CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW IMPALA SS AND CHALLENGES OF THE FIRST RACE WITH IT THIS SUNDAY TELL ME HOW YOU ARE VIEWING THE NEW RACE CAR: "I don't know what to think. If we get out of here with the...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 JACK DANIELS IMPALA SS TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT THE NEW IMPALA SS AND CHALLENGES OF THE FIRST RACE WITH IT THIS SUNDAY
TELL ME HOW YOU ARE VIEWING THE NEW RACE CAR: "I don't know what to think. If we get out of here with the fenders on and a smile on our face I'll probably love it, otherwise I'll hate it. I'll tell you, everybody's going to be that way. That's the cards you are dealt and you've got to make the best of them. If it's easy to do, we're going to prevail with this thing."
IS IT WIDE-OPEN FOR SUCCESS BECAUSE OF THIS NEW FORMAT? "Well, the guys who get around this place good are still going to be the guys to beat at the end of the day. Handling is going to be a big part of it. As poorly as all our cars first handled when we first got here, as far as we all came just in the one-day test, I think handling is going to be an issue. Who can keep the car. lap 20, 30, 40; who's fast up in those laps are going to be the ones to beat.
"It's going to be hard to make the car that way because to be good that deep into a run, you've got your hands full early."
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE SPLITTER OR WING GETS DAMAGED? "Well, it's obvious that those are key components of aero in these cars and it's not good if you lose any of them. I did see teams - Kasey Kahne was parked next to us in the tests and he took the splitter completely off. He was able to get around the track. It didn't 'fly out of the ballpark' but it's going to slow you down and you're not going to win the race without it but I think you can finish and salvage a halfway decent run out of it."
WHAT DID YOU GUYS LEARN FROM WHEN YOU WRECKED? "Not to do it again (laughs). We were definitely on some things there that were faster but it was obviously a lot more of a handful to drive so we're probably going to revisit some of that here in the test but not quite as much, I think. Gill and Jeremy, our engineering kind of learned something there as far as setup-wise. As far as fixing the car I think we learned some things there. It wasn't that hard of a hit and it basically knocked the whole body off the chassis. I think they figured out some areas to beef it up a little bit and some areas to maybe try to make a little bit weaker to give."
HOW MUCH DIFFFERENCE IS THERE BETWEEN THE NEW CAR AND THE OLD FROM INSIDE? "Oh, there's definitely a lot of difference here. When I tested on the flat tracks like we've been testing all winter long, I really didn't notice a whole big difference. I was happy with the way my car handled - which gives me confidence going into a place like Martinsville, Phoenix or Richmond. Some of these places I feel like won't be as big of a deal but here you're going so fast, there's no way to test for Bristol. The only way you're going to test for Bristol is to build a Bristol in your backyard or something and go test. We're on 10-year-old technology they did way back when and the crew chiefs that were around then and know what's going on are going to be the ones to figure it out first. That's one thing I like about Gill. He's been around a long time and remembers those old days and how to get the cars around the track. He was able to pick up on this really quick."
SOME OF THE GUYS HAVE SAID THAT MARTINSVILLE WILL BE A BETTER BAROMETER FOR WHAT THIS CAR'S GOING TO BE. DO YOU AGREE? "Oh, I definitely agree with that. Phoenix as well. Once we get to Phoenix I think everybody will pretty much have their stuff dialed in and I think you'll see a lot better race. Here I know I'm very concerned about; I've been worried about it all week. I know I'm probably not the only one like that."
DOES IT ADD TO THE CHALLENGE OF THE NEW CAR WHEN YOU'RE GOING FROM THE BUSCH CAR TO THIS CAR WHERE THE SETUPS ARE DIFFERENT? "To me personally, laps here are important. This place is so unique. It takes so long and you're so up on the wheel. It's nerve-wracking to be around here. You're never relaxed. The more laps you run around here the more relaxed you get. The more of a rhythm you can get in. If you were to just jump in that thing and start the race right away, you'd be fidgety and all over the track and it's really hard, for some reason for me, to get calmed down here and get in a rhythm and get relaxed."
HOW ABOUT IN TERMS OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SETUPS IN BOTH SERIES? "They're going to handle different, that's for sure. But like I said, laps around here for me is key and I think that's going to help me."
HAVE YOU EVER NAMED ANY OF YOUR CARS? "Yeah, I named my favorite car 'Betsy'. Unfortunately I stuck it in intensive care right now. We just had so much good fortune with that car; it was so good to us. That was the thing I hated most about wrecking at Las Vegas, was hurting that car that's been so good to me."
WHY DID YOU NAME THE CAR THAT? "She was Betsy - she was the one."
ANY OTHER NAMES? "Not really, I don't even know why I named it 'Betsy'. I was just going down the track and after the race one time, with another top-five in that car, I said 'old Betsy did it again'. It kind of stuck."
THERE'S A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE COMPARING MARTINSVILLE TO THIS TRACK, ISN'T THERE? "Oh, it's night and day difference. This place is so fast and you carry so much speed around it. Martinsville is slow. You let off at the flag stand, basically and along there and let it roll all the way through the corner before you pick up the gas. If you're not back in the gas about the center of the corner here you're going to get lapped pretty quick."
-credit: gm racing