CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA met with media and discussed the resurgence of RCR, short track racing, Atlanta and other topics. EVEN THOUGH IT'S EARLY IN THE SEASON, IT MUST FEEL PRETTY GOOD TO HAVE ALL THREE OF THE RCR...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA met with media and discussed the resurgence of RCR, short track racing, Atlanta and other topics.
EVEN THOUGH IT'S EARLY IN THE SEASON, IT MUST FEEL PRETTY GOOD TO HAVE ALL THREE OF THE RCR CARS IN THE TOP FIVE:
"Well, it's actually about the same as it was last year as far as our team goes. But it fell off in a big way right after the first five races. So, it's definitely a lot different feel this year than it was last year. I feel like there is a lot of confidence in everybody's hard work over the off-season that it's going to last a little longer than it did last year and hopefully it carries throughout the season. I think this is going to be an exciting season. As a fan of this sport, I'm looking forward to seeing what the spoiler change is going to do. I think there are a lot of unknowns on what that change is going to do as far as the face of the sport. I'm looking forward to seeing that and how it carries out and which teams will prevail and which team, if any, will struggle with it. As far as RCR goes and our start to the season, I couldn't be happier."
GREG BIFFLE HAS ACQUIRED A DIRT TRACK AND GOING TO START A LATE MODEL SERIES IN BANKS, OREGON, YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT: "I am a huge fan of short track racing, your local grass roots level racing. I think it is very important to this sport, even today. Most of our core fans enjoy weekly racing throughout the country and I am certainly no exception. I love going to any short track, whether it is asphalt or dirt, I just like the level of competition and seeing those Saturday night specials show up and put on a good show. I think it is still some of the best racing that we have throughout the country. I am happy he is able to do that. It sounds interesting. Hopefully he can have a good late model show. It is just so difficult. We race in the Lucas Oil Series and that is a pretty good schedule. They have done their homework in building their schedule around a race. When times are tough, it really hits those guys. While traveling throughout the country, if they can hit three or four races in a row on a run, it is a lot better on them and their pocketbook."
AFTER LAST WEEK WHEN YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WHEN YOU HAVE SUCH A STRONG CAR, HOW HARD IT IS TO KEEP MENTALLY UP? "Fortunately we were able to get back up in the top-10 and get ourselves a decent points day. It is so important the year started off right. That one little thing, trash on your grill and having to pit, could have resulted in a 25th or worse finish and that would have been a big hit in the points. Even as early as it is, I was looking back and we already have 100 points on some of these teams that were in the Chase last year. So, if you can stack that up a couple of more times, it gives you a pretty good pad even for the rest of the year. With competition as close as it is today, you can't afford any mistakes. Certainly that was a hiccup that cost us several positions in my opinion. But, where a year ago if that would have happened, that would have been a 25th or worse place finish for us. It says a lot about our equipment and how we've gotten things turned around."
WHERE ARE YOU ACTUALLY FEELING THE GAINS IN PERFORMANCE IN THE CARS AND WHEN YOU WEIGH ATTITUDE VERSUS PERFORMANCE, WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT? "Well, I think, attitude versus performance feed off each other. In my opinion, you can't have one without the other. My Dad is a huge preacher. Last year I was down in the dumps all the time and he would say 'Man, you have to get your attitude right'. I said 'Dad, a positive attitude isn't going to pick me up three tenths (LAUGHS) that I need on the race track I don't think'. But, everybody has worked on our attitudes; we have all had an attitude adjustment. We've got our cars working better. You know there is a lot of pride in this sport. There is a lot of hard work that goes in to what we see on Sunday. When that hard work isn't going according to plan, it is frustrating and it is easy to get down on yourself and down on everybody. But everybody dug in deep over the off season, everybody worked hard. We saw it at the end of the season. I felt like we had the direction we needed. We had all the pieces of the puzzle put together personnel-wise at RCR. Going back to three teams. We need to get ourselves in the situation that we can have four teams again, but, it was almost a blessing as far as Jeff (Burton), Kevin (Harvick) and I go because we were able to take four teams, combine the best of the best and get down to three teams. I feel like we, selfishly, it was a good move for us race car drivers. We need to get back to four teams some day and I think we will."
HOW MUCH HAVE YOU NOTICED WHAT YOU HAVE GAINED ON PIT ROAD WITH YOUR CREW SINCE THIS SEASON STARTED? "At the end of the year last year, I think we had 10 races where we had the group we have. They were incredible right off the bat, they changed our performance. We weren't where we needed to be, but in my opinion, because of the pit crew, we went from a 15th place car to a 10th place car. They picked us up that much. They struggled a little bit last week. I was telling them 'come on boys'. We are all pretty close at the shop and get to hang out and talk a lot. I had them out to the house several times over the off season. It is fun to get to know your guys and get to have that personal basis with each one of them and be able to rag on them a little bit. If I fall out of the seat or something, they are certainly let me know about it. They hung a lug or two last week and I let them know about it."
ON ATLANTA, HOW DIFFICULT IS IT WHEN YOU HAVE LAP TIMES FALL OFF AND TIRE WEAR AND THINGS LIKE THAT? "It is difficult, but I am a dirt racer. I enjoy a place like Atlanta. I love slipping and sliding around, having options. You can get outside and run the cushion up on the wall or you can run down on the line, run in the middle. You can race all over the place. As a race car driver, looking forward to race tracks, Atlanta is one of those race tracks that you always look forward to. It has got speed but the track falls off, you have got to have a good balance on your race car because if you are too tight, you can't go. If you are too loose, you can't go, you really have to hone in and focus on the balance of your race car so I enjoy it."
HOW FRUSTRATING IS IT WHEN THE NO. 48 WINS ESPECIALLY, ACCORDING TO YOUR TEAMMATE KEVIN HARVICK, WITH HORSESHOE STUCK SOMEWHERE? "I was going to say that I think Kevin said it all (LAUGHS). No, that horseshoe didn't win him (Jimmie Johnson) four championships and 48 races, I can promise you that. You have to be on top of your game. You have to be running up front to have situations fall in your lap and they certainly have done that for the last four, five seasons. That situation is difficult. Again, I still don't know exactly what all happened. I don't like situations like that happen where as a fan sitting in the stands is going 'what the hell just happened? How is he in the lead?' I don't like that. I like it being simplified as much as possible and I am not just saying that because my teammate didn't win or whatever else. I would think that there is something easier that could be done there that could make it to be more black and white so it is not something where it's not something where it causes a safety hazard of coming back around faster. It is like Jeff said, we was just doing an interview, if he would have come around faster, they may have penalized him for coming around too fast, but he may have won the race. That is what you are up against right there. I just think it is maybe a situation we can look at hopefully...NASCAR. But I think, it is what it is and the No. 48 has definitely done their homework and they are able to capitalize on that. I mean it was no fluke there were three cars behind him and all of a sudden all three of them got caught speeding on pit road too. When you are running up front and you are running as well as they have for as long as they have, you are able to capitalize on things that other people can't even see because they are focused on other things."
-source: gm racing