CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed racing at Phoenix, his finishing races streak, what RCR needs to do to get back in the winner's circle and much...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEERIOS/HAMBURGER HELPER IMPALA SS, met with members of the media at Phoenix International Raceway and discussed racing at Phoenix, his finishing races streak, what RCR needs to do to get back in the winner's circle and much more.
ON RACING AT PHOENIX. "I think everybody loves coming out here to Phoenix to race. It's a wonderful race track. It always has a good fan base. Going back to the track, it's a fun race track, very challenging, get up on the wheel and make things happen. That's what we all look for on the race track. I can't wait to get out there and see how this Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet is."
YOU'RE STREAK WITHOUT A DNF, WHAT GOES INTO THAT? IS THAT A WAY THAT YOU DRIVE, HOW MUCH OF THAT IS JUST NOT GETTING CAUGHT UP IN OTHER PEOPLE'S WRECKS? "I think it's everything. It's a lot of things. It goes back to my dirt days and only having one car, racing for championships with my father. If you tore your car up you weren't going to finish that race, you weren't going to win that race and you probably weren't going to win the championship if you're DNFing. I learned that back then having only one car. If you tore it up you had to go back home and fix it and fixing it sucks (laughing). You have to have good equipment and you have to have good people working on that car. Shane Wilson (crew chief) and all the guys working on the Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, everybody at RCR, the engine shop at ECR, that many races without an engine failure or anything like that, that speaks volumes for everybody that works on this car."
HOW DO YOU LIKE COMING TO PHOENIX? "I love this race track. I got my first start here in the Cup Series and I've won a Nationwide race here. It's a very challenging race track. You know both ends are a lot different. It's tight down in (turns) one and two and wide-sweeping in three and four, it's just a fun race track. You can really make things happen here as a driver and it challenges you as a driver."
PEOPLE SAID YOU WERE NOT GOING TO CONTEND THIS YEAR, SO FAR YOU'VE PROVEN EVERYONE WRONG WHY HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO OVERCOME THAT NEW TEAM SLOW STRUGGLE? "I think it goes back to the people within that team. Shane Wilson (crew chief) leading all those guys, building a team. I truly believe he built an all-star team around me. General Mills, Cheerios, Hamburger Helper gave us the funding to be able to go out and get the right people that we needed and bring people up from within the organization that needed that chance. People from our Nationwide Series championship run last year that needed that chance. Everybody on this team was out to prove something. Whether they had not had that chance or was from another team that maybe got let go, somebody who lost their funding from another team, everybody was out to prove something. Me as a driver, I had never been without Gil Martin and those guys in the Cup Series. Everybody has some pep in their step and everybody is working hard to make sure they cover the deal to make sure this works. I think that's a big part of it."
WHEN RICHARD (CHILDRESS) SAID THEY WE'RE BRINGING CASEY (MEARS) IN AND THIS IS HOW WE'RE GOING TO DO IT, YOU'RE GOING TO LEAVE YOUR TEAM, WHAT DID YOU THINK? "You question everything. Obviously when a change that big is put in place the first thing you are going to do is question why me. Why do I have to be the one that has to be doing the giving? As it turns out it looks to be a good change for me. I'm excited about it. I think our future together with Shane is going to be bright. This is the beginning stages of us races together. We haven't got the communication down. We don't have test sessions to go work on those things. We have to show up to race tracks with no notebook and work on testing through practice sessions and it can be rough. The practice sessions can be rough and we're having to learn things to build a notebook within our practice sessions that sometimes work in the race and sometimes don't. As we saw last race in Texas it did not work but now we have a notebook, a list of things to go back on and say this is not what we're going to do and build on it."
IN YOUR DNF STREAK WHAT'S THE CLOSEST CALL YOU'VE HAD, HAVE THERE BEEN ONE OR TWO RACES WHERE YOU THOUGHT THIS IS GOING TO END? "Yeah, a lot of times. What do I have one more race and then I tie my teammate? What I forgot to say before it speaks volumes about RCR and everybody that works at RCR on these cars. The guy that I'm hopefully going to beat for this record is an RCR driver and those same guys worked on his car as well. I think it says a lot about our program and the organization that Richard (Childress) runs. There's been several close calls. There always is in this type of racing. You've got to get to the finish line. It gets down to the end of these races. Looking next week at Talladega, that's going to be a race where you never know until right there at the end of the race that's when it's time to go and you've got to go for it. You've got to lay it all on the line and go for it or you may not come around to the checkered at the finish line."
WHAT'S THE ONE THING YOU GUYS NEED TO WIN MORE CONSISTENTLY RATHER THAN JUST FINISH WELL CONSISTENTLY? "I wish I knew that answer, I'd be winning. That's what we're working on week in and week out. Crew chiefs with their communication within the organization, within the crews and that feedback back and forth from team to team, that's what we're trying to better on. We're trying to better our engine program. Through all this recession and the bad press you see in NASCAR, Richard hasn't been pulling back. He's been pushing forward and trying to bring in new people, bring in better people. New people, new ideas whatever you want to call it to better our program to where we can win races because he's a racer. That's what I like about working for Richard Childress. He's willing to go that extra mile to make sure that he's on top and gets back to where he belongs and where he's used to being."
HOW BIG OF A DEAL IS IT FOR DRIVERS TO GET THEIR NAME IN A RECORD BOOK? IS THAT SOMETHING YOU REALLY SAY I WANT TO OWN THAT? "I don't know. It's something to be proud of but that's something to be proud of for our organization as a team. They did that for me. I want to be known for the most wins, that's what you want to be known for. That's the record that you want. Or most championships or something not necessarily most consecutive races ran."
THE CHILDRESS ORGANIZATION HAS RUN WELL AT THIS TRACK OVER THE YEARS, WHAT DOES THAT DO FOR YOUR CONFIDENCE LEVEL AND ALSO DO YOU TALK TO KEVIN (HARVICK) HERE MORE SO THAN ANY OTHER TRACKS ABOUT HOW TO GET AROUND IT SINCE HE'S WON A COUPLE OF TIMES HERE? "It seems like I lean on Kevin at this track. This is the first race I ever ran for RCR and he kind of helped me through that. I ran a Camping World race here and almost won. He helped me a lot on my line and things and I followed him in the Nationwide Series and beat him before. We do lean on each other a lot. I think we push each other hard. I think this is a track that we both enjoy and that's good. We feed off each other and push each other."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE TRANSITION FROM DAY TO NIGHT HERE? HOW MUCH OF A BIG DEAL IS IT REALLY? "It seems like for whatever reason there's always that guy that can run really good in the day and all of the sudden there's that guy that comes on at night. I don't think that it's really that you set your car up to be that way, it seems like it is. All of a sudden your car will either be good at night or you're struggling and you're screaming changes. Too tight, too loose whatever it may be. It's the same for everybody. It seems like whatever that transition is, it's the same transition for everybody. You just have to be able to capitalize on it. You have to be able to anticipate that change. As its getting dark, realizing your car is all of a sudden starting to change and hopefully making the right change and what to relay to the crew chief to make that decision."
WHAT ABOUT SEEING? "Yeah, seeing you know running a visor down in your windshield. Having something you can pull off there. You need to make those changes, those things to do that you might be able to pull off. Maybe a visor strip that has a zip tie and you can reach up and pull it off as it goes into night because that helps. If you can go off into turn one and see you're going to be able to drive it off in there a little bit deeper with a lot more confidence and hopefully make a move and a pass on somebody."
-credit: gm racing