Clint Bowyer - Pocono II Friday Media Visit

Pocono Raceway

CLINT BOWYER, NO. 27 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed coming to Pocono, his season to date, the Chase and other topics.

TALK ABOUT COMING HOW YOUR TEAM IS PERFORMING RIGHT NOW: “We ran well at Indy. We didn’t finish well. I felt like we had a shot at even winning the race there at the end before that last pit stop. We just played our cars wrong. It seems like that’s what these races are coming down to anymore is the pit strategy and making the right decision and then having a little bit of luck involved in that. That is the thing. At Kentucky, it bit everybody and what everybody thought. Obviously at Indy, it stayed green and Paul (Menard) won the race. That was probably the neatest thing about Indy was seeing my teammate who had never won a race win one of the biggest races of the year. I was really excited about him winning that race. Bummed out about where we finished because we had a lot better car than that. Biggest thing was the huge boost in confidence going into to Pocono that we have got things turned around. We had speed back in our car. We learned some things. I feel like we will have a good weekend here at Pocono.”

Clint Bowyer, Richard Childress Racing Cheerios / Hambuger Helper Chevy
Clint Bowyer, Richard Childress Racing Cheerios / Hambuger Helper Chevy

Photo by: Bob Heathcote

SINCE CARL HAD MADE HIS DECISION, WHERE DO YOU FIT IN? “We’re working on it. That is the biggest thing as far as contract stuff. I feel like we are getting close and we are working on it and hopefully we’ll have that done. But right now, I’m not worried about that at all. I’m worried about getting this thing back in the Chase and taking care of business on the race track. Those two DNFs in a row killed us. That took us from seventh-eighth in points to 12th, outside looking in. The wild cards are obviously taken it looks to me like and we’ve got to focus on gaining as many points as possible in the next six races and get ourselves back in. I think that is our best chance of making the Chase is consistency and running up front and racing our way back in the Chase. That is what we are made out of with our race team and the organization at RCR. That is what is going to be getting us back in the thing as we do.”

IS IT GOING TO BE TOUGH FIGHTING FOR A SPOT WITH YOUR OWN TEAMMATE? “No, because I’m not really fighting him. I’m not racing him. I’m racing Junior, Denny Hamlin…the guys in front of me…Stewart, Newman. Those are the guys you are going to have to race for ninth and 10th. Paul looks like he has a really good chance of being in the Chase using one of those wild cards. But I feel like I racing to be able to race my way in for ninth or 10th place.”

DO WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE WAVE AROUND RULE AND OPEN UP PIT ROAD ALL THE TIME, NO MORE CLOSING TO IMPROVE COMPETITION? “I’m not on-board with that. You are on your own with that. There are so many things they (NASCAR) has done good to get the product better on the race track. I feel like the wave around rule if you need it, it is very handy. But if you don’t need it, it costs you points. If you are points racing, if you are trying to catch up, it makes it difficult because somebody can have a bad day and at the end of the race how these cautions come out sometimes can put them right back on the lead lap and get a decent finish when they would have had a really bad finish and you could have gained a lot of points there. But, I’m telling you on a day when you need it, it makes it pretty handy. It just depends on what side of the fence you are on. As far as the fans, there are two ways of looking at it. Obviously it makes a difference on the points side of it if your favorite driver doesn’t. But if your favorite driver gets that wave around and gets back and in the race and is able to run up front, there is a lot of different ways of looking at that. I think that as far as that goes I am satisfied with what we have right now because even if you get it, you still have to race hard to get back up through the traffic even if you are on the lead lap. You are in a bad predicament right there in trying to dig yourself out still.”

WHAT IS YOUR DIET LIKE ON A RACE DAY AND HOW IMPORTANT IS NUTRITION TO YOU BEFORE YOU GET IN THE CAR? “Nutrition is important but on a hot day, it is more about fluids. Making sure that you get plenty of fluids in you. Drink plenty of water throughout the race. Last week at Indy, it was really really hot and our alternator went out like 30 laps into the race and I couldn’t run the blowers. I burnt my foot and about burnt myself up…it wasn’t much fun. You just have to tough it out on those bad days and get through it. There is no other way to do it. You just have to earn your money.”

