New Hampshire International Speedway
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET met with media and discussed difficulties of the past two race weekends, post-race inspection & penalty after last year’s race at New Hampshire, the upcoming race at Indianapolis, and more.
IS IT BITTERSWEET TO COME BACK TO NEW HAMPSHIRE AFTER LAST YEAR’S PENALTY? “No, hey; the trophy is in my house (laughs), and I am to have another one there. We’ve run well here. I’ve got to get things turned back around. That’s the biggest thing right now for us is just two bad weekends in a row. You know you go to Daytona and it’s bound to happen. We’ve had such great runs over the last few years at Daytona. You’re not going to go to a place like that 10 times and get 10 good finishes. You’re just not. It’s too much of a crapshoot. You’re going to get caught up in something sooner or later and unfortunately it was my time.
“Kentucky, the next week, that’s where it really hurts. That’s what has really set us back here in the points, and I can’t think of a better place right here in New Hampshire to get things turned back around and pointed in the right direction.”
YOU ARE 12TH IN THE POINTS. HOW CRITICAL IS IT TO GET A GOOD FINISH THIS WEEKEND? “Oh, this is a crucial time for us. We’ve got them breathing down our necks and we’re still within reaching distance of the cars in front of us, so this is a good time to get things pointed back in the right direction points-wise. But I tell you, with this crazy wildcard thing this is a good track for us to get a win and solidify ourselves in the Chase. So it’s an important weekend for sure.”
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS RACE TRACK? “We’ve always run well in a short flat-track program but there’s nothing to say as things quickly evolve in this sport, there’s nothing saying that that we’re not going to bring that same recipe back that we did last year and find that same success. We’re going to have to work hard. We’re going to have to find a good balance on our race car; no different than we always do. But it seems like it’s easier to find that balance for us on a track like this.”
ON THE PENALTY “The biggest thing that I don’t understand about it is that it passed post-race inspection and it gets back to something that nobody understands or knows a lot about; which is fine. I was okay. A penalty is a penalty and if you’re caught, you’re caught; it doesn’t matter what I think at the end of the day. Kyle Busch was low at Pocono; and I know the significance of what that does for a race car. And it was a lot more than 60 (thousandths of an inch out of tolerance). That’s the way that I look at that and he got a slap on the wrist and we got pretty much a season-ending penalty.
“But it is what it is. It doesn’t matter. It’s behind me, it really is. It’s frustrating for me to have to come back here and answer questions about last year because I’m worried about last week, and overcoming last week; forget about last year.
HAVING TWO BAD WEEKS IN A ROW, HOW DO YOU ROLL WITH THAT DURING THE WEEK? “You go straight to the race shop and try to get to the bottom of it and try to help them figure out the problem. And that’s where I’ve been all week. That’s what you do. You’ve got to get back to work and you’re as big a part of that as anything. Obviously they don’t know the answer or they would have had it fixed. So you’ve got to go back there and communicate week by week; going back through the weeks and try to go through them one by one and hopefully through communication, you trip something in their mind that says oh man, we went in the wrong direction there. And first don’t make that mistake again and secondly even improve on it. So that’s what I do. I think that’s what the key is, it not letting it spiral out of control. That’s two bad weeks in a row. Everybody across the board, driver, crew chief, the pit crew, over the wall guys; it can very easily become a negative and spiral out of control. But there are so many positives about our season. We’ve run well and that’s what has put us in this situation. To have two bad weeks in a row and still be in the top 12 in points shows that our season has been pretty good. But we’ve got to put together a string of good runs and we’ve done that. We had six straight top-10 runs there and two of them were top-2 finishes and we almost won at Texas. We almost won at Talladega. We can do it. We’ve just got to get back after it and make it happen.”
HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEKEND AT KENTUCKY? “Not necessarily. There’s never that one thing, you know? A bunch of little things compile to make up the difference and fill that void and that’s what we’re slowly figuring out. It ain’t something that’s easy. If it was, they’d have it fixed a long time ago. It truly is difficult.”
NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS HERE, YOU’LL THEN HAVE AN OFF-WEEKEND. IS IT A GOOD TIME FOR AN OFF-WEEKEND? “Well, it would be a lot of fun if we won here; it would be a good time for an off-weekend. But you know, I’m confident that we’ll run well here. That’s the biggest thing. Points aside and everything else, you don’t want to run bad. We want to run up front. If things happen when you’re running up front, you’ve got a lot better feeling about it when something happens. Like at the end of the race last week, just to add insult to injury, the car blows out and we crash the car and end up destroying a car at the end of the night after being miserable all night. I was like, why didn’t this happen on lap 1? Why drag me through all this and then really destroy me at the end of the race. It was a pretty tough one to swallow.”
YOU HAVE RUN A LOT OF NATIONWIDE AND TRUCK RACES IN THE PAST, BUT NOT AS MANY AS KYLE BUSCH. HE’S ON THE VERGE OF HIS 100TH NASCAR VICTORY ACROSS THE THREE SERIES. WHERE DO YOU RATE THAT ACCOMPLISHMENT? “Oh, it’s big. Kyle, look at his age. He’s won a 100 races but he’s got a lot of time to win 100 more, and shows no sign of slowing down. Now this year has been a little more difficult for him. He hasn’t won the percentage that he has the last couple of years I think; but still nonetheless, what he’s accomplished in the short amount of time that he’s done it in is unbelievable.”
ON THE UPCOMING RACE AT INDIANAPOLIS, HOW SIMILAR IS THAT TO NEW HAMPSHIRE AS A FLAT TRACK WITH LONG STRAIGHTAWAYS? “Not at all (laughs). One is short with a top speed of about 130 mph and one’s about 210 mph; so it’s a whole different ballgame there. Aero is a big part of that and the almighty horsepower.”
DO YOU LIKE THE INDIANAPOLIS TRACK? “I do. I like being there. I’m not big on the race track itself, but the history and tradition behind it is really neat to be a part of.”
WHEN YOU FIRST SAW THAT PLACE, WHAT DID YOU THINK? “What the hell? (laughs). It’s way too big! Here’s what I think. And you think back in the day. Cars would run 80 mph around there. Can you imagine watching that race or being a part of that? Those straightaways had to have seemed pretty long.”
By: team chevy