CLINT BOWYER, DRIVER OF THE NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed Sunday's race, the possibility of Martinsville losing a date, starting toward the front of the field and more. TALK...
CLINT BOWYER, DRIVER OF THE NO. 07 JACK DANIEL'S IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed Sunday's race, the possibility of Martinsville losing a date, starting toward the front of the field and more.
TALK ABOUT SUNDAY'S RACE AND WHAT KIND OF IMPACT THIS WEATHER MIGHT HAVE ON THE RACE. "Well it's raining outside. They just called it and if we hurry we can beat the crowd. Let's get the hell out of here (laughter). No really.
"You now for us I seem to struggle in qualifying here. I really do. We race well but it takes forever to get up there. It's always a gamble starting in the back of getting caught up in something. You never know what's going to happen here. Starting up front as Mother Nature has helped us out. I'm looking forward to practice tomorrow and getting our car rolling in the center well. This is a car that we've won with. Both of our wins have come in this car so got a lot of confidence in it. This is becoming a track whereas the first couple of years we came here I was scared to come here. It was a challenge and one that I was scared of. Now I kind of look at it as a challenge to better myself and a track to get better at, one that you're looking forward to."
SINCE A LOT OF DRIVERS SAY MARTINSVILLE IS LIKE THE TRACKS THEY STARTED OUT ON, WHY IS IT THAT THIS TRACK IS OFTEN THE LAST PLACE THAT PEOPLE GET GOOD AT, YOU WOULD THINK IT WOULD BE THE FIRST PLACE, WHY IS THAT? "I don't think that way. I think this track is very different from anything that I've ever been on. The way you drive it, the way you have to discipline yourself so much here. Everything we've raced our whole lives even on the short track, bury it in there, jerk on the wheel, mash the gas and root and gouge and be aggressive. This place seems like the easier you drive it the faster you are. You have to roll the center good. You can't get in too hard. You can't get in too soft. You have to have good forward bite off. There's so many things that you have to have within your race car, but then you have to discipline yourself to be able to get those things out of your race car and it's very difficult to do that from everything you've ever learned on a short track. You go to Bristol, you bury it off in there as hard as you can without it getting loose on you and you jerk on the wheel and you mat the gas. Here you just can't do that. They're a lot longer, sweeping corners. You have to let it roll on around the corner way further pass than you think you do to pick up the gas. I think it just comes down to discipline. I understand it being a short track and you thinking that's what we grew up racing on, but I don't feel like it's like any track that I've ever been on before, ever."
DO YOU GUYS LOOK AT THAT NO. 48 (JIMMIE JOHNSON) TEAM SOMETIMES AND GO MAN MAKE A MISTAKE, GIVE US A CHANCE HERE? "Well I think you are hoping that happens but you can't expect it. You have to go out there and try to beat him. Try to do something to beat him. They're a new team. I answered it coming into the Chase, what's wrong with Jimmie Johnson they're just not quite the team, the Roush teams look like they're the ones that are going to run away with this championship and I'm like look back in the history the No. 48 team is going to rise to the occasion. They're going to be a team to beat. As long as they're together, they're going to be a team to beat. It's up to all of us to catch up to them, learn from them. Learn from who you're getting beat by. Monday morning when I wake up and think back at the race it's always the No. 48 team that every week is there and that's what you have to learn from. You can't look behind you and say that team is doing this or doing that. When I was racing back home in Lakeside five or six years ago, I'm not looking at the guy who I was beating week in and week out to try to judge myself off of. You've got to look at the guy that's beating you or close to you and that's what we all have to do. They've raised the bar and we have to answer that call, be better and run them down. A team like that is not gonna make a mistake. They're just not. And if they do it's out of their hands. It's not something that happens. But Martinsville is a place, as fast as they've been here, this is a place where they could be lapping somebody and get caught up in something. This is another wild card in my opinion. Not as much as Talladega but it is a wild card."
ON MARTINSVILLE POSSIBLY LOOSING A DATE AND MAYBE ONE OF THOSE DATES GOING TO KANSAS. "My own opinion and I don't want to get in trouble but look at California. That's a long way away. We're not filling the grandstands there. This place is rich in history and its part of NASCAR. It's been a part of it for a long, long time. I think if I was going to pull one away, if I had NASCAR for a day and I was going to pull one away I'd look towards California or doing something different there than I would be pulling something away from here."
WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE A SECOND RACE AT KANSAS? "Well hell yeah (laughter). That's a fun place to be. Hard Rock, everything is going to be there. I like having fun. You guys, where do you like going? Do you like going to a place where there's nothing to do when you're done at the race track? There's not a good place to eat, there's not any kind of entertainment to do you just go back and do your notes and go back and be a part of the circus. I think its fun to have a city, a town, a community to go to and go out and eat dinner and enjoy yourself. We do this all together. We're all a big family. I think you guys are the same way. We're all in this together. Unless you say something bad about me then you're on your own. We don't want you in Kansas. Take the weekend off (laughs)."
YOU ARE GOING TO START FIFTH HERE ON SUNDAY AT A TRACK WHERE YOU'VE NEVER STARTED HIGHER THAN 12TH, IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO LEARN SOMETHING? "Absolutely, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to learn a lot. This is going to give us an opportunity to see how we can run here when we qualify good and have a good pit stall. We've always been behind the eight ball. I think we've shared a pit stall here before. Something happened the first year when I qualified like 50th. I don't even think they were allowing me in the field. Actually I think we qualified better in the Chase and we ran better. It's a part of the Chase, it's a very important time of the year right now and a good qualifying effort goes a long way here. I think it's going to open our eyes up to maybe some different things. We haven't been able to see because we are always playing catch up throughout the race."
IS THIS GOING TO GIVE YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE WHAT ADVANTAGES THE NO. 48 TEAM WILL HAVE STARTING UP FRONT? "Yeah, absolutely. But every time those guys are on the track here, the No. 24 (Jeff Gordon) and the No. 48 I can tell you we all know who the cars are going to be to beat here unless something happens to them. It's always that way. Myself as a race car driver, I have to be able to learn from those guys and try to pick myself up to be a part of that elite group that when we come to a place like Martinsville they're looking at you too."
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT AUSTIN DILLON AND WHAT YOU THINK HIS PROSPECTS ARE FOR THE FUTURE. "I grew up going through the stepping stones of NASCAR and I have a lot of families, a lot of kids ask me how do we get to the next level. Often times, there's kids like Austin that didn't have to go through that. We all probably know who they are and when they get to this level they kind of act like maybe disrespectful in a way and didn't really care about the other kids that had to work hard and respect that. I think Austin is a really good kid. He's well-grounded and I think he's an exception to that rule. Having one of the most respected people in the garage as a grandfather that puts you in race cars and is going to put him in good equipment gives you an opportunity to be a brat and he's not. He's a good kid. They work hard. They study the sport and they want to do this. This isn't something that was pushed on them. Richard (Childress) didn't want them to do it. He wants them to go to school. They're going to go to school. They're in school now and I think that's something good. I was fortunate enough to race motorcycles at an early age and saw a lot of families put their kids through home schooling and put all their eggs in one basket and some of them made it and some of them didn't. Now the ones that didn't are struggling right now. Didn't go to school, things like that. I feel like this is an exception of the rule. I think they're doing the right things with Austin. Letting him learn at his own pace and I think he's respected. He's a good kid and is working hard. So I think he deserves the opportunities that he had. He's got a crummy father, he's my spotter but he learns a lot from his mom. Make sure you put that in there so Mike Dillon can hear that."
WILL YOU PUT HIM IN YOUR CAR? "I hope so. You know we're working on that. If you'll sponsor the car hopefully we'll put him in half the races or so and have fun."
-credit: gm racing