2006 ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD PRESS CONFERENCE Clint Bowyer Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, Indianapolis Motor Speedway MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined in the media center by our second-fastest qualifier today. That's a career-best start...
2006 ALLSTATE 400 AT THE BRICKYARD PRESS CONFERENCE
Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, Indianapolis Motor Speedway
MODERATOR: We are pleased to be joined in the media center by our second-fastest qualifier today. That's a career-best start for him. And it's the highest-ever starting position for a Raybestos rookie in the history of Brickyard. So congratulations to the driver of the 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet with a speed of 182.771 miles per hour, a time of 49.242 seconds.
Clint, take us through your qualifying earlier today.
CLINT BOWYER: It was a lot of fun. This track's unbelievable. It was a good lap. I think I got everything, you know, through (Turns) 1 and 2 and 3, that's possible. If I gave up anywhere, it was probably in 4 as I saw a lot of people do. But easy to slip up over there, get a little too much out of it, get in the corner a little too hot and can't get off the corner full speed. Other than that, the Jack Daniels Chevrolet, it was really good and it's neat to have two RCR cars on the front row for Richard (Childress).
MODERATOR: If you have a question, raise your hand. We'll bring a wireless mike to you. Who has the first question?
Q: Clint, where do you slot this in terms of highlights in your career?
BOWYER: Oh, it's big. Would be a lot bigger if we can finish up front. That's the name of the game. Qualifying is one thing; it's neat to be able to qualify up front, put down a good lap, but we've got to put down a lot of them tomorrow, and I think we can do it. The car is fast in practice. Tires are giving us a little bit of a fit, but I think as the track rubbers up more and more, that issue is going by the wayside, hopefully.
Q: Can you talk about the incident in the second practice? Was that a situation where you ran over anything?
BOWYER: I think I might have ran over something down on the bottom of the track or something, because we ran that same air pressure in the tests a couple weeks ago. You know, first practice all the way through, 10 laps into that practice and just all of a sudden, you know, it happened. Just luckily for us, thank God it happened where it did, coming off of (Turn) 4 instead of going into 1 like it did Kurt.
MODERATOR: Other questions?
Q: Clint, you're a rookie, are you surprised that you've adapted so quickly in this series to be as competitive as you guys have?
BOWYER: I think all of us rookies is a very strong class. I think all of us are really talented, been given a gift and been given good equipment, too. That's the second thing, is I think all of us are in pretty good equipment for the most part and showcase our talent well all across the board.
Q: Clint, RCR has a great track record here. How much confidence does that give you going into this thing now that they have won with Earnhardt and Harvick in the past?
BOWYER: Well, it's definitely neat. You know, I have confidence for myself. Confidence for me came two weeks ago in the test. I knew the car was fast when we left there, left with a good, positive attitude knowing that we were going to come down here and run good. We unloaded really good, really strong right off the bat. So I'm not really surprised that we're running well. I didn't quite think we'd be this good. All three cars are really strong, Jeff and Kevin, you know. That old guy, he put the whooping on me. I think he was cheating or something, but that's too bad. It's funny, I was telling my dad it's funny how quick you can get greedy. When I first came here this week, it's just amazing that pulling through the gates to be able to participate in such a race and then after qualifying, you're already, you know, can't believe that you left some on the table and got beat and you're mad because you're not on the pole. So it's funny how quick you can get greedy.
Q: Clint, you're hopped on the chopper and headed over to the other racetrack. I know next year a lot less guys are going to try to run this double. Has it been harder than you thought it might be? And what's been the hardest part about it?
BOWYER: I think the hardest part is, you know, bouncing back and forth, you know, the weekends that you're not at the same racetrack. It's just difficult. Knew it going in, you know, you know that going in that that's going to be the hard part. I think it just took away a little bit of your focus, your concentration off that Cup car. The Cup Series is where it's at. That's where the concentration needs to be. It's hard not to think about that Busch car. You don't want to go down there and run bad in a Busch car, so you're concentrating on that and sometimes too much, sometimes not enough. They just take away a little bit too much from each other, I think, for me. I'd like to focus more on the Cup Series and making that Chase.
Q: Clint, what did Richard say to you after you captured that second qualifying effort? And then what is the one thing that you think most has changed over at Richard Childress Racing? We're seeing so much success from you guys, but pick one thing out.
BOWYER: I think, you know, Richard just said he's proud of me. It's always a good feeling when the car owner like that that's so successful, seen a lot of races won, won championships. You wouldn't think many things excite him anymore but he still has the fire. It's fun to see him with a smile on his face because of your effort. So just fortunate he gave me the opportunity and, you know, that was that.
