CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 DIRECT TV IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and talked about going back and forth between the Nationwide and Cup Series, racing in the Prelude to the Dream, what his team needs to focus...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 07 DIRECT TV IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and talked about going back and forth between the Nationwide and Cup Series, racing in the Prelude to the Dream, what his team needs to focus on before the Chase starts and more.
AT THIS PART OF THE SEASON DO YOU LIKE WHERE YOU'RE AT RIGHT NOW? "Yeah, absolutely. I mean you always want to be better and you look to be better but leading the Nationwide Series and fifth in points in the Cup Series inside the Chase life could be a lot worse. So far so good. We've had the consistency, hopefully we can keep that through the stretch here and on into the Chase. We all know the Chase is the main goal. You got to make it before you can run for a championship. We just got to keep the ball rolling right now."
IS IT A LITTLE BIT EASIER TO DO THE BACK AND FORTH WHEN YOU'RE NOT TRYING TO PLAY CATCH UP OVER HERE ON THE CUP SIDE AS FAR AS THE CHASE GOES? "It is a little bit, but still I know how this sport can change on you and how fast it can change. We got to stay focused 100 percent on both cars. It is stretching you pretty thin. This testing, it's been a long month. It's been a long season already through this testing for everybody, not only the drivers the pit crews and things, it's probably got us all stretched a little too thin right now but it is what it is. You got to keep up with the Jones' sort of speak and that's what we're doing right now."
YOU'VE WON NASHVILLE BEFORE IN THE NATIONWIDE CAR, SO I ASSUME THAT MAKES IT A LITTLE BIT EASIER TOO TO GO BACK TO A PLACE WHERE YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO JUST JUMP IN THE CAR AND DRIVE PRETTY WELL NEXT WEEK. "Yeah, Nashville seems to be one of the best tracks I've ever run at. We've won there, we've finished second lord knows how many times. We've had a lot of success there, had a lot of fun there and can't wait to get back there. Hopefully get one more of them guitars."
TALKING ABOUT THE PRELUDE, YOU WERE HAVING SOME FUN LAST YEAR. THAT'S KIND OF FUN TO GET UP THERE WITH TONY (STEWART) AND DO THAT ISN'T IT? "Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean dirt racing in general; I was over there last night with the dirt boys. That's just a stress reliever. That's where I go throughout the week to have fun and enjoy doing what I enjoy doing, working on race cars, but that's the type of racing that I'm used to. That's the type of race I'm comfortable with and certainly that's what
HAPPY BIRTHDAY. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? "Thanks man. Last year of the 20's. Starting to get old now. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I'm gonna do what I normally do. Hang out at the race track and hopefully enjoy a good pole day here and have two fast race cars."
YOU'RE ALMOST THE BIG 3-0. "I know it. I'm not there yet, I've got one more year (laughs)."
WHAT KIND OF THINGS DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOUR CUP TEAM NEEDS TO FOCUS ON BETWEEN NOW AND RICHMOND? "Just fine tuning. We need a little bit of speed. We've got the consistency like I said and that's the hardest thing to have is week in and week out on all the different race tracks, all the different obstacles that are thrown in your way, to be solid week in and week out and I feel like we've become that team. We just got to fine tune a few things and get that speed to where we can take this sixth to 10th place car and make it creep inside the top five. We've done that better this year than probably last year as far as early in the stretch. We've got a win; we've run in the top five a few times. We've run up front, closer to the front probably than we have in the years past but on into the Chase. Right now, that making that five, 10 point gain maybe the two spots in front of you isn't going to help you near as much as losing 150 points trying to get that five points will hurt you if you bust your butt right now. That's what you got to be careful of right now is just that catastrophic day and losing those big points trying to gain five."
