Team Chevy press release
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the importance of momentum, his approach to making the Chase, the pressure of making the Chase, racing at Atlanta, and more.
ON THE YEAR AND RACING AT ATLANTA AND ALSO AT RICHMOND NEXT WEEKEND “Well it’s definitely been an up and down season but it’s fun to be here at Atlanta. I’m looking forward to the race. It’s always a fun race; a good race. I think it’ll be a good crowd and we’ll put on a good show for them.”
I HEARD AN INTERESTING RUMOR TWO DAYS AGO THAT YOU WILL MAYBE JOIN THE GERMAN DTM SERIES FOR BMW WHEN THEY COME TO AMERICA IN TWO YEARS. “I have no clue what you’re talking about (laughter). So, yeah, that was news to me. Obviously the more the merrier in this sport, but as far as my involvement, you’re the first one that’s brought that to my attention.”
IN DESCRIBING ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY, IF SOMEBODY SAID, ‘ATLANTA IS ______’, HOW WOULD YOU COMPLETE THAT SENTENCE? “Oh, man, it’s everything. It’s everything you could ask for in a bigger race track. It’s racy, it’s very fast, very challenging, and very slick. I think the last part of that eludes to all the rest of it.”
YOU’RE RUNNING TRUCKS TONIGHT. WE KNOW TIRE WEAR IS GOING TO BE A BIG ISSUE IN ALL THE RACES THIS WEEKEND. HOW DIFFERENT DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE IN THE TRUCK RACE COMPARED TO THE OTHER SERIES? “Well, as far as tire wear, I really don’t know. But as far as what it does and how it affects the vehicle you’re driving, it’s quite a bit different in each series. Obviously the tracks have a lot of drag on them. Boy, you can really hustle them things around there. They’re a lot of fun to drive; slipping and sliding around in that manner in which you race here at Atlanta. You go do the Nationwide Series and it’s another step. And then you go to the Cup Series where you’re running off in there with a 100 more horsepower underneath of you; it’s a whole other level altogether.
“So, as the tires wear out, each one has it’s owns characteristics. Am I going to learn things tonight that I can put forth to Sunday night? Probably. Do the extent of how much? Probably not a tremendous amount. But I’ll certainly put it to good use.”
WHAT IS YOUR BEST CHANCE TO GET INTO THE CHASE? IS IT TO GET TO 10TH, OR IS IT TO WIN A RACE? “Hail, Mary. You drop back, you go for it. I think we’re just going to have to race hard. We’re going to have to get things turned around. We’re going to have to have another opportunity like we did last week, but this time we’re going to have to capitalize on it. I mean that was the most frustrating thing I’ve ever had in my life is we literally had an opportunity right there in front of us for the taking and couldn’t take advantage of it. We were as bad as he was if not worse. And it’s just so frustrating as a racer and a competitor to have that opportunity right there in front of you and not be able to capitalize. It’s very, very frustrating.”
AS A FOLLOW-UP TO THAT, DOES THE PRESSURE INCREASE AS WE GET CLOSER TO RICHMOND? ALSO, TALK ABOUT THE PINK CAMARO PACE CAR RIDES FOR THE BREAST CANCER SURVIVORS THIS MORNING “Obviously the pressure cooker is heating up bigtime. There are two races left to get ourselves in. The weird thing is that we ran terrible; one of the worst races we’ve had and we didn’t lose anything. We actually gained a point. But we did, if you look, at it because we’ve lost a race. You know, there’s only two races to go. Richmond is a really good track for us. I’m looking forward to Richmond. I’m looking forward to rolling in there with a chance and a decent chance. If I can narrow the gap and cut it in half, I feel like we can go into Richmond and get the job done.
“As far as the press conference this morning; well it wasn’t really a press conference. It was just a fun, neat deal around the American Cancer Society and breast cancer awareness. We just gave those ladies rides around in the car. What a fun morning to wake up to, those ladies celebrating life. They’ve all survived breast cancer and are all full of energy and full of excitement. They couldn’t wait to get out on the race track. It was just a great morning to wake up to that excitement. So, it’s cool that they’re doing the car for breast cancer awareness in pink; everybody knows what that’s all about. And those ladies were all having a lot of fun out there. I had one of them get pretty scared on me. She said to slow down and I thought she was joking and I looked over and she wasn’t joking (laughs). So we pulled in and took a pit stop.”
