of the seat like they used to, times have changed. I don't want to speak too loud, probably be me crawling out of my car this week. (LAUGHS)"
-credit: gm racing