CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed chemistry with a new team, paying attention to points this early in the season, the one-two-three finish for RCR last year and more. TALK...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed chemistry with a new team, paying attention to points this early in the season, the one-two-three finish for RCR last year and more.
TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND. "Going into Bristol here, obviously things are going good. Second in points. I didn't want to see the break in the schedule to be honest with you. Bristol has been a special place for me. This is a fun race track. Everybody loves coming here. Anything can happen at this place. You have to know that. Bottom line is you have to go into here with a positive attitude and think that you're going to get out of here on top. The last couple of years I have been able to get a little more comfortable here and the results are really coming around for me. Hopefully that will hold true and we'll get another good finish here."
A COUPLE OF YOU GUYS HAVE TALKED ABOUT HOW MUCH YOU WERE AT THE SHOP BEFORE THE SEASON TRYING TO GET TO KNOW THE GUYS, I'M GUESSING YOU WERE AT THE SHOP MORE THAN YOU HAVE BEEN NORMALLY WITHOUT THIS CHANGE. "Typically pre-season we were able to work five, six, seven tests together and really get that communication down and take advantage of those tests as getting your team ready and assembled for Daytona. We weren't able to do that his year. Not only with an old team that you knew but with a totally new team that we had to get acclimated to, learn each other. You know when I'm saying loose in the race car figuring out just how loose that is by the tone of my voice. That's the kind of communication that is crucial to run with competition as good as it is today in this sport. Those are things we'll have to use practice sessions for and practice isn't always the best. You usually get the result by the end of the race but the practice sessions have been rough because we're still trying to learn each other and learn what we're looking for out of each other. But certainly to answer your question, pre-season you were at the shop just trying to get to know each other. A completely new team was assembled underneath, some of them I knew from the championship run in the Nationwide Series. Some of them were completely new guys from other teams. Getting to know your guys and being on the same page is very important."
DID YOU SPEND ANY OF YOUR TIME OFF THINKING I'VE GOT TO GET READY TO GET BEAT ON FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS THIS WEEKEND? "Yeah, you definitely know going into Bristol you're going to take a butt kicking. It's just one of those race tracks but that's what makes it fun. It's a cool, cool race track. It does wear you out and takes it out of you but if you fall out of the seat in the race car holding onto the steering wheel you've got big problems."
SINCE THE CHASE WAS ADOPTED IN 2004, THE EVENTUAL CHAMPION HAS COME OUT OF THIS RACE IN THE TOP-FIVE IN POINTS FOUR TIMES OUT OF FIVE, HOW MUCH DO YOU GUYS PAY ATTENTION TO WHERE YOU ARE IN
POINTS RIGHT NOW SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR LATER? "I don't know. Is there any way I can screw it up that bad that I can be out of the top-five when I leave here? I hope there's not. Hopefully I will be in top-five and that will hold true and win the championship. With the way the Chase format is you're always thinking about points. You have to be in that Chase to have a chance at the championship so you're always thinking about points. If you can win the race, hell yeah you're going to try to win the race, but if you can't you have to back down and you have to try to get as many points as possible, lead laps and accumulate as many points as possible. Every week you're points racing."
FROM THE TIME RC (RICHARD CHILDRESS) TOLD YOU THAT YOU WERE GOING TO LOSE THE NO. 07 RIDE AND START SOMETHING ELSE COULD YOU HAVE IMAGINED SITTING RIGHT NOW WHERE YOU ARE IN THE POINTS, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EMOTIONS JUST GETTING FROM THAT POINT AND NOW YOU'RE HERE? "Well, certainly I had a lot of faith in Gil Martin and the success that we had was good but I had a lot of faith in myself too. I knew given the right team, the right people I could still get the job done. Richard (Childress) has surrounded me with good people and everybody with Shane Wilson. The more I get to work with Shane Wilson the more I like him. He's very methodical, he's very organized and its really working well for the communication side being that we were behind in that area any way. Through his organization it's really helped us stay ahead of our learning curve."
IT WAS A LITTLE MORE THAN SIX MONTHS AGO IN THIS ROOM THAT THEY MADE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT AND I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE AT THE TIME WERE WONDERING WHAT WAS GOING ON, RC (RICHARD CHILDRESS) WAS BREAKING UP A TEAM THAT MADE THE CHASE TWO YEARS IN A ROW, DID YOU NEED CONVINCING A LITTLE BIT AND DID HE SAY SOMETHING TO YOU THAT GAVE YOU FAITH THAT THIS WAS GOING TO WORK OUT? "When your boss says this is what you're going to do its pretty much what you're going to do. It definitely was nerve wrecking. You just don't ever know. You always know what you've got in the bank with what you had. It's hard to let that go but maybe it was time for a change and it's really opened my eyes in the beginning part of this season with a completely new team. New optimism, new everything, it's already opened my eyes to what can become of this. We haven't even hit our stride yet and we've already had three good finishes out of four. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season seeing what this team is made out of.
