CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 WHEATIES FUEL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to discuss --- and more. WITH EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON DURING THE REGULAR SEASON, DO YOU THINK THAT THE CHASE WILL BE JUST AS ...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 WHEATIES FUEL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Indianapolis Motor Speedway to discuss --- and more.
WITH EVERYTHING THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON DURING THE REGULAR SEASON, DO YOU THINK THAT THE CHASE WILL BE JUST AS EXCITING THIS YEAR? "I think so. I think that the Chase is going to be every bit as exciting as this regular season has been and then some. I think the competition is as close as it has ever been; you're not seeing Jimmie [Johnson] go on a ten-race span of every race a top five and half of them as wins. I think the competition has closed the gap on the Hendrick clan and I think it is going to be an exciting chase."
IF THERE IS A RIVALRY BETWEEN A GUY IN THE CHASE AND ANOTHER GUY OUTSIDE OF THE CHASE, DO YOU THINK THE PERSON THAT IS OUTSIDE THE CHASE WILL WRECK THE OTHER DRIVER JUST TO RUIN THEIR CHANCES AT A CHAMPIONSHIP?
"I don't know that they're just going to wreck somebody as payback, but they can make your life miserable when you try to get around them. They'll slow you up. I think you're going to see some of that. You're going to see frustration, I promise."
IT SEEMS LIKE ANY MORE THERE IS ATLEAST 10 SIDES TO EVERY DECISION, DO YOU AGREE? "I can't loose track of, and get out of control on that issue. I can tell you, I think this sport needs a little more of that. I think this sport was built on personalities, and I think you're seeing a lot of those personalities coming back out."
WHAT DOES THE INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MEAN TO YOU? "This place is incredibly prestigious. The history and tradition behind this racetrack make it second to none. The Daytona 500 for our sport is the biggest race of the year, but even with our sport this is a close second--in my opinion. It is very important to be able to run here and have the opportunity to run here. It means a lot to me. As a kid growing up in Kansas, racing at Indianapolis [was a dream that came true for me], maybe not in an IndyCar but in a stock car, never-the-less the Brickyard is an opportunity for all of us."
AS A KID WATCHING THE RACE IN 1994, DID YOU EVER THINK THAT YOU'D RACE HERE? "Never in hell. I didn't think that I'd be racing a stock car. I didn't think that I'd get off of dirt. It's been an unbelievable ride and hopefully we can ride the wave for many years to come."
WHAT MAKES THE BRICKYARD SUCH A SPECIAL RACE? IS IT THE MONEY? THE HISTORY?"With the history and tradition comes the money aspect, which has always been great here. I mean this race is the biggest race in the country. Anybody that knows anything about motorsports--you don't even need to know anything about motorsports--you know what Indianapolis is and you know that it's been here from day one. It's a very important part of auto racing in general and anywhere in the world, especially in this country;"
WHAT FEELING DO YOU GET EVERY YEAR WHEN YOU PULL INTO THAT TUNNEL?
"I just feel like I need to reach down and tuck my shirt in. That's my feeling. It's just an incredible race track. Racing here has been traditions; very prestigious, very upscale compared to the norm. It's just an unbelievable race track and an unbelievable opportunity for everybody in the NASCAR garage to be able to race here."
COMING UP ON THE 100TH RACE AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY; WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THAT TRACK? "That place it just kicks ass. There is no other way to say it. It is by far and above, as a fan of this sport, the best race we go to. If you're going to sit in the stands and watch a race--if somebody comes to me and asks, 'Where should I go watch a race? Where should I take my friend to watch a race to get the biggest bang for our buck?' I'm going to tell them Bristol first. There's a lot of great races and race tracks across the country, but that Bristol track is just for some reason, it stands above all of them. There is not a bad seat in the house; it reminds me of an old coliseum back in the day where all eyes are on you and you're in the fish tank and big and hard each and every lap in tight quarters."
