CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed his mindset for this race, keeping his mind off of the Chase situation, strategy for the Chase and other ...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed his mindset for this race, keeping his mind off of the Chase situation, strategy for the Chase and other topics.
TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET HEADING INTO RICHMOND THIS WEEKEND: "We have a really good Nationwide car so far, so having some fun here so far. Had a lot of laps on the track already. That has kind of helped keep your mind off of everything that is going on with the Cup car. Man, I'll tell you, with a 117 point lead, whatever it is, that is a pretty good pad. We've just got to go out, with any luck at all, we'll be in this thing. If we're not, I'd said it was not meant to be. This is an important race track for us. It is one of my best race tracks. Looking forward to getting practice underway here and seeing what we have for a car."
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO KEEP YOUR MIND OFF THE CHASE SITUATION AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO PREPARE FOR THIS WEEKEND? "Well, actually over probably the last four months, I've put off working on my dirt car for Kansas, so I am behind on it. I've been building a new body for it and getting it ready to go so I can be ready here at the end of the month or first of next month for Kansas Speedway. Looking forward to doing that. Just been at the shop working with the dirt guys and having fun. Last week was a very very important week for us. We struggled big time in the middle part of that race and we were able to get back up and get a top-10 finish. More importantly, put some more points in between them and us. That was a huge sigh of relief."
WHO IS MORE NERVOUS, YOU OR SHANE WILSON (CREW CHIEF); SHANE SAYS IT IS YOU: "I've been in this deal before. (LAUGHS) I know when to be nervous and when not too and it's still time to be nervous. It is a good feeling going in with over a hundred point lead and in the situation we are in. I mean, anything can happen, of course. But, the odds are in our favor certainly. Looking forward to the race; looking forward to having a good night. This is my favorite race track. The night race at Richmond like this-this is an awesome awesome race to be a part of. I am looking forward to it and enjoying the rest of the night with all the festivities. This is a special thing to be a part of that Chase is very relieving, very gratifying. You know, that is a pretty elite crowd, 12 drivers, 12 teams and an opportunity to win a championship is pretty special."
JAMIE MCMURRAY WAS QUOTED LAST WEEK SAYING HE WOULDN'T GIVE UP HIS DAYTONA 500 AND BRICKYARD 400 TROPHIES FOR A BERTH IN THE CHASE, WOULD YOU GIVE UP A BERTH IN THE CHASE TO HOLD THE TWO TROPHIES FOR WHAT IS ARGUABLY THE TWO BIGGEST RACES? "You want to be greedy and have them all. But, those are two big, big races that go down in the history books. I'd probably rather be in his shoes right now. The Daytona 500 is special and we were pretty close. It was very frustrating to watch him walk off into Victory Lane. That is a special race. To win that thing, like I said, only the best drivers in this sport have won that race and it is pretty cool."
CAN DRIVERS REALLY TRY HARDER IN THIS RACE THAN THEY HAVE ALL SEASON? "You give it 100%. What happens is some teams can afford to take gambles; fuel mileage-wise, tire-wise, strategy-wise and that separates the race out. It really shakes things up. At the end of the races you are going to see guys keeping track position and doing whatever it takes to be up front to have that opportunity to win. Whereas, you normally may not see that when everything is riding on the line. At the end of the day, to answer your question, drivers can't do anything. They better be giving it 100% and they are. If they are at this level in this sport, they give it 110% every time they are on the race track."
I'VE HEARD YOU SAY TWO THINGS, THAT YOU ARE A LITTLE BIT CONCERNED STILL AND THEN, UNLESS THE WHEELS FALL OFF, THIS IS OUR CHASE TO BE IN SO WHAT IS THE RATIO OF YOUR MINDSET AND HOW MUCH THOUGHT ARE YOU GIVING TO THAT? "Anything can happen-any time. You can get run over crossing the street. It is like I tell people, every time I get on my Harley and they whine about me riding a motorcycle, I say 'Hey, you can die walking across the street, this is easy'. I was nervous about running the Nationwide Series these last few races because I didn't know the situation we'd be in and I didn't know how that would interfere. I'll tell you, it has really complimented us. We ran bad last week, but it gave me some laps on the track and kept my mind off of just worrying about the Chase and the Cup car. Same thing here, the car is very fast and right now, I haven't even thought about my Cup car because I have a shot at winning this thing tonight and that is what I am looking forward to."
