Daytona 500: Bowyer - Media Day visit

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Pre-Daytona Media Day. YOUR HALLOWEEN PAINT SCHEME FROM LAST YEAR, ANY SPECIAL EVENTS SURROUNDING THAT? "Special paint schemes are always fun, and being...

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Pre-Daytona Media Day.

YOUR HALLOWEEN PAINT SCHEME FROM LAST YEAR, ANY SPECIAL EVENTS SURROUNDING THAT? "Special paint schemes are always fun, and being able to do that in our backyard at Charlotte. Having all three characters on the car, letting the fans pick my fire suit, it's a lot of neat things that are a lot of fun to do."

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CHARACTER? "Count Chocula was my favorite."


DO YOU NORMALLY DRESS UP? "No. I have a pretty funny costume as it is so I usually don't dress up."


CLINT GOING INTO LAST YEAR THERE WERE SOME QUESTIONS AROUND YOU GUYS, INTO THIS YEAR IS IT THE SAME FEELING? "It's definitely a proving year. We gotta prove that we can overcome a bad season and get things turned around. At the end of the year things in my opinion were turned around. We were running well the last five races, a day late and a dollar short. But nonetheless we found the speed we, we had a good positive direction we were all headed and more importantly everybody was on board with it. So it gave me a good feeling through the offseason. I have a lot of optimism about this season. I think we can get back to winning race and running up front and competing for a championship."

WHAT WERE THOSE CHANGES, WAS THAT PERSONNELL CHANGES? "Well I think yes, personnel changes ultimately led to the success in what you see on Sunday. It just takes so long when you're making personnel changes, you can't just put a person in and change things overnight. Through a lot of hard work and through a lot of organization we were starting to see a good direction that everybody that you know having a competition director that supported the crew chiefs that keep them all working together ultimately what led to our success in the last few races.

"It's all about people, if you have good people everybody pulling together, the technical side and your performance on Sunday is going to be there."

"Every area, that's the thing when you get behind at this level it's never one thing. You never can go to the engine shop and say I want 10 more horsepower and I'm gonna go back to running up front. Its tiny little things everywhere, you really gotta to look at the little things and they all add up to the big picture.

"It's everywhere; we gotta get better, gotta get to winning races and got at all of them to compete for a championship."

WHATS THE MOOD LIKE AROUND THE SHOP IN TERMS OF GETTING THROUGH LAST YEAR. WAS EVER A SENSE OF ANGER, FRUSTRATION? "Oh yeah, absolutely. I think my teammate aired most of his but it is tough when you're running bad. We are here to race, be competitive and we're paid to win races and when you can't do that it's very frustrating on everybody's part and it makes you work even harder than you ever have but I'm proud of everybody's efforts and picking their end of the deal up and I feel like it got us headed in the right direction."

DOES IT TAKE LONG FOR THE COBWEBS TO GO AWAY FROM THE OFFSEAON? "I've been over at the dirt track and having a lot of fun racing my dirt car so I've been racing but I haven't tested at all. The last time I was in a Cup car was at Homestead but we race plenty."

DOES WINNING EVER GET ROUTINE? "No. winning never gets old and never gets routine. That's what you do this for.

AUSTIN WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW FUN IT IS OVER AT VOLUSIA, WHAT IS THE ATMOSPHERE OVER THERE? "It's just a blast. Everybody's there because they want to be there you never have a guy that it's his job to be there. That's a hobby for all those guys and that's the difference between being at your local level, grass roots racing and maybe the Cup level. It's a job, it's a business, and it's your way of life over here. Over there it's just for fun."

HOW ARE YOU DOING OVER THERE? "I crashed, tore my car up. We were very fast, very excited about my car. Jerry Leonard's built me a car and had a lot of fun. Mark martin's been helping him. Just last month been at the shop until 12, 1 o'clock whenever, late in the night and just working our butts off and having a blast it makes the time fly by bench racing, telling stories with the guys having fun it's what it's all about."

"We're all in my opinion professionals, and everybody respects one another. At the end of the day if you go out wrecking people you're not gaining points and you're not racing for a championship, that's what I'm here to do. I'm here to win races and ultimately compete for a championship and you're not doing that if you're getting caught up beating and banging on everybody getting caught up in all that mess. I'll let someone else do that show boating; I'll do the show boating at the end of the day."

DOES DIRT TRACK RACING TRANSFERS DIRECTLY OR IS THAT JUST FUN? "It's just fun, it's what I grew up doing it gets me in touch with my roots and I think it keeps you sharp. More than anything just working on the cars, being around the guys that's what you're comfortable with those are the people I grew up racing with and it's just a blast to go back and to be a part of that."

A LOT OF OUR COMPACT MEN AND WOMEN WHO WERE WOUNDED WILL BE WATCHING FROM THEIR HOSPITALS, WILL YOU SEND THEM A MESSAGE? "Get well, I very much appreciate your sacrifices you guys do for our country. Very proud of you guys and hopefully we'll make you proud on Sunday."