THERE HAS BEEN TALK OF MAKING THE CUP DRIVERS BASICALLY INELIGIBLE TO WIN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP. AS ONE OF THE DRIVERS THAT HAS WON THE NATIONWIDE SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP WHILE RACING FULL-TIME IN THE CUP SERIES, WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT? "I think having Cup drivers in the series is definitely a good thing. I don't think you can survive without them. I think that is what attracts the fans, the attention, the sponsors, but at the end of the day, that series is a support series. It is a stepping stone for younger drivers like me and every other driver that came through the ranks of the Nationwide Series and owes the Nationwide Series for their Cup ride. I remember when I was in the Nationwide Series; it gave me the opportunity to showcase my talents next to the best drivers in the world--the Cup drivers. When I was able to run equally as good, or maybe beat them every now and then, it gave Richard Childress what he needed to see to give me an opportunity. I owe a lot to that, so that being said, I don't mind backing it down and not letting them race all those racing. I think those kids need a little time in the sun--a little bit more than they're probably seeing. It seems like it is becoming the norm to have Cup drivers winning all the races. Stand-alone events are fun, but the Cup drivers still come in and spoil their fun and I don't think that's necessarily fair for those kids. I think they need some opportunities to showcase their talents all by themselves and get some momentum and confidence behind them. Your first win in any series is a huge confidence builder, it doesn't matter what series it is. To be able to give those kids a little more limelight would be good."
DO YOU THINK CUP DRIVERS WILL HAVE AN INCENTIVE TO STILL COMPETE IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES IF THEY AREN'T A PART OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP BATTLE?
"Well I mean we all like to compete. We all want to be there. The Nationwide series has been very important to me, and I want to come over and race in it every chance I get. I love the Nationwide Series. Like I said, I want to race every chance I can--if it's Tuesday or Sunday. I want to race. I think the Nationwide Series is a great opportunity for all of us."
GIVEN WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK WITH THE WHOLE BRAD/CARL SITUATION AND THE PENALITIES GIVEN OUT, DO YOU UNDERSTAND MORE NOW WHERE THAT LINE IS AND WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN'T DO. "I was pretty sure that that was across the line as soon as I saw that happen. I'm no different than anybody else--enough is enough."
CAN YOU TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM THE RACE THIS WEEKEND TO PREPARE YOU FOR POCONO, WATKINS GLEN, AND THE OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS? "Not really. Hopefully the only thing we can take away from here is confidence and more momentum. Our cars have been very fast and our team puts a lot of emphasis on this race track and make the race cars as good looking racecars that we have come out of our stables. Everybody is proud of it; all the aero boys have been down there goggling over it all day long. It gives me a lot of excitement knowing that I've got a good piece that everybody has been working really hard on."
IT SEEMS LIKE WE WERE JUST AT POCONO, BUT WE'RE GOING BACK AGAIN NEXT WEEKEND. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT RACE? "We ran well there. Pocono has been good to us. I think we have a good setup to go back to and hopefully lead more laps and enjoy a good day. I think it's a track where we can win at here one of these days and hopefully it will be this next time."
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT FINAL RESTARTS, ARE YOU AN INNIE OR AN OUTTIE? "Here, I'd say you're an innie. You want to be on the inside, but that's not always the case. If you get hung up behind somebody that maybe didn't want to be there or is holding you up a little bit, they'll roll right around you on the outside and gain three or four spots. Just these double-file restarts, all hell breaks loose and you know by saying that you plan on being on the inside but that's not always the case and doesn't always work out well."
WHAT KIND OF A DIFFERENCE DO YOU THINK THE SPOILER IS GOING TO MAKE THIS YEAR? "I don't think any. I think it'll be good racing. I think it will be just fine."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON BRAD AND CARL? "It's just unfortunate for everybody involved. Enough is enough. They need to get their differences behind them and get that chip off his shoulder and move on."
WITH JUST BEING JUST A FEW RACES OUT FROM THE FIRST POCONO RACE, DO YOU APPROACH THE SECOND RACE AT THAT TRACK ANY DIFFERENTLY?
"We ran well there the first race. That gives me a lot of confidence know that we'll go back there and that setup is going to perform hopefully as well. We've got a good baseline. At the end of the day a lot of times you go back and it throws you for a loop and you have to really work on your car and hone in on the setup. We've got to--we have a good setup where we can hopefully go there with a good baseline and just fine tune it from there."
