Phoenix II: Bowyer - Friday media visit

Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and discussed his goal for the next two races, racing at Homestead, evaluating this season with the Impala SS, what he plans to do...

Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) and discussed his goal for the next two races, racing at Homestead, evaluating this season with the Impala SS, what he plans to do after Homestead, if he's concerned about holding off Kyle Busch, where things turned for him this season, his emotions throughout the Chase, what else there is to learn about the new car, the next steps needed for his team's progress, his luck during the Chase, whether he considers himself a top-three or top-10 team and if he sometimes has difficulty believing where he is at the moment.

ARE YOU AT THE POINT NOW WHERE YOU RACE ALL OUT? "We got to try to win these last two races and hope for a mistake on their (Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon) part. That's all we can do championship wise. It's been a really successful year. It's been a fun year. I want to win again. It was my goal to win at least two races this year and I'm a little bit shy of that. We got two chances to do that and that's what I'm focused on."

HOMESTEAD IS A UNIQUE TRACK. HOW DO YOU GET AROUND THAT TRACK? "Homestead probably isn't one of my best race tracks but we ran well there in last year's race and (I'm) hoping we can improve on that. If we've done what we've done throughout the whole Chase we'll be able to improve on that and have a good day."

HOW HAS NASCAR'S NEW GENERATION RACE CAR EVOLVED THIS SEASON? "I definitely that it has. I think that our crew chiefs and engineers and everybody involved have definitely made these cars handle a lot better and put on a lot better race for the fans for sure."

HOW WOULD YOU GRADE THE NEW GENERATION RACE CAR? "I'd say starting off we were probably a C and I really feel like Gil (Martin) and the engineers and everybody on the Jack Daniel's Chevrolet, I think they've got an A especially since the Chase. This car's been a big part of the Chase and they've done their homework and picked it up and caught up to the Hendrick cars."

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO DOING AFTER HOMESTEAD WHEN YOU HAVE TIME OFF? "Whatever I want to do (laughs) and that's what's weird (to) just have a weekend off. I'm looking forward to the holidays, going back and seeing family and friends and everybody back home in Kansas. Just do things you haven't had a chance to do."

IS THERE ANY CONCERN ABOUT HOLDING OFF KYLE BUSCH? "Obviously yeah. You never want to get caught from behind but right now unless something drastically major happens that won't happen. Better not happen."

WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE THINGS TURNED FOR YOU THIS SEASON? "I think our season was solid week in and week out but I think it really did change and turn for the better when we got our first win. That was the confidence booster that we needed and that propelled us to the next level."

HOW MUCH DID YOUR EMOTIONS CHANGE FROM JUST GETTING INTO THE CHASE TO BEING A CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER AND THEN LAST WEEK HAVING IT ALL COME APART? HAVE YOU LOOKED BACK ON THAT? "Oh yeah. It's an emotional sport. Auto racing is (emotional). It doesn't matter what level it is. It can show you the highest of highs and drag you down to lowest of lows right off the bat. That's racin'. When it's your day it's your day and when it's not there isn't a darn thing you can do about it."

HOW DO YOU EVALUATE YOUR RUN FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "We've definitely had things go our way here in the Chase, there's no denying that. But I'm a firm believer in making your own luck. A lot of people said that deal in Atlanta where the No. 48 ended up winning. we've seen them, time and time again, put themselves in a situation that if they aren't the fastest car, somebody makes a mistake and they're there to pounce on it. That's what it takes."

HOW MUCH MORE IS THERE TO LEARN ABOUT THIS CAR OF TOMORROW? "I think there's always that next thing; there's always that next trick of the week. I'm just fascinated by how these guys keep coming up with different things; the latest and greatest trick of the week. It's amazing, it really is."

WHAT DO YOU GUYS NEED TO DO TO TAKE THAT NEXT STEP? "You know, just a little bit of everything. It's not one thing. It's really not. It's not one thing in particular that we can improve on and say 'we're going to go to win in the last five races'. We've got to nitpick a few little things and get better. Everybody's got to pick up their game."

HOW DO YOU EVALUATE YOUR RUN FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP? "We've definitely had things go our way here in the Chase, there's no denying that. But I'm a firm believer in making your own luck. A lot of people said that deal in Atlanta where the No. 48 ended up winning. we've seen them, time and time again, put themselves in a situation that if they aren't the fastest car, somebody makes a mistake and they're there to pounce on it. That's what it takes."

IS YOUR TEAM A TOP-12 TEAM THAT WAS LUCKY WITH THE TIMING OF THE CHASE OR ARE YOU A TOP-THREE TEAM THAT NEEDED TO CATCH BREAKS? "I don't believe we're a top-10 or top-12 team at all. You look inside the Chase. I was looking at some website the other day with the points the way they used to be. We've run down and gained a lot of ground on teams. I think we'd be fourth in points with the old system. We've really gained a lot of ground on the cars that were ahead of us so by no means do I think we were. I think we're where we deserve to be and obviously from where the hauler's parked, it proves it."

DO YOU HAVE MOMENTS OF DISBELIEF WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU STAND? "Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, I was on the way home from Charlotte just pissed that I didn't pass the No. 24 car and I was like 'who would have thought the day would have came in my life when I was mad that I didn't pass Jeff Gordon on the last lap'. It's just a very gratifying place to be in, position to be in and I'm really enjoying and having a lot of fun with it."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Clint Bowyer , Kyle Busch