Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed expectations in his Nationwide car and strategy to maintain points lead, the point system in Chase and racing at Phoenix. HOW DOES...
Clint Bowyer, No. 07 Jack Daniel's Impala SS, met with members of the media at Texas Motor Speedway and discussed expectations in his Nationwide car and strategy to maintain points lead, the point system in Chase and racing at Phoenix.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO FINALLY GET A FULL PRACTICE IN ON FRIDAY? "It feels good. The Jack Daniel's Chevrolet does feel good. It is just fun to be out here on Friday just driving, not watching it rain. I am excited. We have to pick our game up here. We had a bad race in Atlanta, that was our mulligan. We have to look at it as that and get back in there and get back in the top-five in points. Get those points back. We are not very far away from that. We have to get moving in the right direction, a good practice session goes a long way."
HOW EXCITED ARE YOU TO GET QUALIFYING IN? "I am. I think make the field as far as the Chase goes, maybe a little bit different. Everybody has been starting up front, so there hasn't been a lot of variance in points, not a lot of shakeup in points it seems like. We have a good qualifying draw. I am looking to hopefully have a good qualifying run. The car is decent. I it close man, I think there were five cars there around a .14, we are one-tenth from the pole. I think a good draw and a good run at it tonight and have a shot at it."
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING OUT OF YOUR NATIONWIDE CAR? "It felt good. We will kinda of have a little more control over our destiny this week. A lot of things were out of my control last week, the guys did the best they could with what we had, it just didn't work out. You are bound to have that, we have a hell of a year over there and we have had a lot of fun. We are still 116 points or whatever up. There is no reason to panic. The main focus is catching the No. 20 car (for NNS owner's championship). Don't want to focus on the No. 60 car (Carl Edwards). You don't want to look behind you, as a racer you are always looking forward and I am glad we have that No. 20 car to chase down for this owner's championship because it gives you something to look forward to."
"Like I said, I am looking at the No. 20 car, we fell back behind in that, that's catch up. I am trying to look forward and run him back down. I don't want to be sharing a party down there (at the banquet).
IS IT EASIER TO RACE IN THESE KINDS OF SITUATIONS WITH THE POINTS CLOSE? "The points are a lot closer on the Cup side than they are on the Nationwide side. We have to continue doing the things we have been doing in Nationwide. There is no need to panic, we still have a good lead. I was kind of bummed out Monday (after Memphis and Atlanta races) about our terrible nightmare of a weekend and Jeff Burton called me and he said 'Hey, if you would have come here the first of the year and said you are going to have 116 point lead with three races to go, would you be happy?' Of course you would, that is a lot to ask for and we have done a good job this year. Dan (Deeringhoff, crew chief) and those guys, I am really proud of them, they deserve that championship.
"We have 26 top-10 finishes; we have been solid week in and week. They have brought good race cars, they have worked hard and have done their homework and they deserve that. Anything can happen in the series and that can be taken from you. If everything goes the way everything has been going we will fine."
HAS KYLE BUSCH BECOME KIND OF A FOOTNOTE BECAUSE HE ISN'T GOING TO WIN THE SPRINT CUP? "No. He has had a fun year; he has had a good year. He has had a hellava ride; he has done a good job. Things just didn't go as planned in the Chase. That is what this Chase is all about. It is a fresh start; you have to be on your game when the money is on the line. Unfortunately they slipped up a little bit when it counted.
"He has had a stellar season. He can't shy away from 20 wins, been a long time since somebody has won 20 races, if they ever have. That is a heck of a year, something he can be proud of and have a good winter knowing that. He probably had a lot of fun and he has made a bunch of money."
WHO DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO BE YOUR TOUGHEST COMPETITION AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS SEASON? "The No. 48 has won everything the last two years In a row. If anybody that different that it wouldn't be the same case this year, they were crazy. I knew they were going to be the team to beat again or at least a team to beat for the championship. They have proven that two in a row wasn't a fluke."
TALK ABOUT PHOENIX: "Phoenix is one of my favorite race tracks. One mile race tracks. I have always had a lot of fun there. I have won a Nationwide race there. I like Phoenix, have had a lot of fun out there. Look forward to having two good races.
"I like tracks that are different. Turns one and two are short and tight. Three and four is kinda more sweeping and open. There is no perfect setup. You kind of compromise in one end to be good in the other and vice versa. It is a lot of fun to be able to do that.
"It is kind of like Richmond if you think about it. Richmond, you have the big dogleg on the front straightaway and the back straightaway is straight, it is real straight. You run out of room off of two and you have all the room in the world off of four. Again, two different setups and you have to compromise there a little bit. I love Phoenix; it is a good race track for us."
DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A CHANGE TO THE CHASE POINT SYSTEM? "No. Look at us. Last year we had a chance at it, this year we haven't done as good. We don't have a chance. It is just that simple. Jimmie Johnson has been on the game. We all knew they were going to be, we haven't risen to the occasion like we did last year. We have been struggling to do that and they haven't. That is just it. They have done a better job of beating everybody to the punch. That is the bottom line."
-credit: gm racing