ON QUALIFYING AT BRISTOL. "Qualifying at this race track, it's hard you know. You have to get up on the wheel. This is one of the tracks where easy does it is going to be fast. This place is where you've got to mash the gas and jerk on the wheel and somehow in the middle of all that keep it smooth. If you slip up the least little bit you're out. The margin for error here is so small. The least little slip up and that's the difference between the pole and 25th. It's a tight field here."
ON JEFF BURTON'S APPEARANCE ON GENERAL HOSPITAL. "I did some radio call-ins this week and I didn't get to see it. My mom saw it and she said that he did pretty good. That's pretty cool. I didn't know he had Hollywood in him. He's a man of many talents isn't he?
HAS ANYONE IN A BAR TOLD YOU IN REAL LIFE THAT YOU DON'T KNOW A DAMN THING ABOUT RACING LIKE THEY DID TO JEFF (BURTON) ON TV? "Usually I get you look a lot like Clint Bowyer. Well there's a good reason for that and then you tell them you are and then they don't believe you. No, you just look like him you're really not him. It was funny."
HOW MUCH MOTIVATION HAS IT BEEN TO YOU THIS YEAR THAT THE WORD WAS YOU WERE GOING TO STRUGGLE, HAVE YOU SORT OF BEEN THE ANGRY YOUNG GUY THAT'S SHOWN PEOPLE YEAH THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN? "It seems like over the last few years that I've been the one that they said couldn't make the Chase and won't make the Chase and it was again this year. That's fuel for the fire, absolutely. That makes you go out and work harder and go that extra mile to make sure that you prove them wrong. I love it. Please keep doing it."
WAS THERE ONE GUY IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU LOOKED UP TO GROWING UP AND ANYBODY YOU ARE REALLY EXCITED ABOUT SEEING RACE THIS WEEKEND IN THE SATURDAY NIGHT SPECIAL? "It's just seeing them all out there. As I understand they all had to win here. So to see all past champions of Bristol get out there and battle it out in late models, its going to be fun. It will be interesting to see if they get carried away or not. That's what I'm looking forward to. Maybe some helmet throwing or some attitude or emotion out there. We know some of them still have it."
ON LAST YEAR'S ONE-TWO-THREE FINISH. "That was awesome. Never been done before at RCR so it was definitely proud moments for everybody at RCR. That's what's fun about running good is when you come back to the shop on Monday morning and you walk through the shop everybody is happy. It's not just you with a smile on your face, it's all 400 employees at RCR that are very excited and pumped up about the good run. That was a pretty special day."
GROWING UP AS A DRIVER WHAT DOES A DRIVER THINK OF AS THE ULTIMATE DREAM? "For me it was the nationals at the end of the year at Lakeside Speedway. I never thought in a million years I would be at Bristol talking to you guys as a NASCAR driver. I just wanted to win the end of the year biggie at the local dirt track. That was enough prestige for me."
WHICH IS THE BIGGER CHALLENGE, MARTINSVILLE OR BRISTOL? "It seems to be Martinsville. I don't know why. That's the one track where I still struggle. My teammate Kevin (Harvick) that walked in, I hate to give him props in front of him, he's pretty fast and its actually frustrating because you know you've got the same stuff he does and you can't run as fast as he can. Bristol is another one of his really good tracks and something I think I've caught on to a little bit faster than Martinsville for whatever the reason."
DOWN THE ROAD WOULD YOU EVER CONSIDER BEING AN OWNER/DRIVER THE WAY THAT TONY (STEWART) HAS DONE THIS YEAR? "He's half bald already (referring to Kevin Harvick). What is it your fourth year of doing ownership? Tony is only in his first year, I've seen what four years does."
LOOKING BACK DO YOU THINK THAT YOU NEEDED A SHAKE UP WITH YOUR TEAM TO REACH YOUR FULL POTENTIAL? "I don't know. Change isn't always bad and I think it's proven to be pretty good for me. Like I said I had a fun time and a great success with Gil (Martin) and them but it wasn't good enough. We weren't winning championships and we had three years together. As I walk in the museum at RCR and I look through Earnhardt's championship and the next thing you know you look through all the championship crew chiefs and there was one piece of that puzzle that always held true and that was him. He always had good people surrounding him. I can promise you that."
-credit: gm racing