HAVE YOU HAD A CAR SO DIALED THAT YOU REMEMBER THAT CAR DIALED IN AND DO YOU REMEMBER THAT OVER THE YEARS? "My first Cup win at New Hampshire. Dominate car all weekend we sat on the pole and won the race it was just an incredible, incredible weekend. You don't get that very often so I was happy that we were able to capitalize on that and take advantage of it."

WHAT WOULD BE THE DEFINATION OF 'DIALED IN'? "It's on a rail, it's easy to drive, it's forgiving, and it will go pretty much wherever you want it to go. It's hard to get a car like that. That perfect day, that perfect setup, that weekend and everything worked out.

"I expect to win races, be a part of the chase, and get back to being a part of that chase. I was the last two years in a row and we missed it last year. I feel like we have a good team, got a good pit crew and think we will be fine."

"I think everybody was behind compared to Hendrick but I think we've worked hard to get things picked up. This year I think we've done towards the end of the year we caught up the last four or five races we had a good package and we were running up front it was back to having fun, leading laps, it wasn't just one of us or maybe two of us it was all four cars running up front."

What do you think about the rules for Daytona? "They tried to police it. They tried to do the right thing and that's a tough situation. In my opinion if they don't police it were gonna crash and if they do your still gonna crash. I think they just finally wiped their hands clean from it. I applaud them I think there trying to help the fan of our sport and I think that it will ultimately hopefully make for a better race. I think racing is good, I think open it up for a little bit is what our fans are asking for and I think NASCAR is trying to give them that."

How many times can you handle the wrecks before something bad happens? "Unfortunately that does happen, but I'm a fan of racing and three things you want to see: a good battle, a good win and a good wreck, unfortunately that's how it is."

Anything NASCAR can do to make the frontend of these cars to make them turn? "I don't like the bump stops. That's the only thing I don't like on these cars. It's confusing to a fan, and everybody else. Hell it's confusing to mist of us. That's the only thing in my opinion that I don't like but I'm happy with the changes, I'm happy that they are cautious and stepped up to the plate and made a change. I'm not an engineer, I think they done their homework and I think they are trying to make a conscious effort to fixing or changing our racing. If you look at the statistics of racing today verses back in the day, its way better. That's the thing a lot of people don't understand. It's better."

ABOUT RACING AT DAYTONA: "It's an unbelievable feeling. It's what you've worked your whole life for, all your dreams are coming true to go to the Daytona 500 to watch the Daytona 500 is a privilege in my book and to be able to race on this racetrack means so much to me to be able to compete in the Daytona 500, have a chance to win that race, have your name on that trophy and go down in history books is an awesome, awesome privilege and heck of an opportunity. The prerace all the fans, attraction, media, all the people on the straightaway, the flyover, it's second to none."

They expect big things out of RCR compared to last year, do you agree with that? "Everybody's been working real hard, I can't go out and I'm not gonna call shots or anything like that. I do know this, this is a very important year for us, and we've got to prove that we can overcome the bad season, get things turned around and get back into the chase and get back to winning races."

WHAT CHANGES HAVE THE CREW DONE? "Work their ass off. That's simply said that's what they've done. Really proud of everyone at RCR everybody's worked hard not to ask anyone to stay late and show up early. Everyone's done that own their own. I feel like we've put together a better product for race day and I'm excited to drive it."

"I think so. I think things were good, we ended the season, you know as poor as the season was we ended on a positive note. I feel like we were kindda upbeat, we were happy with the direction we were headed and things were looking good. Got a lot of optimist going into this season, I think we can have an awesome 500, I think we can have a shot at winning this 500 and can't think of a better way to get the season started than that."

"Sponsorship is so hard to get right now, we are working hard trying to find sponsor for that fourth team, Casey was a great teammate and a great driver and I know he's got another opportunity going and I wish him the best."

"I think the track will be, especially this spring race it always seems to stay a little more consistent. In the heat of the summer in July race the track is slick. It can affect a bunch at night and I think it will be fine, just make sure appearances start a little earlier on race day. That's the only change I see."

"I think it will affect some of them for sure, but probably not as much as it use to. Having to finish at night some of those tracks you go quite a bit of swing as far as consistently of the racetrack so you gotta be able to have a good setup and be able to adjust on it through the night as it transitions into night and be able to pounce on it and make some big changes if you have to. "It can be that's definitely one track. Phoenix is one isn't it? I'm trying to think of the tracks that do, there is a few of them and I think the time of year has a lot to do with it too. The spring time it's cool and it doesn't play as big a role as the summer time when it's so hot during the day and it will cool off you go through a pretty big swing of track conditions."

-source: gm racing

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Series NASCAR Cup