What was the second part of it?
Q: The one thing that --
BOWYER: Oh, yeah, yeah. Was teamwork. I think that's the biggest thing, teamwork across the board. Everybody at RCR, the three drivers are all getting together, we have a lot of fun with each other; we enjoy each other. We push each other to be harder, you know, better racers. The chew chiefs all get along well together; they share notes. They do the things that teammates do. I think it's easy in this sport to get to racing within the same company, you know, it's easy when the guy at the plate next to you at the race shop is beating you to get frustrated and wanting to beat him and get to racing within the shop and not sharing notes and things like that. It's easy to do that. So I'm really proud at everybody at RCR, how our teammates work, and I think that's the reason we're moving forward, everybody.
Q: Given some of the incidents that have happened the last couple of weeks, including the one with you and Tony (Stewart) and Carl (Edwards), do you feel some of this road rage stuff, it might get out of hand, that somebody could get hurt if these things continue to happen with the regularity that they've been happening the last few weeks?
BOWYER: I'm not one to beat a dead horse. Definitely we're in a dangerous sport, and we have to respect that. Things happen out there on accident that can possibly injure or kill somebody. When they're on purpose, that's when you've got to be concerned, you know, point-blank.
Q: Just kind of backing up that point, like during the conference call on Thursday, Tony had talked about how he feels like he's saying things that other drivers are thinking. I was wondering if anybody has come to you or you've had other drivers talk to you about --
BOWYER: Not one, never.
Q: Have you talked to Tony since?
BOWYER: I just said I didn't want to beat a dead horse. Sorry.
Q: Clint, it's pretty obvious you weren't intimidated or awed by this track, its reputation or history. Is that a fair statement?
BOWYER: Yeah. You know, this is Indianapolis, this is what you've worked your whole life for, to be given a shot at even making a lap around here. I've got to give people rides in a Z06, you know, Impalas for Chevy, made a lot of laps around here in the last couple weeks and just unbelievable, unbelievable racetrack. Even got to play golf at a racetrack, so that's pretty cool to just be given those opportunities and, you know, going out here and trying to give it your best and be given an opportunity to win a race tomorrow. We've got a shot at this thing. We've got a fast hot rod and starting up front, and track position is key, and you've got to keep it up there.
Q: Clint, I was going to ask you if this track holds anything special for you because it means so much to some of the guys out there, but you kind of touched on that, so I'll just ask. You were mentioning your teammates, who's the best driver at RCR right now?
BOWYER: You know, I think -- right now I think Jeff Burton is, you know. And the reason I say that is he's, I think he's mentally, he's prepared himself mentally better than myself or even Kevin (Harvick). You know, Kevin is a very talented race car driver. Just as soon as he gets that mindset that he can do it, there's no stopping Kevin Harvick. That's one thing that he has going for him. As soon as he gets a little bit of confidence, it's look out for a while until he gets it knocked down. But Burton is just a machine right now. I'll tell you, he's a rejuvenated driver. It's fun to see him. His attitude is awesome, and he's been a big help, you know. When you get it back to the wall and can just as easily go the wrong direction, it's easy to think what Jeff would do right now.
Q: What made the teamwork happen? What turned that around? There were changes at Richard Childress, he formed a lot of things over there to make changes in the engine department and all that, but what made the teamwork happen? Was it Jeff Burton? What was it?
BOWYER: I think Jeff coming on board helped a lot. He brings a fresh attitude, a good attitude. That's what Jeff Burton has. He's always positive, he's always telling you, you know, you're doing a good job. If you feel you screwed up, he's the first one to come over and call you or whatever and tell you, you know, chin up, you've been doing a hell of a job, just keep doing what you're doing. That goes a long way having a guy, 17 Cup victories, been in the series a long time, he's seen it, been there and done that. When he gives you that phone call, Rich Childress, when he gives you that phone call, gives you a lot of confidence.
But I just think teamwork between all of us has been key and, you know, Jeff coming on board and either crew chiefs, really got a good combination of crew chiefs, they all share the same personalities, and everybody is having fun. It's easier to run good than it is to be bad because everybody gets down, everybody's in a bad mood when you're running bad and it just goes downhill from there. When you're running good, everybody is having fun, everybody wants to help each other. And fun is the name of the game. This is a grind. This sport is a grind on you. If you're not having fun, it's a long year.
MODERATOR: Any additional questions?
MODERATOR: Thanks, Clint, for coming over. Good luck tonight and tomorrow.