YOU MENTIONED YOU ARE WORKING ON GETTING IN THE CHASE THE MORE CONVENTIONAL WAY AND NOT FOCUSING ON THE WILD CARD, AT THIS POINT WITH SO MANY GUYS WITH JUST ONE WIN, IS THAT IRRELEVANT NOW TO PURSUING THE WILD CARD? “It is relevant to Paul Menard right now, I can promise you that. But he has to do his job of being consistent and staying in position to capitalize on that one win. There are guys, if somebody wins another race, they are going to beat him out of that deal. I think that if he stays consistent these last six races and finishes where he is at right now, if he can just maintain where he is at right now, I feel like Paul Menard will be in the Chase. I feel like our best, looking back at our best history and the things that we’ve done in the Cup series, we’re more likely to focus on being consistent and racing our way back in points wise than we are to win a race and gamble on trying to be that wild card deal. I think we can stick to our basics and what has got us here this far and get ourselves raced back in.”

ARE YOU CHANGING ANYTHING STRATEGICALLY? ARE YOU GAMBLING? “There is no question we were off speed-wise on these big tracks. We’ve worked hard to find it and hit on some things last week before Indy. We unloaded off the truck a lot faster and slipped up qualifying. We drug the splitter hard and qualified 25th but we were able to drive up through and pass a lot of cars and led the race. We were up running in the top-five and things didn’t work out at the end. But, needless to say, we had speed back and that is what we haven’t had. We’ve had to try to do things to get a finish we didn’t deserve. Now I feel like we deserved the finish. We didn’t get the finish we deserved. That is a lot better side to be on than getting the finish you didn’t deserve.”

DID YOU TEST UP HERE A WEEK OR SO AGO? BETWEEN DRIVING AT INDY AND TESTING HERE, ARE YOU AND MENARD THE TOP-TWO DRIVERS HERE AT POCONO TODAY? “No, I wasn’t testing. I wish I was testing. I was giving ride-a-longs. It was probably about a 1985 model car so I think it is quite a bit off. It felt like it was about 50% speed. I wish we were I a fast car. To answer your question, I hope so. I hope we are the cars to beat. But it is not because of me giving ride-a-longs.”

THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF FIRST TIME WINNERS THIS YEAR, WHEN YOU WON YOUR FIRST RACE, HOW MANY WINS DID YOU THINK YOU WOULD HAVE BY NOW AND WHAT DO THE FIRST TIME WINNERS HAVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO REGARDING THE CHALLENGE OF GETTING WINS? “I think that’s the hardest thing is that once you get that first win, you get that taste of blood and now you want it back and that is the hardest thing is to land yourself back in that same situation. There has been a lot of guys winning and a lot of things different. How they shake out at the end of these races. Like I said, the racing is so close right now, it boils down to whoever made the right call at the end of race. It all boils down to the end of the race and making sure you make the right call to win the race.”

WITH BRAD KESELOWSKI WRECKING AT ROAD ATLANTA THIS WEEK, DOES THE SAFETY OF THESE NON-SANCTIONED TRACKS BECOME AN ISSUE? “It makes me want to not test at all and it makes me want to make darn sure that my brakes are going to work because that looked bad. It was very scary. I can’t believe he is driving. I’m not a doctor, but his ankle looked twice the size of the other one in the picture. I bet he is going to be pretty uncomfortable when he has to mash the brakes in turn one. He’s going to tough it out and make the best out of it and that’s what you have to do. It seems like in this sport, you have to be able to move on and tough it out. Get through it, If you don’t, your opportunity…somebody else might get in that car. That is probably the hardest thing and the biggest fear is somebody else getting in your car and doing better than you. A driver will get in that car no matter what the injury and tough it out probably to just not have to go through that and see a what-if scenario play out.”

By: team chevy

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Paul Menard , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Bob Heath
Teams Richard Childress Racing
Tags bowyer, chevrolet, childress, nascar, nscs, pocono, sprint cup