LAST WEEKEND WE SAW A GUY TAKE HIS RACE CAR AND HE GOT FRUSTRATED AND HE TOOK A SWIPE AT SOMEBODY AND THAT GUY WAS IN A COMPETITIVE RACE CAR. DO YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT LOSING CONTROL AND REALLY TAKING YOURSELF OUT OF A SITUATION WHERE YOU DAMAGE YOUR OWN RACE CAR RETALIATING AGAINST SOMEONE ELSE? "There are a lot of egos in this sport. A lot of times those egos are bigger than their brains. When you get on the race track, in my opinion you have to leave those egos in the motorhome. You gotta be smart. You owe it to your team to be smart and when your emotions get the best of you, you make bad decisions. I learned that at an early age racing motorcycles. Fits get you nowhere. Retaliation, nine times out of 10 costs you more than it costs them. You got to focus on the big picture and that's getting your team inside the Chase and racing for a championship. If you're worried about what what guy said to upset you or crowd you, you race with these guys week in and week out you got to get along with them, you have to earn their respect and the only way to do that is give them respect too."
DOES THE FACT THAT THE HAAS PENALTY WAS A RESULT OF ANOTHER TEAM TURNING THEM IN PUT YOU ON ANY MORE EDGE? "I bet they wish they wouldn't have done that (laughs). I think that's a good way of stopping the problem. I think that's an eye opener for everybody. You cheat, you'll get caught."
CAN YOU RANK THE PRELUDE AS FAR AS PRESTIGE? "It's hard man. There's a lot of guys that don't do that very often. It's a whole different type of animal. I think it would be so awesome to have a race that none of get a chance to do very often in whatever. Racing snowmobiles, I don't care whatever it is something that's totally off the wall and different. I think it needs to be in a race car but some type of race car that we can't get to do every week. I think that's a prime example. It's a neat show. They did a good job promoting it obviously. Tony (Stewart) does a good job with that. He did a good job organizing it so that it's not a pain in the neck for a lot of the big name drivers. The media doesn't get too much, create a distraction there, not to say that none of you ever do but I think it's just a neat thing. There wasn't a frown on anybody's face, everybody had fun. To me it was neat to see guys that have never done that before. These are the best drivers in the world hands on I feel like. It was neat to be able to see how quick they adapted and how well they were. I know a lot of the guys were like, we'll see how they do, they've never done that before, they're gonna suck. My argument was he isn't running in the cup series for nothing you watch he'll impress you. Look at Jeff Gordon, he hadn't been in a dirt car in probably 20 years or something and almost won that thing and it didn't surprise me one bit to be honest with you."
IS THAT WHAT MAKES IT SO UNIQUE? IT'S JUST SUCH A CHANGE OF PACE? "I think so. Its huge bragging rights. I mean you're able to adapt to unknown conditions and beat the very best in the world."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR YOU TO WIN THAT RACE IN ELDORA? "It would mean a lot. I know for my race team, a lot has gone into it. I've got a new car. I didn't' get to go test it but it's the same car my dirt guys have been running. I've got a lot of confidence in the equipment. We're going to have a car for Jimmie Johnson to run and I made sure it's a car that's capable of winning. I'm more nervous about Jimmie running than I am. I've got a two-time champ in my seat. As a car owner you don't get that opportunity very often so I better make sure I take full advantage of it and give him a good ride."
CONSIDERING HE HASN'T BEEN ON DIRT IN QUITE A WHILE, ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT HIM BRINGING IT BACK IN ONE PIECE? "I ain't worried about it. I'm just worried about it being safe and having fun and being competitive. That's the biggest thing. I was joking with Rick Hendrick. I said hey man I'm gonna take care of old two-timer, this time you're not going to have to worry about him in the Chase because I've got a quarter-inch bolt and a pair of vice grips holding him in his seat (laughing). I think it's safe."
YOU GET TO GO IN THERE WITH SO MUCH DIRT EXPERIENCE, DO YOU LIKE YOUR CHANCES? "I don't know. There's a lot of them with dirt experience. I would say probably more so because I have done it before. I haven't driven those late models; I've only driven a late model body five or six times. There are several of us that got dirt experience but that's the neatest thing to be able to see the talent rise to the occasion and to me that's why these guys are in this series because it isn't a fluke. They're good race car drivers and they can adapt to anything because their talent will allow them to."
-credit: gm racing