Phoenix: Bowyer Friday wake-up call

NEXTEL CUP WAKE-UP CALL WITH CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 DIRECT TV IMPALA SS CLINT BOWYER TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW-GENERATION RACE CAR AND ON THE SEASON THUS FAR: TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT IT IS TO BE THIS FAR AHEAD IN POINTS THIS EARLY IN THE ...

NEXTEL CUP WAKE-UP CALL WITH CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 DIRECT TV IMPALA SS

CLINT BOWYER TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW-GENERATION RACE CAR AND ON THE SEASON THUS FAR:

TALK ABOUT HOW GREAT IT IS TO BE THIS FAR AHEAD IN POINTS THIS EARLY IN THE SEASON: "Everyone's been doing their job on the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet, bringing good cars to the track every week. That's a big part of it - preparation. It all starts at the race shop so (crew chief) Gil (Martin) and everybody have been doing a great job with that. We've been strong week in and week out. I think we've been a top-10 car every week; I've learned a lot in the car and I think we've learned a lot communication-wise as well."

YOU HAVE A SHOT AT GETTING INTO THE ALL-STAR CHALLENGE BUT IF YOU DON'T WIN A RACE YOU'RE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR THE NEXTEL FAN VOTE - TELL US ABOUT THE VIGNETTE YOU RECORDED FOR THAT: "They drug us out there to the side of the road when we did that. It was a lot of fun to do that but hopefully we won't have to use that commercial; hopefully we'll be able to win a race and do it that way. A million bucks to win that baby and it would be fun to be part of it."

WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEW CAR HERE? "Well, we're struggling a little bit so it's hard for me to answer that. It's definitely a lot higher speed out there. The cars are getting into (turn) one and having to back the corner up a little bit, keep it off the splitter, things like that. So it's going to be interesting; I think there's going to be a lot more cautions. It's really up on top of the race track slipping and sliding around and it's just going to be the nature of the beast with this car."

IS THERE A DIFFERENT FEEL FOR THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR OR DO YOU THINGK IT'S MORE OF THE SAME? "I think it's just about being a lot more comfortable and feeling like you belong here and fitting in. I think that's a big part of it. Going to these tracks a second time, that was a big advantage. Last year going to race tracks you've never seen before and racing against these guys, you just made a lot of mistakes. I was able to learn from them and I'm trying to capitalize on it."

HOW DO YOU WORK WITH YOUR TEAMMATES? "Well, they're faster than I am (laughs); I'll be trying to see what they're doing. Obviously both of them are very experienced; they know what they are doing out there. Jeff Burton is so polished on and off the race track. You learn so much from him. I was over in his hauler just a little bit ago trying to figure out what they were doing; maybe what he was doing in the driver's seat different than I was. That's a huge advantage of a multi-car team - when you're struggling you go over there and ask them questions. That's exactly what I do."

HAVE YOU EVER LEFT THE TRACK THINKING YOUR CAR WASN'T DRIVABLE (AFTER A WRECK) AND IT ACTUALLY STILL WAS? "Well, I think if you tear your race car up the least you can do is stick around to see if they can fix it."

IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIFIC YOU ARE LOOKING FOR HERE WITH THE NEW CAR AS OPPOSED TO MARTINSVILLE OR BRISTOL? "Oh, definitely. You're getting into turn one; obviously you're using a lot of brake at Martinsville but you get off into one here with so much speed and have to slow down so much it's hard to keep that thing off the splitter. Once you've hit that splitter it seems like it goes haywire. It takes off every which way - nose first, gets loose. It upsets the car when it gets down on that thing and keeping the car off of it is a big part of it."

HOW WILL THAT BE DIFFERENT IN TRAFFIC? "I think it will be worse. You do a lot of passing; get up in underneath of them onto (turn) four and roll off into one underneath them, trying to out-brake them. It's going to be hard to out-brake them and stay off of them."

YOU WERE FAIRLY STRONG HERE LAST YEAR AND YOU'RE STRUGGLING TODAY. WHAT CAN YOU BRING TO THIS? "I think you bring some things but it's a whole new animal. The setups are quite a bit different; it's all travel. When you're traveling as much as you were you're going to have to change something. It's just trying to get a good balance on it. I know Gil and the guys will come up with something here. They'll pull a rabbit out of the hat; I know they would."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup