Martinsville II: Bowyer - Friday media visit

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media to discuss racing at Martinsville, switching pit crews, and more. YOU'VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESSFUL RUNS AT MARTINSVILLE OVER THE LAST FEW VISITS. YOU HAVE...

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media to discuss racing at Martinsville, switching pit crews, and more.

YOU'VE HAD A LOT OF SUCCESSFUL RUNS AT MARTINSVILLE OVER THE LAST FEW VISITS. YOU HAVE TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT COMING BACK HERE: "Yeah. We put a lot of emphasis on this track two or three years ago. We've worked really hard at getting better at this place and I feel like we have. I mean, we finished seventh in the spring, but certainly we ran a lot better than we finished. Kind of all hell broke loose there at the end--two tires, four tires, no tires--and then out of nowhere he came out and won the race; there were a lot of wild things that had been happening, but that's what makes racing great. It is what makes a short track what it is. The fans got their money's worth right down to the last lap."

KEVIN WAS IN HERE EARLIER TALKING ABOUT PIT CREW CHANGES AND I UNDERSTAND THAT ALSO INVOLVES YOUR TEAM--COULD YOU ADDRESS THAT? WHAT'S GOING ON?"There is no question that my team is arguably the best team at RCR--they've been together the longest. With us being out of the championship deal; Kevin is the last shot at RCR at basically bringing a championship home. We owe it to everybody involved--all the employees who try to bring that championship back home. Certainly I'm going to miss them, but we've got a brand new racecar built for here, it's an exact replica--as close as we could get it--to the New Hampshire car so it should be fast again. I think we can win with his pit crew as well. There is certainly no slouch with what he had, and if he needed my crew to be better I was going to give it to him. I owe it to him as a teammate."

IS THIS A PERMANENT SWITCH? "We'll see. Obviously if he is out of the championship contention then I'll get them back, but as long as he's in that thing and he can win a championship for RCR, why not?"

TALKING ABOUT THE END OF THE RACE EARLIER THIS YEAR WITH PITTING AND NOT PITTING AND TIRES--HAS IT GOTTEN TO THE POINT WHERE YOU CAN'T SIT DOWN WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF AND COME UP WITH A GAME PLAN ANYMORE? HAS THE COMPETITION MOVED PAST THAT? "You can do that all you want, but you'd have to go through a thousand scenarios of what could happen. You have to put yourself in position for the win. There is no exact theory or recipe for that.

It takes something different almost every race. Denny Hamlin put four tires on and was able to root and gouge and get back up there, but the things that happened at the front--with Kenseth and Gordon getting in each other and creating a lot of havoc in front of him that he was able to get up in there and use his tires to win the race. Had that not have happened, he probably wouldn't have won the race, but it did and he won. You just have to be able to have a little luck in that scenario, play the best cards you can and make the smartest decision that you can and with a little luck at all you can win the race with it."

THE PUBLIC HAS THIS IDEA THAT JIMMIE JOHNSON HAS THIS CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE BAG EVEN THOUGH HIS POINT LEAD ISN'T THAT BIG--WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT? "The public can sit in the stands and watch him do it for four years in a row--if you think about it, that's a long time, that is a lot of races. They have a reason to think that. Believe it or not, they [the No. 48] are pretty good at it. I hope somebody beats them for my sake and for being in this sport; and I love Jimmie Johnson, he's a great guy. I enjoy hanging out with him off the race track. I had more fun with him than I've probably had with a lot of racers at Eldora and places like that; but by no means do I want him to win this championship. I think it's bad for everybody."

HOW HARD IS IT AS A DRIVER WHEN YOU SWITCH PIT CREWS--IS IT MORE OF AN ADJUSTMENT FOR THOSE GUYS THAN IT IS FOR YOU IN THE CAR? "Well, the ones that it is hard for is the guys that have been with him all year long and with five races to go you turn your back on them--that's who it is hard for. It's difficult for those guys, but it is what it is. We're in this business to win championships and if he thought that he needed that to win a championship then we've got to give it to him. A championship is a huge thing and that is our only shot a doing so."

ARE SOME OF KEVIN'S OLD CREW MEMBERS ON THE TEAM TODAY, OR IS THAT A HIRED CREW THAT YOU BRING IN? "They're the guys that I plan on winning this race with, so I'm fine with it. We're just switching the whole crew. It is what it is. That was the decision that was made and I'm fine with it. I'll get my guys back, I know that. A lot of my guys work and build my racecar, so we all work together week in and week out at the race shop and at the race track. I wanted to be the one. They called and told me that that is what they wanted to do and I owed it to those guys to go in and tell them that. On Tuesday morning, I went in myself and got my guys together and I told them what was going to happen, and that I thought we owed it to all the employees--there are 400 employees at RCR, not just those over the wall guys--we owed it to everybody at the engine shop that has been doing an awesome job all year long, from the fab shop to everybody involved, even the guy that mows the grass. We owe it to them guys to bring a championship home and do everything we can do to that."

-source: gm racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jimmie Johnson , Denny Hamlin