DO YOU HAVE ANY GOALS OUTSIDE OF RACING?"Outside of racing? We're so caught up in what we do in racing, but some day, obviously I'd like to have a family and to be able to settle down, but chasing this dream that I've had since I was a little boy is obviously number one right now."
GROWING UP IN KANSAS, BUT BEING A STOCK CAR GUY, HOW MUCH ATTENTION DID YOU PAY TO WHAT WAS GOING ON IN INDIANAPOLIS? "Not a whole lot, but I knew the importance of it; I knew that it meant a lot to everybody and the country. Everybody that is a race fan, it doesn't matter if you're a race fan, you know what Indianapolis is and what it is all about. It is very important to be a part of that and keep that in check."
HOW MUCH ATTENTION DO YOU PAY TO THE POINTS SITUATION ON A WEEKLY BASIS? "We're on the bubble, so I promise you that I'm looking at it. I think it's equally important to everybody. There is a lot of guys in the dog hunt here. We've got to make sure that we stay in. I think there are some guys back there that are sliding back that we can gain on, and I think there are a couple guys that are sliding forward on us. It's crunch time--we've got to go."
DO YOU CHANGE YOUR DRIVING STYLE? "No, you just try to get everything you can. They're important weeks now."
WHAT IS THE PROPER RESPONSE TO THE 'BUMP AND RUN'?: "Going back to that whole thing on the retaliation and everything, things happen. You have to be able to weigh it out a little bit and out it in perspective. Look at both sides of it and if you're continually done wrong then I think that's when you have to maybe step in and do something. You owe it to your dignity, you owe it to your sponsors, you owe it to your race team who work on those race cars and take pride in making them look good. I think we've seen where enough is enough and they finally set a precedence that that is enough."
HOW WILL THE HEAT BE?: "It's going to be a little sticky. No different than you, just hopefully you're watching out there on pit road and not in the air conditioning. That way you can say it's the same for you. It's the same for everybody and you have to tough through it."
ARE THERE ANY CHANGES YOU WOULD LIKE TO MAKE TO THE SCHEDULE?: "I would like to take off the month of July, can you arrange that? Maybe we can go to the beach."
ON KANSAS SPEEDWAY: "I want to see Kansas Speedway get a second date first. I think they're deserving of it. Every time we go there it's a packed house, sold out. Great market and it's home for me, but I think it's a fun city and everybody looks forward to going to. It's a first class facility, they're building a new casino out off turn four. It's just a cool place."
ON DENNY HAMLIN: "He just continues to get better. He's a good race car driver. Won races all the way up through the ranks, he's won since he was a little kid. Him and his team have been together. I think that's a big thing is togetherness, they've all been through the ropes together and know one another and have that chemistry and everything going their way. When they get race cars to match, they roll right up through."
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE DENNY HAMLIN'S DRIVING STYLE?: "I think he's patiently aggressive. I think that's a good way to describe him. He's patient, but he's aggressive when he needs to be."
CAN YOU WIN A CHAMPIONSHIP?: "Yes, I think RCR is good enough to win a championship. I think we're performing where we need to perform and I think RCR is capable of winning a championship. I think we need some momentum and some confidence is the biggest thing we need. We need to put together several races to where we get that confidence, get on a roll and get your shoulders thrown back and get after it. I think that's what we're missing is our first win. No different than what I saw with the 07 guys, when we got our first win, we got that confidence and the rest came pretty easy."
WHAT WAS IT LIKE NOT TO WIN DAYTONA AFTER LEADING?: "It's just a huge let down. Here you are a football field away from your first win together and the caution comes out as luck would have it. That's just the way our season has gone. Enough of that and you get beat up enough and you start dodging a little bit. The good things are we had a good race at Chicago coming here and got us back in the Chase, got some momentum and some things moving pretty good. The good feeling is that I know our cars are fast enough and I know we can get in this Chase. The bad feeling is that crazy things that are out of our control have happened that have taken us out of the Chase. We have to minimize those and if we can manage that we will be just fine."
-source: gm racing