CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS met with media and discussed racing in the rain in Montreal, staying in the top 12 in points, how he can improve at The Glen, and more. DO YOU HAVE ANY RACES THAT GOT AWAY, AND IF SO, HOW DOES THAT ...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS met with media and discussed racing in the rain in Montreal, staying in the top 12 in points, how he can improve at The Glen, and more.
DO YOU HAVE ANY RACES THAT GOT AWAY, AND IF SO, HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOU NOW? "You learn from them. Last year at Richmond, the Chase cutoff, I was passing Denny (Hamlin) for the lead. Had a fast race car and spun out, you know. I was trying to stay off of him and spun out. I came back and as luck would have it, won the race when all hell broke loose earlier in the year there you know. So it felt good to go back and get a win when maybe you thought it should have been yours the year prior. But that's the neat thing about this sport. We race so much. You're going to make mistakes and you're going to learn from them and make yourself a better racer."
WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO MAKE THE RACES MORE EXCITING OR ADDRESS THE CONCERNS WE'RE STARTING TO HEAR FROM THE CASUAL FANS? "Well, I'm not going to flip anymore (laughs). That was enough for me. It is an issue. If it's fun for us in the race car, then it's fun for our fans to watch and for you guys (media) to watch. That's the bottom line. And the way these races are playing out a little bit with fuel mileage and things like that, isn't always fair as a racer. But as a team, that's what makes this a team sport. Pit stops and everything else are so crucial. There is a lot to this sport. It's a very fan-friendly sport. I think that's what separates us from the rest. I think the car will evolve and make better racing. Everybody always wants to point fingers at the car. Obviously, I'm racing in the Nationwide Series and have a lot of fun racing over there with the downforce cars. It's a different animal. Everybody's got to learn it and as we learn it and get better with it, it will promote better racing."
WILL RUNNING THE NATIONWIDE SERIES RACE THIS WEEKEND HELP YOU ON THE CUP SIDE? "Absolutely, and probably more so here than at a lot of places. Obviously with the car having so much more downforce and the motors having a lot less horsepower, that's a quite a bit different animal than at a place like Chicago where we were a month or so ago. At a place like this, it's laps. It doesn't matter if you're driving a dump truck around there, laps on a road course and being familiarized with the surroundings and all the aspects of road racing, especially for a driver like me who grew up racing motocross. I didn't race go-karts on road courses and things like my teammate, Kevin Harvick, did. And having good teammates like Kevin, who is an experienced and a proven winner, he's won here before. He's been to Road Atlanta testing and doing those things. I know I have 100 percent confidence in what he does and what he says and what he feels on these road courses is going to be right for me."
YOU ARE 12TH IN POINTS RIGHT NOW. WITH FIVE RACES LEFT BEFORE THE CHASE, WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM NEED TO DO TO KEEP IN THE TOP 12? "Just do what we do, and dig deep. I'm really, really proud of the guys. At Pocono we had a good finish. Gil made a really good call on pit road and got us a good finish there, which was needed. We're still in this thing. We're 12th. We were digging ourselves out. Actually at the big tracks, that's where we've been hurting this year with the new car. On short tracks we've been really good as always, but on big tracks we've lost a little bit of grip. We've been testing our rear ends off. We've been in Nashville the last two weeks and we're going again next week, trying to figure this thing out so we can go to Michigan and be good there. We're just doing everything we can do to make sure that we're in this thing. We know how important it is and we want to be a part of it."
COULD YOU TALK ABOUT RACING IN THE RAIN LAST WEEKEND, NOT SO MUCH ABOUT THE TIRES, BUT ABOUT THE CARS. WOULD IT WORK FOR A SPRINT CUP CAR HERE AT WATKINS GLEN? "You know, it's funny. I thought about that all week. It was so much fun. It was so different. Running in the rain? I mean, it was pouring down rain! We were hydroplaning and everything else, it was just awesome. It was so much fun. But the thing we need to work on obviously is just being able to see. I don't think anybody was 100 percent, maybe even 50 percent prepared for the rain and nobody really ever thought it would become a reality, but it did. And when they called one (lap) to go and we were coming around there, I bet everybody's radio was going, 'What? No way they're going to do this.' And they did and it worked out pretty good. If it's fun for us, it's got to be fun to watch. And I just saw some highlights and it looked pretty cool. Hopefully maybe they'll do it again on a road course somewhere. We just need to work on the windshield wipers and our visibility because as we saw, we were crashing under caution (because) we can't see. We need to work on that, but I think it worked well. We were up in Canada and a long way from home, and it would have been bad to go back up there Monday or Tuesday and re-run that race. Here or at Sonoma, if that opportunity ever presented itself again, I think it would work."
DO YOU THINK THE CUP DRIVERS WOULD BE OPEN TO THAT? WOULD THERE BE APPEAL JUST BECAUSE OF THE GRIND OF THE SERIES AND NOT HAVING TO HANG AROUND ON MONDAY OR TUESDAY? "I think they would. It's pretty crazy. Some of them are worth a lot of money and I don't know if they'd want to go out there or not, but I had a lot of fun. I really did have a lot of fun with it. The fans, I mean nobody left. They were all toughing it out just like we were and making the best of a bad situation and a rainy day. I thought it was a neat situation and we made history right there."
BASED ON MONTREAL, WHAT SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT WOULD YOU HAVE ON TIRES OR OTHER FACTORS? "The tire, I don't know how much better you could make the tire. Maybe we could do some more testing and work on that. The visibility is what we have to work on (and) learning from the road racing Rolex and that stuff. Those guys were saying, man it's nothing like that. We can at least see. And the windshield wipers? Obviously there is more technology than Old Willie's Jeep, I think, was probably the windshield wiper system we had on our cars. It's probably a little bit better technology than that, and maybe a little bit better defrosters. It was actually all right at speed. Once we stopped under caution, everybody's windows fogged up and the heat wasn't able to leave the inside of the race car and that's really when it got bad."
YOU ARE BATTLING ONE OF YOUR TEAMMATES FOR A POSITION IN THE CHASE. MATT KENSETH AND DAVID REGAN APPEAR TO BE IN THE SAME POSITION. DO YOU LOOK AT IT THAT WAY WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, OR JUST TRY TO FOCUS ON WHAT YOUR TEAM IS DOING? 'Obviously he's (Kevin Harvick) one of them and you hope that it doesn't come down to racing him or him putting me out or me putting him out. Hopefully all three of us are in it. We're only 80-some points out of 7th place, and nine points out of 13th place. So there is a lot that can happen in five races right there. I'm looking at both of us being in it and all three of the RCR cars are back in the Chase where we belong."
HAVE YOU FIGURED OUT ANYTHING AT THE GLEN THAT CAN HELP YOU TO GET A GOOD FINISH THIS WEEKEND AND GAIN IN THE POINTS? "Yeah, we've definitely got to pick it up. I've run well at Sonoma. I've had two fourth-place finishes and both times have been out there. I've just got to get better here. Watkins Glen has been a little bit faster. I've had a lot more practice and I feel like I'm getting a better comfort level for road racing and becoming a better racer on it. So we've just got to keep improving and staying on track. You've got to finish these things. If you stay on the track and don't tear your equipment up and are easy on the transmission and don't blow your motor and all that kind of stuff, that's important and that the good road racers are good at, you'll finish good. We see it every year. We have the ringers come in and their too hard on equipment and break their equipment and I end up beating them. So, we've got to do that and I need to get better. This is a momentum track. I need to learn to carry a little bit of momentum up through the esses and the bus stop in the back and learning from those guys is how you do that."
-credit: gm racing