YOU DIDN’T REALLY RUN WELL AT BRISTOL. COMING OFF A RUN LIKE THAT, DO YOU TRY TO PINPOINT WHAT WENT WRONG? “Man, I’ll tell you, with two races to go, it doesn’t matter what happened last week. It matters what’s going to happen this week and the next week after that. That’s the only thing that matters. So as far as I’m concerned, that’s in the past. I think Richard (Childress) took care of that on Sunday. I hear he had a meeting with the teams on Sunday afternoon and probably if I was a fly on the wall, it probably wasn’t the most fun meetings you would want to be in.”
JUST TO CLARIFY, YOU WERE NOT AT THAT SUNDAY MEETING? “No.”
LAST YEAR YOU CAME INTO THE CHASE AND BUILT SOME MOMENTUM AND HAD STRONG FINISHES. THINGS AREN’T GOING IN THAT DIRECTION NOW. HOW MUCH DOES MOMENTUM MEAN? HOW DIFFERENT IS IT THIS YEAR COMPARED TO LAST YEAR? DO THOSE LAST FEW RACES REALLY HELP THAT MUCH? “It’s huge. Momentum is very big. It’s very real. We see it all the time. Brad Keselowski is a primary example as of late of what momentum and confidence can do to not only yourself as the driver, but to the race team.
HOW SO? “He’s run in the top three in the last five or six races.”
HOW DOES MOMENTUM PLAY A PART IN IT SINCE THE CAR DOESN’T KNOW HOW STRONG YOU’VE BEEN THE LAST FEW WEEKS? “No, it’s just everybody has confidence; it helps with decisions made and when you’re running bad, a crew chief or an engineer or anything; they don’t have any confidence in what they’re working on because it hasn’t been working for them. The path they’ve been going down, they’re starting to second-guess themselves and then they don’t have a direction because they don’t have the confidence and obviously the momentum of running well on that path they’re going down. So, they’re struggling as much with it as anybody and as you get that, you start to get on a roll. You go down that path and you can’t do any wrong. It makes those decisions that much easier on everybody’s part and everything gets a-clicking and you get that momentum going.”
ON BRAD KESELOWSKI’S RECENT GOOD RUN, HE HASN’T BEEN RUNNING ANY NATIONWIDE RACES, JUST SPRINT CUP EVENTS. IS THERE ANYTHING TO THAT? “No, I don’t think so. I mean he would have ran Bristol last week if they would have let him. It looked to me like I don’t think he’s not running Nationwide races to focus on the Cup car. I think he’s doing it because he’s injured and not wanting to push the envelope there. But hey man, everybody in this sport has seen what momentum and what confidence can do for you and your race team and he’s just riding a wave right now.”
WE DIDN’T SEE A WHOLE LOT OF YOU OUT THERE AT THE END OF TRUCK PRACTICE. DID THEY FIGURE OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THE TRUCK? HOW UNNERVING IS IT AS A PLACE AS FAST AS ATLANTA TO GO OUT THERE FOR YOUR FIRST LAP OF QUALIFYING AND SAIL IT INTO TURN ONE AFTER THEY WERE THRASHING ON IT THAT HARD? “No, we weren’t really thrashing on it. We spent most of the practice with the car cover on it. To be honest with you, the schedule kind of sucks, for lack of a better word. It’s 100 degrees outside right now and it’s going to cool off drastically. The grip level on this worn-out asphalt is going to come back drastically. So you’re out there and you’ve got good speed for five, six, seven or eight laps and then you start losing the nose a little bit. So you start freeing it up and freeing it up and chasing the track conditions as they keep continually to get worse because of the temperature and you just get behind. Then, you’ve just got to say hey, put the brakes on here. We’re done. I think this is a good balance on the race car. Our tire temps are good. Everything is good. We’ve got a good handling race car. We’ve got to go and see what we’ve got for tonight. Because the difference in the track conditions right now are just the difference in night and day.”