KEVIN (HARVICK) SAID HE MIGHT BE JUST AS NERVOUS AS YOU ARE IN TERMS OF TRYING TO GET AROUND YOU CLEANLY AND NOT BE CAUSING YOU ANY DISRUPTION OUT THERE, DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE PITCHER WHO IS THROWING A NO-HITTER RIGHT NOW AND NO ONE WANTS TO COME NEAR YOU OR GET YOU OUT OF YOUR GAME? "Respect goes a long way in this sport. I feel like I respect drivers on the race track and in return, they respect me back. I appreciate that and I am proud of that. You know what I mean? The No. 39 (Ryan Newman) bounced off a few last week, I would say if someone is going to retaliate, it probably wouldn't be on the No. 33 ball but it will be on the No. 39 ball. (LAUGHS) I'm looking forward to just having a good race. Like I said, I don't want to lose focus on the task at hand; we are here to win the race. Don't let me kid. That is what everybody is here to do. This is a fun, very important part of this sport, these short tracks in my opinion. This is an opportunity for me to run well."
ON THE ASSUMPTION YOU ARE IN THE CHASE, RCR WILL HAVE THREE CARS AND SO WILL ROUSH FENWAY RACING, KURT BUSCH WILL BE THE LONE DODGE AND LONE GUY FROM HIS TEAM, IS THERE ANY STRENGTH IN NUMBERS WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE FINAL 10 RACES? "Absolutely. You look at our performance all year long at RCR, it has been very good. These race tracks, if you look at just the No. 33 car, within these last 10 races, we've run well at the first time around at most of them. Actually ran in the top-five. What we've got to get better at is getting the finish like my teammate Kevin Harvick has. He's done a great job at showing the potential of RCR cars all season long. If Jeff (Burton) and I can match his success early in the season these last 10 races and put it together for 10 races, we're going to have a shot at winning the championship at RCR."
IS IT A BENEFIT TO HAVE TEAMMATES IN THE CHASE BECAUSE YOU ARE PUSHING ONE ANOTHER OR LIKE KURT, HAVE TWO TEAMMATES WHO HAVE BEEN TRYING THINGS TO MAKE HIM BETTER? "Make no mistake, whether you are in the Chase or not, you are still a teammate and you better be a teammate. That is why they have multi-car teams. I would say that him (Kurt Busch) having teammates that are not in the Chase might open the door for an opportunity to come up with that home run. Whereas, an organization that has all three cars in the Chase, you aren't going to have a guy that can go out and try something that is completely out of the box that may be the big hitter for that night. That might even play in their favor a little bit someday."
IN '07 YOU ENTERED THE CHASE AFTER THE RESET IN LAST AND A LOT OF PEOPLE PROBABLY OVERLOOKED YOU AS A CONTENDER AND YOU FINISHED THIRD, THIS YEAR IS THE SAME SCENARIO, SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO WIN THIS CHAMPIONSHIP? AND TWO, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THE PERSONAL MENTAL PRESSURE IS DIFFERENT IN THE CHASE AND HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT? "Consistency always wins championships. I think it is going to be even more crucial this time around. You don't have dominant race cars like you did the last couple of years with Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick Motorsports camp. You are actually seeing Superman struggle a little bit and everybody has caught up to them. Everybody has learned from them and the pace they set. I think everybody has caught up a little bit. I really do believe going into Homestead, you are going to have four or three to six cars in a legit shot for the championship. I just think that is how close the racing is these days and the one that can stay the most consistent is going to be the one that comes out on top. For us, as the last car going in, we have nowhere else to go but up. Nobody expects you to do anything in the Chase, you are the last car in and it is fun to race that way. That is the way it was in '07. You don't have any pressure. You go out and have fun each and every week and the results come. It is just so much easier to race that way."
-source: gm racing